USADA: UFC's Brandon Moreno accepts no-fault finding after failed drug test

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Officials from the UFC’s anti-doping partner, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), today announced a finding of no-fault after standout UFC flyweight Brandon Moreno failed a drug test.

Moreno (14-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) failed a drug test for trace amounts of the banned substance clenbuterol. But after an investigation, USADA determined that the positive likely came from contaminated meat, an issue well-known to the anti-doping agency.

Consequently, USADA ruled Moreno ingested clenbuterol “without fault or negligence,” clearing him of a potential anti-doping violation.

“Consistent with numerous prior reported cases globally, the issue of illicit administration of clenbuterol to animals destined for food production can result in, under specific conditions, a positive sample from an athlete,” USADA stated in a press release sent to MMAjunkie. “Both USADA and WADA have issued specific warnings about this problem in China and Mexico.”

Moreno, a native of Tijuana, Mexico, failed an in-competition test in the early hours of Aug. 6, after a unanimous-decision loss to Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 114, which took place at Mexico City Arena in Mexico City. USADA then looked into his whereabouts prior to the fight, his dietary habits, and laboratory reports showing “very low parts per billion concentrations of the prohibited substance.”

“Based on this information, USADA concluded that the presence of clenbuterol in the athlete’s sample very likely resulted from clenbuterol-contaminated meat consumed in Mexico,” the release stated. “USADA’s investigation also took into consideration the negative results for samples collected from Moreno both before and after his positive test. As a result, Moreno will not face a period of ineligibility for his positive test.”

On WADA’s banned substance list, clenbuterol, a stimultant, is on a short list of “other anabolic agents” banned at all times. A first-time UFC offender would likely face a two-year suspension.

While Moreno escapes a sanction as the result of USADA’s findings, the anti-doping agency issued another warning about clenbuterol-tainted meat.

“While the risk of … testing positive for an athlete is extremely small, consistent with past athlete advisories, USADA reminds athletes to use the utmost care if eating meat in known high risk countries, including Mexico and China,” the release stated. “In line with WADA recommendations, USADA will continue to assess the presence of clenbuterol in an athlete’s sample on a case by case basis, taking into account all the evidence supporting the likelihood of such contamination.”

Moreno joins a list of fighters cleared by USADA for accidentally ingesting clenbuterol, including Mexican UFC veteran Augusto Montano and Chinese fighters Ning Guangyou and Li Jingliang.

Moreno’s loss to Pettis snapped a three-fight winning streak and temporarily dashed his hopes of getting into title contention.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

How Humberto Bandenay lost his dad and 'No. 1 fan' before UFC debut – but never his focus

Say you’re 22. You’ve recently moved away from your family to a country where you don’t even speak the language yet. And you get the call for a short-notice UFC debut against an undefeated opponent.

There have got to be some nerves involved, right?

Well, apparently not if you’re Humberto Bandenay.

“I was very calm and content throughout the whole experience, even when I first got the call,” Bandenay told MMAjunkie. “I’m pretty young still, but I’ve felt for a while that I belong at this level, so managing my emotions wasn’t an issue. I’m very confident in my training, my skills and the people around me.”

Bandenay’s (14-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC) steel nerves paid off big this month, when a thunderous knee put an end to his encounter with Martin Bravo (11-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 114. The 26-second knockout not only capped off a six-fight winning streak – all finishes – for Bandenay, but it also came with a $50,000 bonus.

His composure before such a high-stakes debut – which Bandenay, by the way, entered as a massive underdog – would look impressive enough even if no added context was provided.

But it’s particularly inspiring considering his road there.

Bandenay’s MMA career began with three free classes he got at a local gym. It wasn’t long until the then-19-year-old realized that he was not only good at fighting – he wanted it to be his career. In order for that to happen, though, he knew he’d have to make sacrifices.

“I knew that I’d have to come to America if I wanted to fight in the UFC and truly live up to my potential in the sport,” Bandenay said.

