SBD/Issue 36/Leagues & Governing Bodies

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  • MLB Teams Have Advanced Warning When Drug Tests Will Occur

    MLB-contracted drug testers "routinely alert team officials a day or more before their arrival at ballparks for what is supposed to be random, unannounced testing of players," a process anti-doping experts claim "undermines the integrity of the testing program," according to a front-page piece by Michael Schmidt of the N.Y. TIMES. Teams are not told what players will be tested, but drug-testing companies call the home team the night before to request stadium and parking passes. Doping expert John Hoberman said, "They're opening a door to serious doubts about the integrity of the program." Officials from three teams "confirmed that their clubs receive advance notice of testing." MLB Exec VP/Labor Relations Rob Manfred, who oversees MLB's drug-testing program, said clubs "are not supposed to tell players that tests will be conducted," and added a person with each team "is responsible for arranging for tester access and for space to be set aside in the locker rooms for tests." Manfred: "We are very confident that no player has ever received advanced notice of a test. Even if a player knew a few hours before, there is precious little that can be done to subvert a test." In May, MLB "quietly adjusted its testing procedure" after a report described how MLB drug testers "relied on team employees to chaperone players who could not immediately provide a urine sample." MLB Senior VP/PR Rich Levin said, "The process continues to evolve, we have an open mind, and if there is a way to make it better we will do it" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/31).

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  • Cash Back: UFC Shows Books To Refute Couture's Money Claim

    UFC Holds Press Conference
    To Refute Couture's Claims
    The UFC yesterday held a press conference "to refute some of [fighter Randy] Couture's recent claims regarding his compensation," according to Mike Chiappetta of NBCSports.com. UFC CFO John Mulkey said that in '07 Couture, who resigned from the organization earlier this month, earned about $2.9M in salary and bonuses. Couture received a $500,000 signing bonus, which "contradicts Couture's claim that he asked for but was denied a bonus when he re-negotiated his deal" prior to his March fight against Tim Sylvia. Lorenzo Fertitta -- co-Owner of UFC parent company Zuffa "who rarely speaks to the media" -- attended the press conference "to refute" Couture's claims. Fertitta, on Couture's contract: "He says now he wasn't happy with it, which I find surprising, because after we came to terms, we shook hands and hugged" (NBCSports.com, 10/30). Mulkey said that Couture grossed about $1.2M for UFC 68, another $1.1M for UFC 74, though the bonus from the PPV events "has yet to be paid" since UFC has not yet collected all the money from cable and satellite providers. Couture said that his bonus for UFC 68 was $500,000, yet the UFC has documentation that he cashed five separate checks totaling $924,000. In Houston, Steve Sievert wrote that "drills major holes in Couture's arguments about not being properly" compensated (CHRON.com, 10/30). In L.A., Lance Pugmire notes Couture claimed he "had not received a proper post-fight bonus" in August for defeating Gabriel Gonzaga, and "complained that he had heard" UFC planned to pay former Pride champion Fedor Emelianenko more than he was making.  Couture also earned $160,000 as a UFC commentator, and UFC President Dana White said Couture's total earnings are second to only Chuck Liddell among the 200 UFC fighters. White: "We pay our fighters very well" (L.A. TIMES, 10/31).

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