URCC champ Mark Striegl faces 4th round with GAB commission

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Mark Striegl
Mark Striegl, URCC featherweight champion. Photo by Jonel Cresfo.

URCC Global: Colossal took place on 29 September, but new featherweight champion Mark Striegl has been caught in a battle long after the former champ Lee Do-Gyeom tapped to a standing guillotine.

Striegl (18-2) faced off with Lee (5-2) for the latter’s second title defense and it was clear that the challenger had a size and experience advantage. While both men looked in top shape at the weigh ins, Striegl’s amazing physique was on display, and it’s something he’s well-known for: his good looks and abs have won him a notable share of the female audience and a lot of modeling contracts.

Lee’s camp decided to add more fire to their already heated bravado with accusations of steroid use before the fight took place, specifically during the pre-fight press conference. Lee said their camp’s observance of Striegl at a prior weigh in prompted them to come forward with their suspicions.

The URCC championship fight was over in 2 minutes and 44 seconds of the first round.

Striegl took Lee down and from side control looked for the best way to finish. Striegl did that by appearing to allow his opponent to stand while still in a guillotine – a deadly mistake for Lee. Against the cage, the choke put Lee out cold. Referee Joey Lepiten jumped in to stop the action, and once Striegl released, Lee crumpled to the canvas, his head bouncing loosely off it.

The fight was over, but the war was just beginning.

From a cageside video, it was unclear what was the provocation, but Lee’s cornerman from Wang Ho MMA rushed into the cage and over to Striegl’s corner, visibly agitated, instead of tending to his own fighter. He was held back and eventually Lee rose for the results announcement and shook Striegl’s hand.

Controversy continued when the Philippines combat sports regulatory commission, the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), announced the official results on Facebook, noting that Striegl missed the post-bout drug test:

GAB licenses all MMA industry participants and fighters must present laboratory tests from an accredited lab in order to get this license. In the Rules and Regulations Governing Mixed Martial Arts, the testing includes negative Hepatitis B, negative HIV, cannabis and amphetamines.

Rules and Regulations states that a fighter must submit to a urinalysis or chemical test before or after a bout if the GAB Board directs it. At URCC Global: Colossal, GAB stated that urine samples for championship fighters were to be submitted after the bouts at the event and according to GAB the eight fighters were aware and agreed.

ASIA MMA made enquiry to GAB as to what substances would be tested for in the post-fight urinalysis.

A representative from the GAB Legal Division responded:

“This is the standard drug screening conducted by GAB for all professional licensees prior to issuance of license and in the cases provided in the rules. In the case of MMA, such screening is required in championship fights. It is also conducted when the Board, through the Medical Section, deems it proper to screen the contestants for drugs. The test screens for tetrahydrocannabidinol (THC) and metamphatamine hydroclodride for health and safety reasons.”

According to this statement, the presence of performance enhancing substances is not to be included.

URCC official Ron Catunao’s statement in a reply on Facebook noted that Striegl hadn’t submitted for the testing up to two days following the fight:

“The problem is… mandatory test is right after the fight… which did not happen… He was given a chance today, Monday still no appearance… That is why we are taking necessarry actions on this… But for now… Please let us not speculate… (sic)”

A medical study on the urinary elimination of tetrahydrocannabidinol published in the USA’s National Institute of Health library concludes that minimal cannabis users (defined in the paper) would test negative in two to eight days following abstinence. Regular cannabis users would still test positive a minimum of two weeks following abstinence.

A medical paper on metamphatamine hydroclodride urinary elimination on the same website states that “a single episode of abuse can result in up to five days of positive urine drug screens”.

GAB replied the following on a Facebook comment:

“GAB is looking deeper into the matter and shall come up with its decision shortly. Depending on the result of the investigation, sanction ranging from suspension to termination, and/or stripping of title may be imposed if the circumstances so warrant.”

Both Lee’s representative and Striegl went to the GAB office on Tuesday 2 October. Lee inferred that GAB was being unfair in its treatment towards himself in that his representative waited throughout the morning to speak with someone, but Striegl was issued into the office upon arrival.

Dated the same day, GAB opened a Moto Proprio Complaint (official act taken without a formal request from another party) regarding Striegl’s failure to present himself to post-bout drug testing.

GAB Mark Striegl
GAB’s odrer to Mark Striegl

Striegl is ordered to submit his sworn answer to reports which were attached. ASIA MMA contacted GAB for clarification on what is meant by “reports”.

A representative from the GAB Legal Division responded:

“The “reports” refer to the internal report submitted by the Boxing Division and Medical Section formally informing the Board of the failure of Mark Striegl to submit to the drug screening, as also mentioned in the Order dated October 3, 2018 itself.”

Note, “3, October” is likely a misstatement as the letter is dated 2 October.

Striegl is required to explain why he should not be suspended, have his license revoked, or his title stripped. The letter also says that failure of GAB licensees to submit the required answer is “ground for them to be blacklisted.”

GAB clarified to ASIA MMA:

“A blacklisted licensee is not allowed to transact with GAB relative to the exercise of his license. Hence, he cannot apply for or be included in any GAB-sanctioned fight, nor can he renew his license, until the blacklist order has been lifted. To date, no such blacklist order has been issued against Mark Striegl.”

ASIA MMA contacted Striegl for his comments on all issues. Striegl declined to comment on the record and stated that he will wait for the official statement from GAB, respond to their requests accordingly, and release his own statement publicly. Therefore, his reason for his failed appearance can’t be established at this time.

URCC founder Aguilar made his statement public via Facebook:

“The URCC GLOBAL is sanctioned and governed by the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) – they have supported me since day 1 and they make sure that all our fighters are safe from harm. I will not speculate as to what has transpired before or after the fight. We will just await the decision of GAB and fully support it.”

In what could be confidence that this matter could result with no actions taken against Striegl, Aguilar lined up a rematch between the new champ and Lee:

“Much respect to both fighters and to the just and fair decision of GAB, we will make sure that this issue is put to rest once and for all, and that it will be settled in the URCC GLOBAL CAGE for a REMATCH!”

As Striegl has 10 days to reply, it can’t be predicted when GAB will make its final decision on the matter. ASIA MMA will follow up on this report when the issue has been resolved.

While it is unfortunate that Striegl’s celebration of his victory is dampened because of his post-bout action, it is important to observe the legal process behind this MMA event and how a national regulatory commission handles cases such as this in the Philippines.

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