Five months ago, Bandenay was still living in Peru. But, thanks to the support of friend and fellow UFC fighter Marlon Vera, Bandenay made his way up to California. Vera, who also moved there from his home country of Ecuador in his early 20s, introduced Bandenay not only to his Team Oyama headquarters, but their mutual management.

That bit, Bandenay says, worked out great. He loves both the team and life in the new country. But it’s come with its hardships.

“It’s been difficult at times only because I miss my family,” Bandenay said. “And I know they miss me.”

Being away from your family is hard enough as it is, but Bandenay had one heavy emotional layer added to it heading into his UFC debut. He had to leave his sick father at home. At some point, he had to make a call: Either go back to Peru and visit him, or continue pushing toward his goals in the U.S.

His father encouraged him to stay. And, as Bandenay would reveal in an emotional post-fight speech, he ended up passing away shortly before he got to see his son’s stellar UFC debut.

The grief could have understandably distracted Bandenay from his biggest career opportunity yet. But, instead, he turned it into fuel.

“I was very sad not being able to see my dad,” Bandenay said. “He was my No. 1 fan. We’ve always been very close. It was my goal to make it to the UFC – and, just as important to me, it was his goal to see me make it to the UFC, too. I knew that it’s what my dad wanted, and I know he was there with me in the octagon.

“My training and experience helped me stay focused throughout the experience. I knew this was an opportunity that I had been waiting for, and nothing was going to stop me. I know my dad was with me, and I wanted nothing more than to win for him.”

His remaining family, Bandenay says, is also fully on board with his MMA career. But the Peruvian up-and-comer admits that there was some initial iffiness around his sport of choice.

“It was very strange to a lot of my family members and friends,” Bandenay said with a laughter. “A lot of people didn’t understand it because the sport is not very popular there.”

Now, however, he has no shortage of supporters. In fact, Bandenay says his win made it to TV and newspapers across the country. And the weight that comes with that is not lost on the young fighter, who feels “a great responsibility” to both carry the Peruvian flag in the octagon and help boost the popularity of MMA in Peru.

“I want the whole world to look to Peru as a country with power,” Bandenay said.

Given the circumstances, Bandenay is also quite aware that his early UFC steps might come with more attention than usual. But, rather than let it overwhelm him, he takes the added eyeballs – and expectations – that might follow as a blessing.

“I don’t feel pressure when I compete or when I think about the future,” Bandenay said. “It’s very motivating, absolutely.”

When it comes to said future, Bandenay seems to take the same measured approach that he does everything else. He’d like to get back in there as soon as possible. He trusts his management. And he knows better than getting too far ahead of himself.

But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have some ideas for both his distant and near octagon futures.

“I have goals of being a champion and as going down as one of the all-time great fighters,” Bandenay said. “But, for right now, I’m just taking everything one fight at a time.

“I would like to fight Dooho Choi or Artem Lobov. Though I’m more than happy to fight any featherweight in the world.”

As for the plan for those extra $50,000 that landed in Bandenay’s bank account earlier this month?

“I wish I had a better answer, but I’m saving it,” Bandenay said. “Getting that bonus was a blessing; I’m putting it away for my family. I’m hoping there will be a lot more bonuses in the future.”

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie rankings, Aug. 8: Sergio Pettis making run to the top

While his older brother is a former UFC champion, 23-year-old flyweight contender Sergio Pettis may soon find himself with a chance to wrap a UFC belt around his waist.

Pettis was victorious at this past weekend’s UFC Fight Night 114 event and now finds himself in the No. 6 position in the latest edition of the USA Today Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings.

Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) survived a tough opening round against a game Brandon Moreno (14-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) and battled back to dominate the final four frames in the altitude of Mexico City. With current UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson set to face Ray Borg in September, Pettis believes a fight with Henry Cejudo, who currently sits at No. 3, makes the most sense for his next move.

Check out the updated flyweight rankings following this past weekend’s UFC Fight Night 114 event, which also Dustin Ortiz secure an impressive 15-second victory.

