Friday, April 30, 2010

The Crow Considering Taking Legal Action Against Quebec Athletic Commission

David "The Crow" Loiseau was scheduled to fight May 8, 2010 at UFC 113 and has been replaced by the UFC because of delays in getting his license from the The Régie des Alcools, des Courses et des Jeux (Regulators of Alcohol, Racing and Gaming) -- Quebec Athletic Commission. 

Apparently, and as set forth in this article on Cagepotato, the Commission delayed getting Loiseau his license because of an investigation into some alleged ties to organized crime:

"According to the 30-year-old Montreal native, several months after he sold off his minority share of his Quebec-based XMMA promotion, following an extensive police investigation, its new owners were allegedly found to have ties to organized crime in the province. Loiseau was questioned by police and it was determined that he did not have any knowledge of the criminal involvement of the individuals he sold his stake in the organization to."

Now, even though he received his license, it is too late because he has already been pulled from the card.  It is an unfortunate situation for sure.

I do not practice in Canada and am not Canadian so I won't opine on the merits of a potential lawsuit against the Athletic Commission. Presumably, however, he would be considering a defamation lawsuit. It appears from this post on Wikipedia about Canadian defamation law that it is harder to maintain a claim for defamation in Quebec than in the Canadian Commonwealth jurisdictions generally.

In addition, in his applicant's license (I am assuming he filled this out as it is the required form on the Commission website), he authorized as follows:

"I, undersigned, consent the S.Q. and the Régie to proceed with an investigation concerning my past conduct or my implication with regards to any criminal or penal offence in order to ensure, in the public’s interest, the competent and integral exercise of combat sports practiced by professionals and to maintain their good reputation.  The consent is valid for a year as of the date of the signature."

Whether that contractual consent to proceed with an investigation shields the S.Q. and the Régie from liability (for whatever claims Loiseau is considering) is an interesting question that perhaps will be answered if he does decide to take legal action.

Fight Lawyer

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mayhem out Babalu in for Strikeforce 6/16/2010

In light of the Strikeforce melee described in this post, Strikeforce has, preemptivelyremoved Mayhem from its June 16, 2010 California card in which he was scheduled to fight Robbie Lawler in the main event.  He has been replaced by Renato "Babalu" Sobral.  As set forth in this article on SherdogStrikeforce's CEO believed that the Tennessee Athletic Commission would be putting Jason "Mayhem" Miller under "some type of suspension."  According to the article on Sherdog, the Commission is still investigating the situation. 

I took a quick look at the rules to see if I could find the source of a potential suspension in this situation and this is what I found. 

A suspension is authorized by the Tennessee Code.  Specifically, Part 209 of Chapter 115 of Title 68 of the Tennessee Code provides in relevant part that:

(a) The commission may, in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, compiled in title 4, chapter 5, suspend or revoke the license of any person issued pursuant to this chapter who . . .

(5) Is found by the commission to have committed an act or conduct that is detrimental to a professional contest of unarmed combat, including, but not limited to, any foul or unsportsmanlike conduct in connection with a professional contest of unarmed combat;"

Further, in addition to any disciplinary action above, under Chapter 0145-04.01 of the Rules of the Tennessee Athletic Commission, the Commission may assess a civil penalty for a violation of Part 209 of Chapter 115 of Title 68 in the amount of $0-$250,000

You may be wondering why Strikeforce would pull Mayhem from a card in California if the potential suspension is implemented in Tennessee.  Under California Business and Professions Code Section 18850:

 (a) Any boxer or martial arts fighter who participates in a contest or match while under suspension by the commission, or any other recognized commission, shall have his or her license revoked.

While "recognized commission" does not appear to be defined, I would certainly predict that the Tennessee Commission would be "recognized" by the California Commission.

Tito Ortiz and Jenna Jameson -- The Drama Continues

Following up on this post after Tito claimed at a press conference that Jenna Jameson was using OxyContin, Jenna Jameson now claims that she tested clean one day after the alleged altercation.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

MMA in New York (Part 3)

In response to a post on Sherdog today addressing this blog article and asking about whether MMA will come to New York this year, I responded as set forth below.  I had planned on doing a post like this anyway, i.e. a post with my thoughts on whether the ban will be lifted this year, but since I addressed it today here it is.

