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7/29/16: Top Five Stories of the Week
In our regular Friday feature, we list out the most newsworthy stories/articles from the past week in MMA.
5. Chad Mendes says psoriasis cream to blame for failed USADA test: Chad Mendes, recently slapped with a two-year suspension for a failed drug test for a growth hormone releasing peptide, blamed that failed test on a cream treatment to address an issue with plaque psoriasis. Whether or not it’s a believable explanation will be up for debate, but it’s the first reasoning he’s given for the failed test which will keep him out of action until 2018.
4. Joe Rogan to stay on as UFC color commentator: Joe Rogan said prior to the UFC’s sale that he wasn’t going to continue on with a new ownership group, but after UFC 200 he decided to sign on for one more year. He announced the news this week, which will see him take on a reduced schedule of only pay-per-view events with no international travel. The long time UFC color commentator now has a foot out the door, but will help the new ownership group in transition to keep things relatively smooth.
3. USADA officially finds Islam Makhachev without fault for failed drug test: While there remain several pending cases in front of USADA, one fighter who fell under their jurisdiction has been cleared of all wrongdoing. Dagestani lightweight Islam Makhachev was found “without fault” for a failed drug test for the controversial Russian heart drug meldonium, giving USADA a clear timeline of his use and reasoning for its use prior to it being put on the banned list in January. Given ongoing studies on the drug’s longevity in the systems of its users, and a wider issue on the drug under the WADA umbrella, USADA has determined that Makhachev did not break their rules, and as such he’s free and clear to return to the cage.
2. Brock Lesnar, Jon Jones to avoid fines from UFC: The UFC confirmed this week that they won’t be fining fighters who fail drug tests for performance enhancing and other drugs, instead leaving that to the discretion of state athletic commissions. That’s much to the ire of one Mark Hunt, who has vehemently demanded the fight purse of Brock Lesnar because of the latter’s failed tests into and on fight night. Though neither Lesnar or Jon Jones will be fined by the UFC directly, they still face monetary punishment from the Nevada Athletic Commission, which could be sizable in Lesnar’s case given his record $2.5 million purse at UFC 200.
1. Holly Holm loses second straight fight at UFC on Fox 20: Just eight short months ago Holly Holm was at the top of the fight world after a shocking and thrilling knockout over reigning Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey. Now she’s out of the title picture entirely. The 34-year-old veteran boxer turned MMA champion was out-struck by the technically sound Valentina Shevchenko in the main event of UFC on Fox 20 last weekend, her second straight loss in the division. She’s got to move into rebuilding mode, while Shevchenko places herself in the mix at the top end of a suddenly crowded division.
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