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  • Drug Free Sport issues statement on Jose Aldo drug-test situation in Brazil

    The organization that attempted to take a urine sample from Jose Aldo last month only for its representative to get in trouble with Brazilian authorities is saying it did nothing wrong.

    Drug Free Sport sent Ben Mosier to Rio de Janeiro to conduct a urine test on Aldo, the UFC featherweight champion, on June 11 on behalf of the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC). When Mosier arrived at Aldo's Nova Uniao gym a, Aldo's coach Andre Pederneiras phoned police and the Brazilian MMA Commission (CABMMA).

    Aldo complied with the urine test, but the sample was thrown out when authorities determined that Mosier did not have the correct work visa to conduct business in Brazil. Aldo was tested the next day by a collector accredited by WADA alongside a CABMMA official. The sample was sent to WADA-accredited Sports Medicine Research & Testing Laboratory in Salt Lake City

    In a statement issued by Drug Free Sport COO Chris Guinty on Friday, the organization is denying any wrongdoing or unethical behavior.

    In early June 2015, Drug Free Sport was engaged by the Nevada State Athletic Commission ("NSAC") to conduct a single urine test for an athlete in Brazil. Drug Free Sport's preparation and execution of the testing event in Brazil complied with ethical best practices in anti-doping collections. Proper work visa applications detailing Drug Free Sport's job functions were submitted to the Brazilian Consulate in Chicago, Illinois on June 18, 2012, and a ten year work visa was issued by the Consulate and relied upon by the Drug Free Sport collector in subsequent testing events. Drug Free Sport does not comment on client program specifics related to any collection event, but the NSAC, the UFC and Drug Free Sport were diligent in their effort to ensure a fair and ethical collection event in Brazil.

    Aldo has since pulled out of his main event fight against Conor McGregor at UFC 189 due to a broken rib.

    NAC executive director Bob Bennett told MMAFighting.com that Aldo's drug test would only become public record if he failed. If Aldo did fail, the commission would have to notify the fighter and the UFC first before fulfilling a public records request by media, Bennett said. A public records request by MMAFighting.com is still pending, though Bennett speculated last week that if Aldo had indeed failed it would have been known already.

    Bennett would not comment on whether or not Chad Mendes, McGregor's new opponent, would be tested out of competition.

    The National Center for Drug Free Sport partners with organizations worldwide to provide third-party drug testing and other drug prevention initiatives. Drug Free Sport does not test itself, but works with WADA accredited labs for sample analysis.

  • UFC Free Fight: Rory MacDonald vs Tarec Saffiedine

    Rory MacDonald takes on Robbie Lawler for the UFC welterweight title at UFC 189 on July 11, but to earn that title shot, he had to beat a list of contenders. One of them was Tarec Saffiedine. Re-live the fight that helped put MacDonald on the precipice of a UFC title.

  • Bellator champ Douglas Lima open to kickboxing fight with Paul Daley at Dynamite

    After taking a year off due to injuries, Douglas Lima wants to take back-to-back fights.

    Lima returns to the Bellator cage on July 17 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, putting his welterweight title on the line against tournament winner Andrey Koreshkov, and doesn’t think the series of injuries will affect his performance at Bellator 140.

    "I’m finally free of injuries," Lima told MMAFighting.com. "I spent a whole year taking care of injuries, but I’m 100 percent now. My weight is good, training went perfect. I’m ready to brawl with this Russian in there.

    "I had an infection and underwent three knee surgeries that kept me sidelined for a long time, but I feel great now. I feel like none of this ever happened. I will defend this title. Nothing will stop me from performing like I always do."

    Winner of nine of his 10 Bellator fights, Koreshkov earned a shot at the gold after going 3-0 in 2014, and Lima expects his opponent to stand and bang on July 17.

    "He’s a good striker, fast, but that’s it. To me, it’s a normal fight. I’ve fought many guys like him before," he said. "I’m way stronger than, and I have more experience. I don’t see him as a bigger challenge. It’s just a fight like every other one. I plan on finishing him, by knockout or submission. I will go straight forward. I respect him, he’s a good fighter, but it’s my time."

    Lima and Koreshkov have a combined record of 22 knockouts in 43 professional victories, but the Brazilian wouldn’t be surprised if "Spartan" decided to go for takedowns in his second Bellator title fight.

    "I’ve watched him fight before and sometimes he goes for takedowns, but he prefers to stand. Maybe he will try to trade punches with me, but I don’t know. When he feels my hands, he will change plans," Lima said. "I’m ready. I know he’s dangerous and I don’t underestimate him, but I’m confident. Whatever he brings, I will be ready.

    "I want to finish him as fast as possible, but I’m ready to brawl for five rounds if I have to. The idea is to finish this fight. I don’t want to leave it to the judges. No way."

    Gunning for a quick turnaround, Lima hopes to be back in action on Sept. 19, when Bellator promotes the Dynamite card with a MMA cage and a Glory kickboxing ring at the SAP Center in San Jose, California.