The ban on MMA in New York will get lifted eventually, but in my opinion it doesn't look good for this year. I say this because (as stated in the article) the Assembly's version of the budget bill (unlike the Governor's budget and the Senate's version) does not contain a provision amending the law that contains the ban. This could be because of Assemblyman Reilly's letter to Speaker Silver (which would not be good at all), but even if it isn't, the fact that Speaker Silver excluded the provision from the Assembly's version of the budget is bad. Speaker Silver is extremely powerful -- even more so now that Governor Paterson has his issues and there are issues surrounding the Senate leadership. If Silver is against a bill lifting the ban, it spells trouble for the future of MMA under any scenario (hopefully, of course, the fact that the Assembly's budget does not include a provision lifting the ban doesn't mean that the Speaker is opposed at all).

As I have recently posted at my Fight Lawyer blog, there are really two avenues currently on the table for lifting the ban on MMA and both go through the Assembly. As set forth above, the budget can get passed with a provision lifting the ban negating the need for the bill to move through the entire committee process. Alternatively, there is a bill in the Assembly that is currently referred to the Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development.

As you may recall, until last year, the bill stalled in the Tourism Committee largely due to Assemblyman Reilly' efforts. Last year, however, the bill made it through Tourism, then made it through the Codes Committee, and ultimately stalled out in the Ways & Means Committee. Because it stalled, it needed to be reintroduced again this year in the Tourism Committee -- essentially it started over. Under either scenario above, however, ultimately the Speaker controls the bill's destiny even if and after it makes it through all of the committees. Accordingly, if Speaker Silver is against it, the prospect of a bill's passage is not good.

Worth noting that even if a similar bill was introduced in the Senate, was reported through the Senate committees, and received the necessary majority vote in the Senate, it would STILL need to be approved by the Assembly by a majority and without amendment before going to the Governor for signature.

Bottom line, I think it will happen -- and I am going to do everything I can to make it happen (so should you by calling your assemblyman etc.) -- but I am not confident that it will happen this year…

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Overturning a Decision

In response to my post on the disqualification of a fighter during last week's Ultimate Fighter episode, a colleague came to ask me what, if any, options there are to have a fight result overturned. Briefly, by way of background, on last week's episode of the Ultimate Fighter a fighter named Uscola was disqualified for kneeing a grounded opponent to the head.

As detailed in my previous post, this was a correct application of the Nevada State Athletic Commission Regulations by the referee. Due to the doctor's subsequent determination that Attonito (the recipient of the knee) was unable to continue, the referee disqualified Uscola. Although some may disagree about whether the knees actually made contact with Antonito's head (in my view the replay was inconclusive at best and warranted the referee's call), as set forth below there is no basis for the Commission (under its Regulations) to change the decision in this situation.

In determining whether there is a basis for the athletic commission to change a decision, you must first determine the appropriate regulating body. Here, the Ultimate Fighter takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada and so the Nevada State Athletic Commission Regulations apply -- specifically, NAC 467.

Under Section, 467.770, "Change of decision after contest or exhibition: Factors considered by Commission," except in instances where the Commission changes a result based on drug use etc.:

"the Commission will not change a decision rendered at the end of any contest or exhibition 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."

Under this provision, unless there is collusion affecting the result, an error in the tabulation of the judges' scorecards which shows that the wrong fighter won, or an error in the result because the referee interpreted a provision of Regulation 467 incorrectly leading to the wrong decision, the Commission will not change a decision.

Here, as set forth in my initial post, the Regulations provide that kneeing a downed opponent is a foul and can result in disqualification.  There was, therefore, no misinterpretation of the Regulations by the referee and no basis for the Commission to overturn the decision.

In fact, the only part of the decision that Uscola could theoretically take issue with is whether the referee correctly exercised his discretion in calling the foul and then (after listening to the doctor) disqualifying Uscola. However, because the Regulations do not provide that a decision will be changed as a result of an error in exercising discretion (under the appropriate regulations), there is no basis in my opinion for the Commission to overturn the referee's decision.

Tito Ortiz Denies Assault at Press Conference

Tito Ortiz denies assaulting Jenna Jameson at press conference and attributes her call to police and his arrest to her use of OxyContin.

Monday, April 26, 2010

MMA in New York Part 2

This is my second post in a series following the process of getting the MMA ban lifted in New York. If you missed my first post, here it is. In short, as you will recall from my first post, the item to be addressed is the prohibition placed on "combative sports" contained at Sections 5-a of Chapter 912 of the laws of 1920.  This post will provide a general overview of the legislative process here in New York and will provide the current status of the relevant bill in the New York State Assembly.