Filed under: Bellator, MMA Rankings, News, PFL, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

The best from UFC Fight Night 114

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC

The door is closed on UFC Fight Night 114, which took place this past Saturday at Mexico City Arena in Mexico. The card aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass, and featured Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) defeating Brandon Moreno (14-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) in the flyweight headliner.

MMAjunkie was on-site for the event, bringing the sport’s most thorough coverage from beginning to end. The UFC’s fifth event in Mexico proved to be an eventful one, and in case you happened to miss any of the fight-night or post-fight coverage, here are five items (in no particular order) to see before moving past UFC Fight Night 114.

1. Relive all 7 record-tying 1st-round finishes from UFC Fight Night 114

2. Considering an appeal? Randa Markos may find judges’ decisions are hardest results to challenge

3. After record-quick UFC win, Dustin Ortiz gave a must-watch backstage interview

4. UFC Fight Night 114 post-event facts: Overlooked card proves heavy on history

5. UFC Fight Night 114 reactions: Winning and losing fighters on social media

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2506 with MMA manager Brian Butler

Stream or download Friday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guest Brian Butler.

Butler, veteran MMA manager to stars like Max Holloway and Felice Herrig, was in the studio to co-host the episode. The hosts also recapped UFC Fight Night 114 in Mexico City and discussed the latest MMA news.

You can listen below or download the episode from SoundCloud.

Filed under: News, Radio, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 114 reactions: Winning and losing fighters on social media

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Filed under: News, UFC

UFC Fight Night 114 reactions: Winning and losing fighters on social media

Since the early days when the sport was anything but a mainstream endeavor, the MMA industry has thrived and survived through various websites, forums and, perhaps most importantly, social-media platforms.

Fighters interact with fans, each other and many more through the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, which helps outsiders get a deeper look into the minds of the athletes.

Following Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 114 event in Mexico City, several of the winning and losing fighters, along with their coaches, training partners or family members, took to social media to react to the event or share a message with supporters.

Check out some of those reactions.

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The victorious

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For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Considering an appeal? Randa Markos may find judges' decisions are hardest results to challenge

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Randa Markos thought she deserved the win over Alexa Grasso at UFC Fight Night 114. Two of the three judges disagreed. But as she fumed both in person and on social media after the fight, Markos was already throwing around the idea of an appeal.

“I felt that I did enough to win,” Markos (7-5 MMA, 3-4 UFC) told MMAjunkie after the fight. “You need to win at least two rounds to get a victory. I thought I won two rounds, and the last was close. So I think I won that fight. … I feel I’m definitely going to try to fight that. Hopefully I get the victory.”

Obviously, there’s a big difference between talking about an appeal and actually filing one, but if Markos does challenge the result she wouldn’t be the first. Fighters all over the world have appealed to have results overturned for a variety of reasons, even if successful appeals are few and far between.

That’s not to say it can’t happen, however. Former Invicta FC bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger retained her title thanks to an appeal that overturned her submission loss to Yana Kunitskaya last year. But Evinger was successful because, while citing a referee’s misapplication of the rules, she managed to meet the very narrow requirements for a winning appeal, which isn’t so easy to do in most cases.

Most athletic commissions adhere to an appeals process that’s similar to the one laid out by the Nevada Athletic Commission, which provides only three circumstances under which an appeal might succeed. Under NAC 467.770, the commission insists that it will not overturn a result unless:

  1. The Commission determines that there was collusion affecting the result of the contest or exhibition;
  2. The compilation of the scorecards of the judges discloses an error which shows that the decision was given to the wrong unarmed combatant; or
  3. As the result of an error in interpreting a provision of this chapter, the referee has rendered an incorrect decision.

Markos’ bout was contested in Mexico City, putting it under the jurisdiction of the Mexican Federacion de Artes Marciales Mixtas Equidad y Juego Limpio. The FAMMEJL doesn’t spell out an exact appeals procedure on its website, but a UFC official confirmed that it would follow the same guidelines in use in Nevada.