    "If I’m 100 percent, I want to fight at that card," Lima said. "If there’s room for me, I want to be there. I haven’t fought in a while, so I want to stay active. If I’m injury-free, I will ask for a fight there."

    The MMA portion of the Dynamite will include a one-night light heavyweight tournament featuring Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal, Emanuel Newton, Linton Vassell and Phil Davis, while 205-pound champion Liam McGeary puts his title on the line against Tito Ortiz.

    If Bellator president Scott Coker can’t put Lima to defend his Bellator title on Sept. 19, he’s willing to fight inside the Glory ring.

    "I would do it, for sure. I always wanted to fight at Glory," he said. "I’ve fought before in an amateur muay thai bout when I started fighting MMA, and I won by knockout. I love muay thai and I would love to fight there. If they gave me an opportunity, I would accept it right away, but I’m focused on this fight first."

    Welterweight contender Paul Daley, also set to fight at Bellator 140 against Dennis Olson, is booked to compete under kickboxing rules at Dynamite, and Lima would take the fight in a heartbeat.

    "I don’t every run away from fights," Lima said. "I know he’s a muay thai fighter with more than 30 fights in his record, but I would immediately accept this offer. No doubt about it. I would prefer to do this fight under MMA rules, it’s my game, but I would take this fight anywhere."

  • Marc Ratner: MMA in New York was so close this time 'I could taste it'

    Marc Ratner was cautiously optimistic about MMA getting legalized in New York up until a few weeks ago. Early last month, the mixed martial arts bill was amended to encompass boxing and other combat sports and increase insurance and fighter safety.

    At that point, Ratner thought there was a good chance of a UFC show finally coming to Madison Square Garden later this year. But it didn't happen. The MMA bill essentially ran out of time last week. For the eighth straight year, the legislation passed through the New York State Senate by a landslide, but was never even brought to a vote in the Assembly.

    Ratner, the UFC's vice president of regulatory affairs, used the old "Peanuts" analogy to describe what it felt like in an interview with Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.

    "We'll make Lucy the New York Assembly and Charlie Brown MMA," he said. "Every time that Charlie Brown went to kick the ball, Lucy pulled it away. That's exactly what happened with us. We thought we were right there and somehow it got pulled away. That's my best analogy."

    Many people thought with the arrest of former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver on fraud charges in January that the MMA bill had its best chance yet to pass. Silver was the man most thought was responsible for keeping the bill away from a vote. Ratner even believed this year that MMA had enough votes in the Democratic caucus to finally get it to the next level. But new speaker Carl Heastie did the exact same thing Silver did seven years straight, not bringing the legislation to a vote.

    Ratner said that next year the UFC will try to get the bill into the Assembly first since the Senate is a slam dunk and has been now for almost a decade. Because the Assembly was in overtime last week, many potential yes voters had already gone home for the summer. There were also other bills -- like involving rent control -- that took precedence over MMA.

    "MMA is not one of the biggest things to them where it is to us and my company here," Ratner said. "I think it's a combination of a lot of things. It didn't happen. Very disappointed, because I could taste it this time. But never to the point where I was 100 percent sure."

    One of the things that disappoints Ratner the most is the continued legalization of amateur MMA in New York without any kind of sanctioning or regulations. The bill would have cleaned up all those dangerous, underground shows.

    "It's ludicrous, nonsensical that they would allow amateur fights to go on and not professional ones," Ratner said.

    The only thing the UFC can do is continue to lobby again next year when the legislative calendar begins again in January. Ratner is hoping for an Assembly vote in the first quarter of the year rather than waiting until the 11th hour. The UFC has sent millions in Albany with no signs of slowing down.

    "To the best of my abilities, I'm quietly confident again," Ratner said. "We're just going to keep knocking on the door until we knock it down. Like I said, this is a fighting group and we're not going to give up the fight."

  • Manager suggests ‘Jacare’ Souza vs. Yoel Romero to determine next UFC middleweight contender

    Yoel Romero dispatched Lyoto Machida at UFC Fight Night 70, and Ronaldo Souza could again be booked against the American Top Team star.

    Romero finished the former light heavyweight champion with vicious elbows in the third round of Saturday’s main event in Florida, improving to 6-0 with five knockout victories under the UFC banner.

    "Jacare" and Romero were booked to fight at UFC 184 and UFC on FOX 15, but both fights were called off due to injuries. Souza’s manager, who suggested that the Brazilian middleweight faced the winner of Machida vs. Romero after he got passed over for a shot at the title, leaves the door open for bout with the Cuban wrestler.

    "As far as next opponent, it can be Weidman, Rockhold or Romero," Faria told MMAFighting.com. "All I can say Jacare will be the next UFC middleweight champion."

    The UFC has yet to announce a date for the next title fight in the middleweight division featuring 185-pound champion Chris Weidman against former Strikeforce titleholder Luke Rockhold, but Faria guarantees "Jacare" will be ready to get back in action this fall.

    "He is back on training," Faria said, "and he will be ready to go by September."

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