At 10,000 feet, how a bill becomes law in New York is not all that different than the federal process. New York has two legislative bodies, the New York State Assembly and the New York Senate. A bill can be introduced in either body and essentially follows the same path. Depending on the substance of the bill, it is sent to the relevant standing committee(s) and, once there, the bill can be amended, rejected, or reported (i.e. sent to the full senate for a vote or the next standing committee). If a majority of the Senate approves the bill (or a majority of the Assembly approves the bill if it originated in the Assembly), it is passed to the Assembly (or Senate) for a vote by that body. Once the bill passes both legislative bodies by a majority, it is sent to the Governor, who has 10 days (excluding Sundays) to sign it, veto it or take no action. If the Governor takes no action, the bill becomes law just as if the Governor had signed the bill.

The summary above is at 10,000 feet and contains what I think is important for purposes of this discussion. However, you should note that there are other intricacies to the whole process that may or may not be implicated, including, for example, amendments that can be made once a bill has reached the full Senate or Assembly, the Governor can veto a bill (sending it back to the originating house with his reason), and the Senate and the Assembly can override the Governors veto with a two-thirds vote in both houses.

Currently, the Assembly bill to lift the ban on combative sports is A02009 and it has been referred to the Committee on Tourism, Arts & Sports Development. Importantly, last year was the first time that the bill was reported by the Tourism Committee, i.e. it was passed out of that Committee. Indeed, despite Assemblymember Bob Reilly's attempts to derail the bill as he had in years passed, the bill was reported by the Tourism Committee, went to the Codes Committee, and was reported by the Codes Committee to the Ways and Means Committee. Ultimately, it stalled there.  In 2010, it has been referred again to the Tourism Committee where it stands now.

As I briefly mentioned in my first post, there is another way that a bill lifting the ban can be passed and it is through the Governor's 2010-2011 Executive Budget. Governor Paterson's budget proposes lifting the MMA ban in New York and it is my understanding that the Assembly and the Senate are in Albany continuing to negotiate over the proposed Budget. Hopefully, after negotiation, the Assembly and the Senate will pass a Budget that includes the bill that lifts the ban on combative sports -- in effect, getting the bill through without the need for the process outlined above.

As part of this blog, I will continue to provide updates on the status of the bill in the Tourism Committee and the Budget and track the bill's overall progress.  That's it for now.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Gear Review--Garmin Forerunner 405 w/HR Monitor

I will tie this to fighting through road work and a series of posts I will be doing reviewing different gear I use.  This will have nothing to do with the law -- except for the fact that I am a lawyer and I use this stuff I guess.

I will start with my newest piece of gear, the Garmin Forerunner 405 w/HR.  I have always (or almost always) used a heartrate monitor for my cardio, but my wife recently wanted to start running -- in races -- and asked me if I would join her.  We did our first 4 mile race last week in Central Park and now we are signed up for a 10k next month.  Since I would be doing more running outside, I wanted a monitor that could also give me distance and pace so that I could set goals and try and keep them.  Enter the Garmin 405 that uses GPS to provide the previously mentioned data.  There are other ways to track distance and pace, namely the foot pod that Polar uses (and I believe Nike uses a foot pod too).  The problem with the foot pod is that it needs to be calibrated (ideally on a track) and I thought the GPS would be more exact. 

Yesterday, I did my first run with the 405 and here are my thoughts.  Setting it up.  Overall, once you get used to tapping the bezel to switch between screens it is easy to use.  You can also customize your training views that you can toggle between -- I have one for heart rate percentage and calories burned and one for pace, time and distance.  Moving between the screens was easy (once you figure out and get used to using the bezel).  The 405 comes with or without the HR monitor, I bought mine with and it worked very well.  It syncs up quickly and I didn't lose any readings.  One thing to note, if you are used to going to the gym with just the heartrate monitor band around your chest and no watch because equipment at the gym can read the band, this has not been my experience with the Garmin.  With the Polar, it always worked well, but I think the gym equipment is specifically calibrated to only read Polar.  You also can input your age and weight and other personal information that allows the HR monitor to track your HR zone (percentage of max heartrate etc) and track the calories. Overall, 8 out of 10 for ease of use.  Deductions coming from the lack of sync ability with equipment at the gym.

The run.  I left my apartment and it did take a while for the GPS to find me--if you live in NYC you are undoubtedly used to this if you have ever tried to get your GPS to work in the car.  However, once it found me, I only lost a signal once during my run and quickly caught up once it found the satellite again.  That said, I was running along the FDR, so there are no buildings blocking to the east.  During the run, the GPS performed well and let me watch my pace and adjust up or down according to my goals.  Overall, 7 out of 10.  Deductions coming from the time it takes to find a satellite, which is a little annoying.