That’s bad news for Markos, should she decide to appeal the loss. Challenging a judges’ decision would require proving either collusion or a mathematical error in adding up the scorecards. The former would likely be very difficult and require an exhaustive investigation, while the latter would be as simple as combing through the scorecards with a calculator in hand.

But as we’ve seen in the past, even fighters with legitimate complaints don’t always face great odds. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation recently shot down Dustin Poirier’s appeal of a no-contest stemming from illegal knees thrown by Eddie Alvarez at UFC 211.

In 2015, the Nevada commission declined to overturn Francisco Rivera’s appeal of a submission loss to Urijah Faber that came shortly after an eyepoke at UFC 181, opting instead to stick to the rigid definition of its own statute requiring an “error in interpreting” the rules on the part of the referee. If a referee simply misses a foul – even a foul clearly evident on replay – it isn’t enough to overturn the result on appeal, according to the NAC.

So where does all this leave Markos, or any other fighter hoping to appeal a decision he or she doesn’t like? Probably with more complaints than hope. Judges may make questionable calls at times, but commissions aren’t in the habit of revisiting them.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Rani Yahya hopes Henry Briones isn't hurt after he says ref took too long to intervene

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

MEXICO CITY – On Saturday, Rani Yahya needed approximately two minutes to bounce back from his first loss in more than three years and bring his record to a 5-1 in his past six outings.

It was a somewhat breezy win for Yahya  (24-9 MMA, 9-3 UFC), who was quick to get fellow bantamweight Henry Briones (16-7-1 MMA, 1-3 UFC) where he wanted and seamlessly flow through submission positions before locking in the fight-ending kimura.

In a finish-heavy night at Mexico City Arena, the first-round submission wasn’t enough to earn Yahya a post-fight bonus. But who knows – maybe it earned him a little more respect.

“I think it’s more like – the trash-talking thing,” Yahya told MMAjunkie after the FS1-televised UFC Fight Night 114 preliminary card bout. “It’s not really my profile, to talk trash about a lot of people. But bro, I’m right there, man. This is my ninth win in the UFC (and) my 13th win under the Zuffa banner overall, since the WEC times.

“(Briones) fought Cody Garbrandt, and the fight went three rounds. They both got damage from that fight, a lot of blood. And I just came and beat that guy in two minutes, with no damage. So. I’m sure I’m right there.”

Briones did in fact fight champ Garbrandt to a decision, at UFC 189 in July 2015. Garbrandt, who then had a 1-0 octagon record, went on to knock out his following three opponents before the decision over Dominick Cruz that earned him the 135-pound title. Briones has gone on a three-fight losing skid since.

Yahya, in turn, is now recovered from a unanimous decision loss to Joe Soto at UFC Fight Night 106 in March. The Brasilia native switched things up for this camp, which he did at American Top Team. The decision paid dividends, as Yahya credits ATT’s Conan Silveira with advising him not to spend too much energy fixated in a single position and go with the flow of the fight.

The result of his willingness to look for other submissions when one – like an anaconda choke – wasn’t all the way there resulted on the perfect kimura. It’s a finish that Yahya is rather fond of, but hopes didn’t cause too much damage after being locked in for too long.

“I had his arm, he was already screaming and the referee took so long to stop the fight,” Yahya said. “But before, he went to the locker room, and said, ‘Just stop the fight when I put my hands on you.’ And it was there, like two or three seconds. I hope he doesn’t get injured or anything, but I think he will be OK.”

While he didn’t have a specific target in mind for his next fight, Yahya used his post-fight speech as an opportunity to ask for a spot in the upcoming UFC Fight Night 117 – which takes place Sept. 23 in Japan. Backstage, he explained why.

“I just want to fight in Japan because Japan is part of my career,” Yahya said. “I fought there seven times. I’ve had maybe like 10 Japanese opponents during my career. I think it’s a good opportunity for me.

