POLLOCK’S UPDATE: Nasty split between UFC & USADA


Tonight: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John Pollock & Wai Ting (POST Wrestling Café)
Saturday: NJPW Royal Quest III review with Bruce Lord & Karen Peterson (POST Wrestling Café)
Saturday: Collision Course with John Siino & Kate from Montreal (POST Wrestling Café)
Sunday: The N.W.A. Podcast with Nate Milton, Andrew Thompson & Kris Ealy
Sunday: MCU L8R with WH Park & Rich Fann – Loki Season 2, Ep. 2 (POST Wrestling Café)

**Rewind-A-SmackDown is live at 10:05 p.m. ET with John Pollock & Wai Ting tonight for a review of the season premiere of SmackDown. (Link for POST Wrestling Café members)

**Martin Bushby, Dickie Bird & Brandon from New Jersey have released their first episode of Eagles Don’t Hunt Flies chronicling the career of Jon Moxley. The series begins with an in-depth look at Moxley’s feud with Nick Gage. The feud dates back to 2009 in CZW where they feuded over the promotion’s championship and was revisited by GCW when Moxley beat Gage for the GCW title and held the belt for a year before their blowoff match at Fight Club last October.


**Tony Khan shared that this weekend marks one year since his mother’s life was saved at the Mayo Clinic, which he detailed late last year in a media call prior to ROH’s Final Battle event. Khan posted that while this was going on regarding his mother’s health, he was being informed of AEW talent’s being contacted by WWE while under contract and alleging that WWE was tampering. Khan said at that moment “business became personal for me.”

**MJF was part of a panel on Thursday for the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism at the Sports Leaders Convention. He was part of a panel hosted by ESPN’s Kayla Burton that included Julian Edelman, Aneas Williams, and Nate Ebner. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is the founder of the foundation and was on hand for the convention along with the NBA, NFL, Major League Baseball, and MLS sending representatives.

**The season premiere of Friday Night SmackDown airs from the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma with the return of Roman Reigns for the first time in over two months. WrestleTix reports that nearly 700 tickets have moved in the past two days with approximately 9,900 tickets distributed for tonight up 45% from the last time Raw ran at the building in January. The following is announced for the show on Fox:
*Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships: Cody Rhodes & Jey Uso © vs. Grayson Waller & Austin Theory
*Roman Reigns returns
*Triple H to make an announcement  
*John Cena to appear
*Pretty Deadly vs. Ridge Holland & Butch

**IMPACT Wrestling averaged 97,000 viewers and 0.01 in the 18-49 demographic this week on AXS TV. The show aired against the Thursday night game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos which had 13.8 million viewers and the Atlanta vs. Philadelphia MLB playoff game which averaged 5.3 million viewers. (Sports TV Ratings)

**AEW Rampage airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET on TNT with the following matches taped in Independence, Missouri this past week:
*The Hardys & Brother Zay vs. Daniel Garcia, Matt Menard & Angelo Parker
*Skye Blue vs. Emi Sakura
*Trent Beretta vs. Jay Lethal
*Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta vs. Gates of Agony 

**Saturday night’s edition of Collision is back to its regular time of 8 p.m. ET due to the outcome of the MLB playoffs. The company promoted a 7 p.m. start time throughout Tuesday’s Dynamite broadcast. They have announced two matches with Christian Cage vs. Bryan Danielson for the TNT Championship and Samoa Joe vs. Willie Mack for the ROH Television Championship from Toledo, Ohio.