After my run.  I connected on-line -- once configured, which took 15 minutes, the watch automatically syncs with your computer and uploads the data.  From there, you can create an on-line account to track all of your information (lap times, calories, distance, pace, split times etc.)  Here is the coolest part, it also provides a Google Map showing where you went. Mine is below.  NO, I was not running in small circles as it appears towards the bottom, there is a track downtown on the east side and I ran one lap on the track.  Pretty cool.  Overall, 10 out of 10.  The amount of information quickly uploaded to the computer is awesome.

Any questions, post a comment.  That's it for now.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tonight's Fights

As part of my blog, I will be providing a list of the televised fights that I will be watching/recording -- if you know of additional fights feel free to shoot me an email. Tonight there are many choices -- WEC PPV (Aldo v. Faber), Froch v. Kessler (Showtime), and Arreola v. Tomasz Adamek (HBO), not to mention Mosley Mayweather 24/7 and the WEC prelims free and live on Spike TV. Good thing I have two dual DVRs allowing me to record 4 things at once. What are you going to watch?

I am now up and running on Facebook so check out my fan page by clicking here or clicking on the icon on the right margin of this page.

Friday, April 23, 2010

MMA in New York

Over the next week or so I am going to be addressing the current ban in New York over mixed martial arts in an effort to get everyone interested up to speed. This is a very current issue as there are proposals to lift the ban (legislative initiatives and Governor Paterson's 2010-2011 budget proposes lifting the ban and estimates revenue of $2.1 M if MMA is legalized).  I think starting with the background here makes sense so that everyone understands exactly what needs to be changed for MMA to come to New York.

As you are probably aware if you are reading this blog or know me, this issue is important to me and probably most of my readers because I live and work in New York and am excited by the prospect of being able to watch the first UFC (WEC, Strikeforce, etc.) event held live at MSG. In addition, given the budget issues facing New York, MMA would be a good source of revenue for the state and the city. This is also important overall for MMA in general as NY is a big market and NYC is a great fight town.

I will start this first post (in a series) where I think it makes sense, i.e. at the beginning with the actual ban. In 1997, chapter 912 of the laws of 1920, which relates to allowing and regulating boxing, sparring and wrestling matches, was amended with the addition of a new Section 5-a to specifically prohibit "combative sports."

Combative sports are defined (at 5-a(1)) as "any professional match or exhibition other than boxing, sparring, wrestling or martial arts wherein the contestants deliver, or are not forbidden by the applicable rules thereof from delivering kicks, punches or blows of any kind to the body of an opponent or opponents." "Martial Arts" specifically include "any professional match or exhibition sanctioned by any of the following organizations: U.S. Judo Association, U.S. Judo, Inc., U.S. Judo Federation, U.S. Tae Kwon Do Union, North American Sport Karate Association, U.S.A. Karate Foundation, U.S. Karate, Inc., World Karate Association, Professional Karate Association, Karate International, International Kenpo Association, or World Wide Kenpo Association."

Thus, by its terms (and because it is not boxing, sparring, wrestling, or "martial arts") MMA is a combative sport. Section 5-a(2) specifically states that "[[n]o combative sport shall be conducted, held or given within the state of New York, and no licenses may be approved by the commission for such matches or exhibitions." There you have it -- the source of the ban.

In my next post on this topic I will address the process involved in getting the ban lifted in the New York State Assembly, efforts by members of the New York State Assembly to lift the ban and the, so far, successful efforts of Assemblyman Bob Reilly to block these efforts.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Ultimate Fighter "Controversy"

I am a big fan of the Ultimate Fighter reality show on Spike TV as I like to see the next generation of fighters.  For those of you who don't know about the show, the premise is as follows:  take a bunch of up-and-coming fighters, usually 16, divide them up into two teams coached by two well-known fighters (and those well known fighters' coaches from their respective camps) who generally hate each other, and put them in a house together with no television while they compete in a single elimination style tournament to declare the ultimate fighter. The winner gets a six figure one-year contract with the UFC.  The coaches end up fighting at the end of the season. This year, Chuck Liddell is opposite Tito Ortiz. I am sure this is obvious, but putting 16 combat athletes in a house with no television leads to quite a bit of drama. In any event, I can save that for another post.

