Former UFC heavyweight title challenger Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva has signed on to join the hardcore and rapidly growing Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships (BKFC) roster.
Announcing the major signing BKFC President David Feldman said “He has fought and beat some of the best in the world. We have some intriguing matchups that we are talking about with him now. I really expect great fights from Antonio.”
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A professional MMA competitor since 2005, the Brazilian “Bigfoot” has competed for the UFC, Strikeforce, EliteXC, Cage Rage, Fight Nights Global, World Victory Road, K-1 HERO’S, and Cage Warriors. He is the former EliteXC Heavyweight Champion, Cage Rage World Heavyweight Champion, and Cage Warriors Super Heavyweight Champion.
The 6-foot-4 Silva was knocked out in the second round by former Bellator champion Vitaly Minakov his last MMA fight in Russia in 2017, and hasn’t been seen inside the cage since. While no opponent is yet to be named for “Biogfoot” a match against BKFC’s current new heavyweight champion Chase Sherman would appear most likely.
Silve has enjoyed a 32 fight MMA career for 19 wins, 12 losses and 1 no contest. The now 39 year old has career wins racked up against formidble opponents such as Alistair Overeem, Fedor Emelianenko, and Andrei Arlovski.
Silva defeated Fedor Emelianenko in 2011 in the opening round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, before losing the next fight to Daniel Cormier. Coincidentally Cormier will defend his UFC heavyweight title this weekend at UFC241 against Stipe Miocic.
Of concern for “Bigfoot” Silva, he has now lost his past five fights, with the big fella being knocked out in four of them. They are worrying stats for a fighter looking to make his Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships debut where his chin is sure to be tested.
Day Two of the Hawaiian Pro, which initiated the 2018 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing on November 12, saw dramatic performances from an international array of athletes including Dusty Payne (HAW), who made his professional comeback two weeks ago at the HIC Pro, and Caio Ibelli (BRA), who’s work today marked his return to competition after suffering a broken foot in April.
The Hawaiian Pro is a World Surf League (WSL) Men’s Qualifying Series (QS) 10,000 event, which will help determine the 2019 Championship Tour (CT) talent lineup along with the 36th Annual Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (VTCS) champion.
Payne had a stellar heat today at Haleiwa Ali‘i Beach Park despite a near-death surfing accident at Pipeline in January of this year. His impressive Quarter final finish at the HIC Pro – a WSL Men’s QS 3,000 – provided a boost of confidence to tackle formidable opponents today at the Hawaiian Pro and saw him earn first place advancement into Round 3.
“I’m really just grateful to be here, get to see everybody around and high five everybody,” Payne said.
“I’m grateful for every day I wake up. Just to be able to compete is a blessing, I’m so grateful the WSL gave me the opportunity to do this. I’m just feeling happy to be here.”
Payne took off on one of the biggest waves of Heat 14 and surfed with patience and poise, nailing three major manoeuvres including a stylish tail slide at the end for a 6.83. The Maui-bred athlete is a known standout at this venue and won the Hawaiian Pro in 2014, followed by a runner-up finish at the 2014 Vans World Cup, which catapulted him up the rankings to earn a place on the 2015 CT. The ultimate comeback story, Payne’s career has been a roller coaster of injury and victory.
“I feel really good overall, the healthiest I’ve been in a while,” Payne said.
“I’m taking it day by day. I’m still improving from the injury from the start of the year, getting better and re-learning how to use my new body.
“There was a bit of an adjustment throughout the year, getting comfortable with a few things. I’m still working things out and that’s exciting I can still improve and get better.”
In Heat 6, Ibelli made a competitive revival after a foot injury at Australia’s Margaret River sidelined him for seven out of 10 CT events this season. He looked in-form today despite months of rehabilitation and surfed successfully out of Round 2 with a 6.87 and 6.67.
“I’m feeling great, it’s been a long time,” said Ibelli.
“On that time off I had to do surgery, I got plenty therapy. I’m so stoked to be back and put the jersey on. I was having an emotional moment right before my heat, kind of getting ready. I didn’t really know how to feel.”
Ibelli went against Jacob Willcox (AUS), who also advanced, Joshua Moniz (HAW) and Kei Kobayashi (USA) with confidence flaring as he tallied the most waves ridden in the heat.
“Coming to Hawaii, riding bigger boards, and just surfing against all these guys who have been practicing and competing all year, I just didn’t know what was going to happen,” Ibelli continued. “So I prepared myself for this moment. I’m in shape and feeling good. I’m really happy to be here so I think that translates in my surfing. Maybe not on the level I was before, but I’m so happy things are working out for me.”