**The major card of the weekend is NJPW’s Royal Quest III card from the Copper Box Arena in London and streaming on the RevPro site at 1 p.m. ET (it will run on New Japan World at a later date). The card is headlined by Will Ospreay and Zack Sabre Jr. for the IWGP UK (U.S.) Championship in their first singles match together since the New Japan Cup in March 2022 when ZSJ submitted Ospreay. Below is the lineup:
*IWGP U.K. Championship: Will Ospreay © vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
*Shingo Takagi vs. Tomohiro Ishii
*Eddie Kingston, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Oku vs. Henare, Jeff Cobb & TJP
*SANADA & DOUKI vs. Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI
*Great O-Khan & Francesco Akira vs. Shota Umino & Ren Narita
*Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & El Phantasmo vs. Alex Coughlin, Gabe Kidd & David Finlay
*IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Titles: Clark Connors & Drilla Moloney © vs. Leon Slater & Cameron Khai
*Yota Tsuji vs. Luke Jacobs
*El Desperado vs. Trent Seven
*Taiji Ishimori vs. Robbie X

**James Drake (formerly of the Grizzled Young Vets), posted that “Tomorrow, a new chapter begins”. Fightful Select had previously reported that the WWE deals for Drake and Zack Gibson expired on October 14.

**House of Glory is streaming on the Premier Streaming Network tonight at 8 p.m. ET with Minoru Suzuki against Charles Mason, Mike Santana vs. Rocky Romero, The Mane Event defending their HOG tag titles against Encore & Ken Broadway, and Nola Kitano vs. Michael Fain for the Cruiserweight title matches among the main matches.

**DEFY Wrestling has a big card tonight in Yakima, Washington at the Yakima Valley Sundome. The card will include Swerve Strickland vs. El Hijo del Vikingo, Masato Tanaka vs. Bryan Keith, Vert Vixen vs. Nicole Matthews vs. Dulce Tormenta vs. Karisma for the DEFY Women’s title, Gringo Loco vs. Galeno Del Mal vs. Arez for the Primolucha title, Juventud Guerrera & Super Crazy & Guillermo Rosas vs. Eddie Pearl, Ricky Gibson & Miles Deville, and Ultimo Dragon teaming with Nick Wayne & Cody Chhun vs. Evan Rivers, Judas Icarus & Travis Williams.

**Kenta Kobashi is being brought in by West Coast Pro this weekend for their fifth-anniversary event that goes down Saturday and have announced they are streaming it free on YouTube. Kobashi will be appearing at the show in a very rare U.S. appearance. The card will include Titus Alexander vs. Starboy Charlie for the West Coast Pro Heavyweight title, Masato Tanaka vs. Vinnie Massaro, Los Suavecitos vs. Ultimo Dragon & Motor City Machine Guns, Bryan Keith vs. Jiah Jewell, Takumi Iroha vs. Masha Slamovich for the West Coast Pro Women’s title, Speedball Mike Bailey vs. Alpha Zo, Timothy Thatcher vs. JT Thorne, Chikayo Nagashima & Rachael Ellering & Johnnie Robbie & Unagi Sayaka vs. Riko Kawahata & Maria & Mio Momono & Sandra Moone, an open challenge issued by the West Coast Wrecking Crew.

**West Coast Pro has also announced KENTA for their December 3 card at the Don Quixote in Los Angeles.

**MLW’s Slaughterhouse event streams Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET from Philadelphia on FITE+ with Minoru Suzuki vs. Jacob Fatu, Alex Kane vs. Tom Lawlor for the MLW World Heavyweight title (Lawlor is replacing Davey Boy Smith Jr.), Rickey Shane Page vs. 1 Called Manders in a Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal Match for the National title, Rocky Romero vs. AKIRA for the CMLL Welterweight & MLW Middleweight titles, The Calling vs. Second Gear Crew in a Chamber of Horrors Match, and Delmi Exo vs. The Halloween Phantom for the Women’s Featherweight title. They are also taping upcoming episodes of Fusion at the 2300 Arena on Saturday night.

**GCW streams Saturday at 11 p.m. ET on FITE+ with Blood on the Hills 2 featuring Paul London challenging Blake Christian for the GCW title Kevin Ku & Dominic Garrini vs. Los Macizos, Arez & Gringo Loco vs. Rey Horus & Aramis, Jimmy Lloyd vs. Steph De Lander, Joey Janela vs. Santana Jackson, and Jack Cartwheel vs. Tony Deppen.