For this post, I want to focus on last night's episode and the advertised "controversy" in the first of two aired fights. In the first fight, Kyacey Uscola took on Rich Attonito. From the opening bell, Attonito dominated catching Uscola with a punch that sent him to the canvas and then Attonito started pounding away on Uscola. Uscola, to his credit, and after being basically slammed on his head, managed to seemingly turn things around by getting Attonito in side control after using a kimura to execute the sweep. He then dropped some (mostly ineffective) elbows on Attonito. Attonito, realizing that he was in a bad position, began to escape out of side control in an attempt to get to his feet -- importantly, he still was not off the ground and had at least one knee down on the mat. Uscola, now standing, landed a knee (some say it appeared to connect with Attonito's chest, but it looked like the head to me) and then followed up with another knee that appeared to be aimed at the head and that appeared to at least graze the chin and/or head of Attonito. Referee Josh Rosenthal called time to let the cage side doctor examine Attonito and the doctor ultimately concluded that Attonito could not continue. Rosenthal correctly followed the Nevada State Athletic Association Rules in disqualifying Uscola.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission Rule is clear, NAC 467.7962 "Acts constituting fouls," provides that "[k]neeing the head of a grounded opponent" is a foul. Further, NAC 467.695 provides that a "combatant guilty of a foul in a contest or exhibition may be disqualified by the referee." Here, the knee was clearly a foul and the doctor determined that Attonito could not continue. Rosenthal did not have the benefit of instant replay and it doesn't really matter because, at best for Uscola, even with the benefit of instant replay it is unclear whether the knees connected to Attonito's head.

Initially Uscola denied that he did anything wrong and protested, but he appeared to calm down later when he learned that Attonito had a broken hand and might be forced to pull out of the competition despite the win.

I will just note here (I may post more on this at a later date) for the boxing fans, who unlike me, don't also like MMA, that a combatant's denial and protest is not limited to MMA. In a recent fight between Andre Dirrell and Arthur Abraham, Abraham clearly punched Dirrell after he had slipped and was down on the canvas and knocked Dirrell unconscious -- Dirrell had been winning the fight up to that point in the 11th round. After he was disqualified (suffering his first defeat), Abraham claimed that he did nothing wrong and that Dirrell was "not a boxer -- he is an actor." Abraham was clearly wrong and was correctly disqualified.
That's it for now.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mosley/Mayweather and Rematch Clauses

I am anxiously awaiting the Mosley Mayweather fight and HBO's 24/7 is only increasing my anticipation.  For those of you who don't know (my wife is the only follower so far so there aren't many of you), I am pulling for Mosley and my wife is pulling for Mayweather.  I met Mosley in Vegas two years ago during my bachelor party and had a good conversation with him.  I have posted a pic above from that encounter.  That weekend, he was supposed to fight Zab Judah, but Judah pulled out over a cut he sustained while showering if I recall correctly.  Something like that.  Mosley was still upset over his loss to Cotto at MSG and told me he wanted to fight Mayweather next.  This was, of course, before Mayweather "retired."  I think right before.  In any event, Mosley was a good guy and I enjoyed talking to him and I have been a fan ever since.  I certainly respect what Mayweather can do as a fighter, but I am pulling for Mosley. 

I am also a big fan of Pacquiao and wanted him to get his shot at Mosley or Mayweather after this fight -- as an aside, I wanted the Mayweather Pacquiao fight to happen first but the whole olympic-style drug testing thing derailed that.  However, given the rematch clause (which I believe is one-way, i.e. only Mayweather gets the benefit of the rematch not Mosley if he loses), if Mosley wins there would have to be another fight and perhaps a third if Mayweather won the second fight. 

The whole concept of a rematch clause intrigued me.  I wondered if a rematch clause had ever been enforced and how so.  It turns out there has been at least one such case that was right here in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.  After Hasim Rahman took Lennox Lewis' belt in April 2001, he refused to honor his contractual obligation to give Lewis a rematch.  Instead, Rahman was attempting to fight another fighter.  In a deicision in June 2001, Judge Cedarbaum enjoined Rahman from fighting for 18 months unless he fought Lewis first.  In effect, instead of forcing Rahman to fight (specific performance) she enjoined (stopped him) from fighting anybody else for 18 months unless he gave Lewis the rematch first.  New York Times Article re the decision  Thought that was interesting. I haven't seen the decision, but it also seems that nothing would have precluded Lewis from also seeking monetary damages.  Bottom line, and tying this back to Mosley Mayweather (assuming the contractual provision is the same or similar and similar contract law in whatever jurisdiction the contract provides for), if Mosley wins, he will likely not be able to skip to Pacquiao without fighting Mayweather again first.

Finally, for those who watch 24/7, what did you think of the 6 year old "Cash Flow" hitting the pads--incredible.

Pavlik v. Martinez

Although the fight predates my blog and this post has very little to do with the law (for any lawyer that thought from the title of this post that it is a legal case because of the "v", sorry, but maybe that demonstrates an interesting relationship between fighting and the law) I had a quick thought on the ever-important mental aspect of combat sports, much like litigation I guess.  Not sure if anybody else caught this -- and I couldn't hear specifically what Pavlik was saying -- but it appeared at least three times during the fight (in the early rounds when Martinez was dominating, in the middle around the time that Pavlik suffered his second cut over the right eye, and towards the late rounds when Martinez turned things around), that Pavlik was just mentally not there.  I am not going to say he quit, but something he was saying to his trainer was really pissing the trainer off.  I am not quoting here, but his trainer said (expletives not included in my post) don't ____ say that, stop ____ saying that etc.  Ultimately, it should come as no surprise that Pavlik lost.  If you were able to pick up the negative things Pavlik was saying that prompted the trainer's response please comment below.  For now, I guess the point of my post is how important the mental aspect (and edge) is in any sport/endeavor that involves competition and ultimately a winner and a loser.  In law, I guess, it probably causes parties to back down and settle in many instances because they have lost confidence and are scared of the unknown, i.e. trial, or are just tired of the aggressive tactics of the adversary in discovery or otherwise.  Don't get me wrong, settling often is the right move, but not always.  That's it for now. 

The Strikeforce Melee

I don't have too much to say about this because it has been beaten to death already, but I watched the fight breakout live on CBS and admit that I had to rewind to watch it again -- even before CBS gratuitously played it again after the commercial break.  At first, I though it was staged to garner interest in a Mayhem Shields rematch, but I quickly realized the fight itself was not staged.  I was not surprised that the Diaz brothers were involved of course, but I certainly don't blame them for instigating -- although they certainly helped escalate matters.  Instead, in the instigation column I would have to put Mayhem and Melendez and to some extent Shields.  Nonetheless, I read somewhere the suggestion that the UFC should (or could) fine or sanction Nate Diaz for his involvement because he is under contract with the UFC.  I am not buying it even if the UFC contract so provides, which of course would not surprise me, i.e., the UFC (or Zuffa) probably has the right to fine fighters or terminate the contract for good cause or no cause at all.  The Tennessee Athletic Commission will investigate and levy whatever fines and suspensions it deems fit.  It doesn't take a lawyer to realize this, but in my opinion the UFC shouldn't touch this with a ten foot pole.  No reason to tangle itself in this mess period.  Stay above the fray.  That's just my opinion.  On a final note, congratulations to Jake Shields on a great fight and a sick jiu jitsu display. 

About this blog

Since this is my first post, I thought it only made sense to say a little bit about me and then the purpose of this blog.

First, about me. I am a lawyer in New York City with the law firm Satterlee Stephens Burke and Burke LLP and my practice is focused primarily on litigation. Here is a link to my firm and my bio. By clicking on the link to my bio, you can see a few cases I have worked on recently.

On a personal note, I am married to my lovely wife Polly (who is my first and, at this point my only, "follower" for this blog) and she works in sales for a fashion accessory company in NYC. Polly and I met when we were both living in DC -- I was clerking down there -- through my friend, and co-worker, Jim. Thanks Jim.

I am an avid fight fan, boxing as well as MMA, and I am a blue belt in jiu jitsu under Marcos Santos and have had the honor and privilege of training in Brazil with some of Marcos' first instructors. I also enjoy boxing here in NYC at Mendez and work on my conditioning and boxing with my good friend and trainer Paulo.

Second, and following from the first point, my fight interest, my training, and my experience as a litigator (which has many similarities to fighting believe it or not) led me down a path to start this blog. I figured I would add my commentary on issues surrounding fights (e.g., sanctioning, drug testing, or whatever the issue of the day may be) and analysis of particular fights that interest me (or that enrage me) with a legal slant where appropriate.  Basically, I get to write about two of my passions and hopefully somebody will read it and even comment. I also might just throw in stuff of interest from time to time. If there is a particular topic of interest, you can email me at and I will try to respond.

With that said....on to creating a first substantive post.