During the February 15 meeting of the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) one of the first things the commission did was to approve the “consent agenda” portion of their docket. Among the final items on that agenda was a “Request for Waiver per Nevada Administrative Code (NAC) 467.017.”
The request, made by Zuffa LLC (UFC) was for “Declaratory Ruling and Limited Waiver of Regulations pursuant to NAC 467.008.” The item was not discussed during the meeting, but it was quickly approved.
Bloody Elbow submitted an information request to the commission regarding the vaguely worded action item, and have been provided the more thorough documentation behind it, as created by UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell.
The waiver, dated January 17th, 2023, is related to the filming of the current season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’—which features UFC stars Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler in head coaching roles, with the intent that the two men will face off in the Octagon later this year.
The document is an update of older agreements between the UFC and the NSAC over withholding fight results from public release. As Campbell notes…
Unfortunately, the concept of reality television was not envisioned when the Commission’s rules and regulations were drafted. As a result, a few of the Commission’s regulations could lead to divulging the particular fight match-ups and/or the winners of the matches. Either of these likelihoods would destroy the climactic ending to the television series. Consequently, as it did for the first twenty-eight seasons of the television series, Zuffa is respectfully petitioning this Commission for approval to defe, not prohibit, the release of any documents that would divulge the specific match-ups or the results of the matches taking place as part of the reality series, or any documents that lead to such divulgence. The actual number of documents will be minimal because that are likely to be less than 15 total matches during the series. By comparison, 10-12 matches occur during a typical UFC event. The documents that would be subject to deferred release include the inspectors’ weigh-in sheets, the scorecard tally sheets and the physicians’ reports after the matches.
Zuffa requests to defer release of this limited information for only a short period of time to allow the series to have a suspenseful and compelling finale. It is an important point in this Petition that Zuffa does not seek to prohibit public release of the information, but rather only the timing of such release.
Campbell goes on to state that Zuffa initially filed a similar request on September 15, 2004 and then again on December 10, 2008.
The request states that the public will be “entitled to fully review all documents after the programs are telecast.”
The specific items Zuffa has asked to have withheld include:
“Approval of program dates.” This request was made to ensure a flexible shooting schedule for the show.
“Minimum number of rounds for a complete program.” With no tickets being sold for the fights being filmed during the reality program, there is no need for Zuffa to satisfy a minimum number of rounds per card.
“Number of rounds in contest of exhibition.” This request allows for a “sudden victory round” in order for one fighter to be declared the victor and move on to the next round of competition.
“Procedures for attendance at weigh-ins.” This request asks that only “essential Commission personnel” take part in the weigh-ins before the fights are filmed for the reality program.
The upcoming season of “The Ultimate Fighter” premieres on ESPN and ESPN+ on May 30.
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