**John Cosper has shared that his next book will be covering the life of June Byers. The Great and Inimitable June Byers will be released later this year with the foreword written by NWA star Kamille (who is playing the role of Byers in the upcoming biopic on Mildred Burke). Cosper has written numerous books on professional wrestling subjects including Chris Candido, Tracy Smothers, Wahoo McDaniel, and the history of Louisville wrestling.

**The two-of-three falls match between Frankie Kazarian and Eddie Edwards from this week’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling was a great match and the climax of months of feuding. They split the first two falls with Edwards pinning Kazarian after the Boston Knee Party and Kazarian submitting Edwards with the chicken wing. The third fall was “Last Man Standing” and while it didn’t have the same stunt as Seth Rollins and Shinsuke Nakamura it was very dramatic but hurt by fewer fans in the building. They worked a very hard match with Kazarian bleeding from the chest and losing a lot of blood. Alisha got involved with a kendo stick and the big spot was Kazarian catching her and driving Alisha through a table on the floor, which looked nuts. The finale saw Kazarian hit Fade to Black off the apron putting Edwards and himself through a table on the floor and Kazarian staggered to his feet before collapsing to win. It was definitely worth checking out and took up a significant portion of the program.

**This episode also featured the IMPACT debut of Oleg Prudius (the former Vladimir Kozlov) as the muscle for Dirty Dango and helped him win the five-way match to allow Dango to enter the Call Your Shot Gauntlet Match in the last spot at Bound for Glory.

**Next week’s episode of IMPACT before Bound for Glory is the final episode from the Memphis tapings with Trinity & Mickie James vs. Gisele Shaw & Savannah Evans, Rhino & PCO vs. Moose & Brian Myers, Kenny King vs. Heath, Speedball Mike Bailey vs. Samuray del Sol, and a No DQ Match between Crazzy Steve and Black Taurus.


**The breakup between USADA and UFC has become a war of words between the two entities that still need to work together until the end of 2023. After USADA’s public statement on Wednesday announcing the end of their relationship and Conor McGregor’s return to the testing pool, executives Hunter Campbell and Jeff Novitsky held a press conference and spent 90 minutes outlining their problems with USADA. They blasted the agency for its “false narrative” in its statement and said at no point did they ever tell USADA that McGregor would be exempt from the six-month testing period and that USADA used McGregor as a way to push its narrative by including him in the statement with the possibility of legal recourse. Campbell said they had been working on a new plan for the past year that USADA was unaware of until this past Monday when they informed Travis Tygart of USADA of their plans to not extend the deal after its expiration. Campbell characterized Tygart as becoming “unhinged” on the phone call and painted the picture that the UFC was a large source of its revenue and Tygart will have to explain the loss of revenue to the agency.

After demanding a retraction regarding McGregor, Tygart told ESPN that they stood by their statement.

USADA’s position likely hinges on Dana White’s comment in July when asked about the testing period protocol McGregor would need to undergo and responding, “Who cares what USADA says?” This was when McGregor was heavily rumored for a fight this year and not only filmed TUF, but the entire series has come and gone where he was supposed to fight Michael Chandler. McGregor did suffer a brutal leg injury in the UFC 264 loss to Dustin Poirier in July 2021 and the argument appears to be that his leg was so compromised that he needed additional medication and drugs. There is certainly an argument that an athlete should be provided the best available therapeutic care that overrides drug testing policies for a set period rather than compromise recovery. This very point was brought up in the press conference as something they are open to researching without unilaterally allowing fighters to do anything under the sun with the defense of injury rehab as it’s a slippery slope. That said, McGregor has filmed a movie in this time, did TUF, is traveling around the world and it’s been well over two years since the injury and only re-entered the pool this past Sunday. McGregor has yet to answer why he didn’t enter the pool earlier this year when filming TUF.

People can argue the merits of USADA and at its core, a third-party drug testing program with a supreme budget compared to state commissions is a better route. Over time, there were many issues with USADA that can be debated from both sides when it comes to evolving science and changing the parameters. One issue is that the reason this program is so intense and widespread is that fighters have zero say in how they are tested, how frequently, their whereabouts being monitored, and an unbearable financial onus on them if they want to take their results to arbitration or risk losing months or years of their careers. Tom Lawlor essentially had two years of his career wiped out over a positive test that would not even be subject to sanction under the new guidelines and you can sympathize with his plight as someone that prided himself on being a clean athlete.

Transparency was a big problem over the last few years where protocols changed without public awareness, USADA was mum regarding fighters’ status in the testing pool, and Conor McGregor’s retirement and removal from the pool was kept under wraps until it was noticed he was not being tested, and it became hard to rationalize a drug testing agency being wholly independent when they worked for the UFC and were being paid millions of dollars annually.

UFC will transition to Drug Sport International and the notion that the promotion would abandon drug testing or revert to relying on state commissions for testing was immediately dismissed by Campbell and Novitsky. They blamed USADA for 24 hours of confusion among fighters and managers and that’s understandable as every joke and meme was being disseminated on Thursday about the Wild West days returning.

The new look drug testing program will need to be assessed after it has been put into use and we see the results. Campbell indicated a lot more openness towards advancements in science such as stem cell treatment, analyzing intent on behalf of the fighter if they fail a test (a tricky proposition when taking the fighter’s word when he’s facing a major sanction and trying to preserve their means to make a living), and better understanding of the sport so as not to administer testing when a fighter is deep in the weight cutting process or waking him up at 6 a.m. on the day of a fight.

Former FBI agent George Piro will be heading up the new program as its third-party administrator and comes with a decorated resume. They will also use the SMRTL (Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory) lab out of Salt Lake City under Dr. Daniel Eichner, who will test the samples and report the findings to Piro.

**The circus comes to Manchester, England on Saturday with Misfits Boxing presenting The Prime Card on DAZN pay-per-view. The two attractions see Logan Paul taking on Dillon Danis and KSI against Tommy Fury (the half-brother of Tyson Fury). Paul, who is 0-1 as a pro boxer, is a -650 favorite as Danis has never competed in boxing. Danis has appealed to the lowest common denominator of fight promotion by shaming Paul’s fiancé online with photos and rather than approach the line, has sprinted past it and might get sued by Paul and his fiancé. It’s the latest spectacle that will generate an audience and is going for $54.99 USD on DAZN. It’s been interesting that WWE has not promoted this in any way, shape, or form despite Paul being one of their featured talents. Paul and Danis had a ridiculous press conference on Thursday with Paul accusing Danis of being a “predator” over the photos he has secured of his fiancé and the punchline was bringing out former “To Catch a Predator” host Chris Hansen to confront him and plug his new network. The two had to be separated on the stage but in the melee, Danis whipped the microphone and cut Paul on his cheek.

**Israel Adesanya was interviewed by The Rock (the name of the outlet and not Dwayne Johnson) and noted that he is “not going to fight for a long time” but is not retiring. He mentioned having four fights in the past fourteen months has taken a toll on his body and is going to take his time to heal. He fought three times in 2022 including being stopped by long-time rival Alex Pereira at UFC 281 and came back this past April to knockout Pereira and regain the middleweight title. Adesanya lost the title to Sean Strickland by unanimous decision in September at UFC 293.

**The UFC Fight Night card at the Apex on Saturday is headlined by a featherweight fight between Sodiq Yusuff and Edson Barboza with Yusuff’s first fight in a year. Yusuff is currently ranked #11 while Barboza is #13 with Barboza 3-3 since cutting down to 145 pounds three years ago. The entire card is streaming on ESPN+ beginning at 4 p.m. ET with the prelims.

MAIN CARD (7 p.m. ET on ESPN+, TSN 4 in Canada)

*Edson Barboza (23-11) vs. Sodiq Yusuff (13-2) – Yusuff is 6-1 in the UFC with a loss to Arnold Allen but coming off a pair of wins against Alex Caceres and Don Shainis but Barboza would be his biggest win to date. Neither many has been super active with Barboza only managing two fights in the last 26 months and coming off a KO win against Billy Quarantillo in April. This will be Barboza’s 29th fight in the UFC going back to 2010.
*Jennifer Maia (21-9-1) vs. Viviane Araújo (11-5) – Since challenging for the title unsuccessfully at flyweight, Maia has gone 3-2 and coming off two wins. Araujo, 36, has lost three of her last four and coming off decision losses to current champion Alexa Grasson and Amanda Ribas.
*Adrian Yanez (16-4) vs. Jonathan Martinez (17-4) – This could be a really good fight among rising featherweights. Yanez is 5-1 in the UFC and coming off a loss to Rob Font in April. Martinez has won four in a row including a TKO over Cub Swanson in his last outing. He is 8-3 in the UFC and a fight to keep your eye on.
*Michel Pereira (28-11, 2 NC) vs. Andre Petroski (10-1) – Pereira missed weight for his welterweight fight against Stephen Thompson in July which led to the issues over Thompson wanting to be paid his show money and not taking a fight with such a weight discrepancy. This fight is taking place at middleweight with Petroski serving as a replacement for Marc-André Barriault. Pereira won his last five fights competing at 170 pounds. Petroski is 5-0 since joining the UFC in 2021 and just beat Gerald Meerschaert by a split decision on August 19.
*Cameron Saaiman (9-0) vs. Christian Rodriguez (12-2) – Saaiman is 22 years old and 3-0 since winning on the Contender Series and this will be his third fight this year. Rodriguez is coming off two wins including handing Raul Rosas Jr. the first loss of his career in April at UFC 287. Rodriguez will give up 25% of his purse after missing weight by four pounds but the fight is still on.

*Darren Elkins (25-11) vs. T.J. Brown (17-10) – This is Elkins’ 28th fight in the UFC and last fought in December dropping a decision to Jonathan Pearce and has been through a lot of wars. Brown was submitted by Bill Algeo in April and has a 3-4 record in the promotion.
*Tainara Lisboa (6-2) vs. Ravena Oliveira (7-1-1) – Lisboa beat Jessica Rose-Clark in her UFC debut in May by submission while Oliveira is making her promotional debut.
*Terrance McKinney (14-6) vs. Brendan Marotte (8-1) – McKinney joined the UFC in Feb. 2022, and this will be his seventh fight with the promotion and fourth fight this year.
*Melissa Dixon (5-0) vs. Irina Alekseeva (5-1) – Alekseeva beat Stephanie Egger with a kneebar this past April in her UFC debut and Dixon is making her debut after making her debut just over two years ago.
*Chris Gutiérrez (19-4-2) vs. Alateng Heili (16-8-2)
– Gutierrez entered his last fight on an eight-fight unbeaten streak before losing by decision to Pedro Munhoz and prior to that, knocked out Frankie Edgar. Heili is 4-1-1 and coming off two victories.
*Emily Ducote (12-8) vs. Ashley Yoder (8-8) – Ducote came over from Invicta and beat Jessica Penne but then lost to Angela Hill and Lupita Godinez. Yoder’s back is against the wall with four losses in her last five fights but has not fought since July 2021.

**The main card fight between bantamweights Edgar Chairez and Daniel Lacerda has been scrapped due to a non-weight-related medical issue, according to MMA Junkie.

**Bellator fighter Linton Vassell revealed that he was forced to withdraw from his Bellator 300 fight with Ryan Bader due to COVID-19. Vassell shared on Instagram that he tested positive for the virus nine days before the fight and was bedridden for four days and has not made a full recovery yet.

I know I been quite, but I wanted to let everyone know that I ended up catching Covid on Thursday, the week before the fight, i was bed bound for 4 straight days. I was still sick the day i actually pulled out, and still not fully recovered. It was a hard choice to make knowing I’ve trained so hard and waited so long for this moment to come, but I had to be smart and think of my health, I wouldn’t have be 100% come fight night, and even today I’m still finding it hard to do light training without getting out of breath. First things first I will get better, then we can make a new plan. I will be back real soon people I promise that, this is just a minor bump in the road. The journey still continues.

**The TKO dropped by nearly 3% on Friday and closed at $77.63.

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About John Pollock 5572 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.