“Most of the fighters in Asia – Japan, Korea, around that area – they’re light people. So, I think (UFC matchmaker) Sean (Shelby) can get a fight for me. If not, I will talk to my coaches to see what’s the best thing to do.”

To hear more from Yahya, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

After UFC debut win, Joseph Morales already eyeing title: 'Maybe next year or the year after'

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Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

MEXICO CITY – Joseph Morales didn’t really look like an octagon newcomer en route to his UFC Fight Night 114 win, which might have something to do with the fact he didn’t feel like one, either.

After dropping Roberto Sanchez (7-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) early with a right hand, Morales (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) sunk in a fight-ending rear-naked choke in the first round of their flyweight bout. The win not only got Morales’ octagon career started on the right track, but it also meant an added $50,000 to his bank account after receiving “Performance of the Night” honors.

It’s not like there weren’t emotions involved in his UFC debut. But, after dealing with those before he even set foot in the octagon, the 22-year-old says jitters had no place when its doors closed.

“I’ve been doing it for so long and I’ve been training with some of the best – a legend like Urijah Faber – (that) I think it was just kind of like any other fight for me,” Morales told MMAjunkie after the preliminary card bout, which streamed on UFC Fight Pass. “And just going out to the cage before the fight, it was just surreal, so I was able to get the emotion and the anxiety out before the fight. So that way, I wasn’t feeling any of it during it.”

It’s not like Morales’s confidence is unwarranted. Despite his young age, he walked into Mexico City Arena propelled not only by one of the world’s leading teams, Team Alpha Male, but also by the strength of an undefeated pro record that he’s been building since 2014. Before that, Morales had an unbeaten amateur career.

The accomplishment is made all the more impressive by the fact he did it where his opponent was best: the canvas. But, fresh off a Cage Fury win over another grappling specialist in Sean Santella, Morales wasn’t particularly worried about that, either.

“I grapple with the best in the world,” he said. “My first skill of MMA that I learned was jiu-jitsu. I wasn’t like nothing special that I had to train before. My last fight was a high-level black belt under the Miller brothers. He rocked me and had my back the whole round and he couldn’t submit me. And I don’t remember that first round.”

For now, Morales’ plans includes going back home, relaxing with his family and maybe throwing back a few beers. But, after that, the confident flyweight already has some ambitious ideas.

“The ultimate goal is just getting that championship belt,” Morales said. “I’m looking forward to that. Maybe next year or the year after, but I’m shooting for that.”

To hear more from Morales, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with MMA manager Brian Butler in studio

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guest Brian Butler.

Butler, who client list includes UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway, will co-host the show in the studio. He’ll help the hosts break down this past weekend’s UFC Fight Night 114 event, as well as other recent news, and give some insight into the latest for his stable of fighters.

MMAjunkie Radio airs from 1 to 3 p.m. ET (10 a.m. to noon PT), live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. You can watch and listen live on MMAjunkie’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Additionally, SiriusXM Rush (Ch. 93) carries a replay later in the day (8-10 p.m. ET) and the following morning (7-9 a.m. ET), or catch a replay on demand.

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

  • HOW TO WATCH (ON WEB): Watch a live stream on MMAjunkie’s Facebook or YouTube pages.
  • HOW TO CALL: MMAjunkie Radio takes phone calls from listeners throughout the show. Call into the MMAjunkie Radio hotline at (866) 522-2846.
  • HOW TO DISCUSS: The MMAjunkie MMA Forums has a section devoted solely to MMAjunkie Radio. Stop by the MMAjunkie Radio forum to discuss the show, interact with the hosts, suggest future guests and catch up on the latest MMAjunkie Radio news.
  • HOW TO VISIT THE SHOW: You can watch MMAjunkie Radio live and in person at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The booth is located in the resort’s Race & Sports Book next to the Mandalay Bay poker room. To plan a trip to Sin City and MMAjunkie Radio, go to www.mandalaybay.com.

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie