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The sweeping changes instituted by the Nevada Athletic Commission during a Friday meeting will forever alter the way it punishes users of performance-enhancing drugs.

It has been a long time coming. For years, the Nevada commission (and many others around the world) turned a deaf ear to the PED problem in combat sports. The punishments were barely a deterrent. Cheaters knew that they could cheat and, if caught, receive what amounted to less than a year on the sidelines.

That's no longer the case. On Friday (and in a very short period of time), the commission discussed and voted on new rules that will drop the proverbial hammer on offenders who use steroids, sedatives, marijuana and more.

A sampling of the new rules that will go into effect on September 1, as noted by MMA Fighting's Shaun Al-Shatti:

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It’s tough to imagine a main event fight that more completely embodies the current state of the UFC than Frankie Edgar vs. Urijah Faber.

When those two legends of the lighter weight classes collide on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 66, it’ll be from a place called Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, Philippines. The 12-fight menu of events features mostly people you’ve never heard of before, and the main-card broadcast on Fox Sports 1 will kick off at 10 a.m. ET.

A few years ago—in 2011, maybe even 2013—Faber vs. Edgar might’ve been considered an honest-to-goodness superfight. Now, they’re both likely on the downslope of once-great careers after being driven out of their natural weight classes by champions they just couldn’t beat.

We’re still going to watch this fight. It’s still going to be good, but it doesn’t seem like the sort of appointment viewing it might’ve been a short time ago.

USA Today

If Sam Alvey landed in hot water last weekend at UFC Fight Night 65, at least it was in the most Sam Alvey way possible.

The happy-go-lucky middleweight starched Dan Kelly in just 49 seconds during an undercard bout on Saturday, before getting on the mic to challenge happy-go-lucky middleweight Elias Theodorou to—wait for it—a hair vs. hair match.

"I would love a chance to knock his hair plugs out…,” Alvey said later, sharing some rare cross words with Submission Radio. “I don't think he's going to take me up on it because I don't think he thinks he's going to win, but [if] he beats me, I shave my head, and I hope that when I beat him he shaves his head. It's a real bet. Take it."

The knockout of Kelly amounted to a kind of statement win for Alvey—not quite definitive proof he belongs here, but at least enough to convince us to take notice of this offbeat knockout artist from Waterford, Wisconsin. The Theodorou call-out was also pitch perfect, proving that, aside from having lightning in his fists, Alvey might be a decent matchmaker too.

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Ronda Rousey, the Ultimate Fighting Championship's biggest star, is once again leading headlines. And rightly so.

This time, it's twofold. She's on the cover of Sports Illustrated, which is still a big thing. Even as the digital revolution marches ever onward, being featured in the pages of Sports Illustrated represents a kind of cache that a million features on MMA-specific websites just cannot bring.

And the cover? It is obviously a big deal, because MMA has only been featured on the cover twice in the history of the magazine. The first time around, it was Roger Huerta in the role of poster boy, but he was mostly used as a stand-in for the promotion itself. That story was about the UFC and its rise to glory.

This story is about Rousey.

The magazine references Rousey as the most dominant athlete in the world. It's a familiar refrain and feels a whole lot like the promotional bluster the UFC churns out when it's time for Rousey to take center stage on one of its pay-per-view events.

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Here’s Stipe Miocic’s Australia experience in a nutshell.

Miocic whipped Mark Hunt about as badly as anybody ever has for 23 minutes on Saturday night, forcing a fifth-round TKO stoppage in the main event of UFC Fight Night 65. Along with the victory, he’ll likely capture something close to No. 1 contender status in the perennially unstable UFC heavyweight division.

Then Miocic woke up at 5 a.m. to watch his beloved Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA playoffs and reveled in Lebron James’ game-winning shot. Oh, he also spent some time searching social media for the phrase “Stipe sucks” (and at least one NSFW variation thereof), just to keep tabs on the haters:

All in all, it was a pretty full weekend for a guy who is rapidly emerging not only as one of the UFC heavyweight division’s best fighters, but one of its most solid dudes.

USA Today

There's no gentle way to put it: The UFC's heavyweight division is old.

Like, really old. 

The average age of the current Top Five heavyweights, per the latest set of UFC rankings—keeping in mind that this also includes Mark Hunt (41), who will no doubt drop out of the Top Five when the latest set of rankings are released this week—is 34 years old. 

The UFC's current Top 10 is a list of aging fighters, with zero young prospects currently making their way up the rankings. Dutch skyscraper Stefan Struve is just 27 years old, but he's far beyond what you'd call a prospect. Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez is still quite young at 32, but his injury-riddled body has kept him on the sideline for many of his prime years. 

Still, the fighters in the heavyweight division will always intrigue people because they're heavyweights. They're big, powerful dudes with knockout power across the board, and people love that sort of thing.

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The MMA world got its first real look this week at how a new, exclusive outfitting deal between Reebok and the UFC might affect the sport’s athletes.

Thus far, it has been met with fairly unprecedented internal backlash. The vast majority of fighters to comment publicly about the fledgling arrangement—on social media and elsewhere—are not impressed and not amused, per MMAJunkie.com.

Fighters contend the tiered payout system outlined to them via email on Wednesday will amount to huge cuts in their pay. With roughly two months left before the deal takes effect, there is still a lot we don’t know, but if the first wave of public reaction is any indication of what’s going on behind the scenes, it’s nothing short of a talent relations disaster for the world’s largest MMA organization.

For the specifics of the deal and more on the initial response to it, you can read fellow B/R lead writer Jeremy Botter’s take. Or just look at this picture posted by UFC lightweight Myles Jury, which seems to succinctly capture the mood:

via RFA

Co-promotion works. 

For MMA fans, that might feel like a bold statement. After all, for years the UFC has eschewed it, preferring instead to establish themselves as the dominant player in the market and force fighters to come to them.  You'll see the UFC's best fighting the best from other organizations about the time you see pigs fly.

But, in boxing, co-promotion has a storied history, including a little bout you may have heard of—Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao. That was a fight that brought together rival fighters, rival networks (HBO and Showtime) and rival promoters (Bob Arum and Al Haymon). 

If those long-time deadly enemies can do it, anyone can—something Legacy FC and Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) intend to prove Friday night on AXS TV, no matter the cost. The two promotions, arguably the top farm systems for future UFC stars, will duke it out in a five-fight battle to establish supremacy on the regional scene.

"We have been working behind the scenes for years to negotiate a promotion versus promotion superfight," AXS Fights CEO Andrew Simon said. "...After discussions with some of the top external promotions, it became clear that they weren’t interested in making it happen. Through the years, we have come close a couple times to two AXS TV promotions setting up an event, and then it would fall apart. It took two quality promotions with great ownership like RFA  and Legacy to put it together."

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The most striking thing about the hysteria surrounding Floyd Mayweather’s fight against Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night was the hunger it revealed.

People—millions of them, it seems—were starving for some boxing.

There was a whole world out there primed for the sweet science to make a comeback, or at the very least a world craving the glitz and guttural thrill of a single big-ticket fight night. By the time Mayweather accepted Pacquiao’s best shots and spent the rest of their time together scripting another of his patented unanimous decision wins, one thing was clear:

Maybe this didn’t turn out to be a "super" fight—but boxing can still turn out a superfight.

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When all is said and done, Saturday night's boxing megafight between Floyd Mayeather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao will go down as not just the richest combat sports event in history, but one of the most lucrative sporting events to ever take place.

The numbers are mind-boggling. The $100 million check Mayweather showed to ESPN and others after the conclusion of the fight was just the start of the seemingly endless amounts of cash he'll eventually rake in from the fight.

Pay-per-view numbers are not currently available, but cable systems were so overwhelmed by people attempting to order the event that the main event was briefly delayed, which likely indicates an off-the-chart number that will smash the previous record held by Mayweather's fight against Oscar de la Hoya.

My personal prediction was that the fight would pull in more than 4 million buys, and I feel comfortable with that number. I'd be surprised if it does any less.