The highest single wave score of the day (and event thus far) went to Ricardo Christie (NZL) for a well-surfed set wave in Heat 7 that judges awarded an 8.93. Christie checked off speed, power and flow with a combination of maneuvers, opening the ride with a wrapping first turn and completing it with an exclamation point on the closeout section of the wave.
“(The wave) just kind of opened up and I could do like three turns,” said Christie post-heat. “When I finished I was stoked because it was a solid start… I’m just trying to get the best waves I can find so I can have some fun. That’s all I was thinking.”
CT hopeful Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) moved one round closer to requalification after posting one of the highest two-wave totals of the event, a 16.34 out of a possible 20, in Heat 11. His final ride of the 30-minute exchange was an excellent 8.67 for a two-turn combination that shot him into first advancing position ahead of recent HIC Pro winner Kiron Jabour (HAW).
“Every wave you catch you have to also start thinking about the end bowl because usually out here you get a big first turn and the end bowl you hit it, do a down carve,” said Fioravanti. “My first wave I did an alright first turn and I hit the second section and it just shot me forward and I was straight-legged and face planted. Somehow I got a 4th priority pretty good wave and got it for the heat win.”
The Italian athlete is within close range of rejoining the world’s elite surfers in 2019 and is counting on his performances in Hawaii to solidify this goal. No. 11 on the QS, Fioravanti earned a win at the Martinique Surf Pro, a Men’s QS 3,000 in the Caribbean, and back-to-back fifth place results at the Pantin Classic Galicia Pro (QS 3,000) and the EDP Billabong Pro Ericeira (QS 10,000) earlier this year.
“This year is going to be so exciting,” Fioravanti continued. “At one point I was 16th which is already enough to qualify. Last year I was a long shot away from qualifying. First victory in that first heat and I’m going to give it a good go.”
The opening heat of the day saw another former CT athlete Jack Freestone (AUS) breeze past competitors after nailing an excellent 8.83, the second highest single wave score of the day, for a powerful opening turn and a committed layback snap in the critical section of the wave. Currently ranked No. 16 on the QS, Freestone is also close to requalifying after spending 2018 grinding on the QS. He currently balances competition with family time in Hawaii with wife, Alana Blanchard, and their baby boy, Banx.
“I’ve been spending a lot of time on Kauai which has been really nice,” said Freestone. “Just been getting really excited for the Triple Crown the last month or so and looking forward to the rest of the events. It feels like familiar territory because I feel like I live my life on this (QS) bubble, so I’m excited to know what happens.”
A stacked Heat 3 ensued in overhead surf with North Shore athletes Finn McGill (HAW) and Mason Ho (HAW) taking first and second respectively for a bid into Round 3. A smoothly confident surfer, Ho fired off with a 6.17 after pulling into the morning’s first barrel section, with McGill hot on his heels posting his own 6.00 on the scoreboard. McGill followed up with an excellent 8.00 after powering out a dynamic opening turn and nailing the closing maneuver. With a stable lead over Ho and remaining competitors Keanu Asing (HAW) and Lucca Mesinas Novaro (PER), McGill advanced out of his first QS 10,000 Round 2 of the year.
“I paddled out kind of nervous, just wanted to surf my best,” said McGill. “I felt comfortable because I was at home and it’s really good out, it ups your surfing. Honestly, it’s not who’s in your heat, it’s kind of you versus Haleiwa. It’s a tricky wave and you just have to find the wave and power through it.”
Meanwhile, Ho will surf again once competition resumes and go against 2013 Hawaiian Pro winner Michel Bourez (PYF), No. 8 on the QS Jorgann Couzinet (FRA), and competitive warrior Lucas Silveira (BRA).
The VTCS story is not complete without the legacy of the Ho family. Mason’s father, Michael Ho, won the inaugural series in 1983 and again in 1985, while his uncle, Derek Ho, also earned the VTCS Champion title in 1984, 1986 and 1990. Mason himself has earned a win at the HIC Pro – the official local qualifying event for the VTCS – twice (2013 and 2016) and plays spoiler every year as he battles the world’s best to earn another series title for his family and Hawaii.
Each event of the 2018 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing will run on the four best days of surf within the event’s holding window.
Hawaiian Pro Results – Day 2
Athletes listed in 1st through 4th
Round 2 (1st and 2nd advance, 3rd = 65th place, 4th = 81st place)
H1: Jack Freestone (AUS), Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR), Jeronimo Vargas (BRA), Cam Richards (USA)
H2: Mateus Herdy (BRA), Liam O’Brien (AUS), Matt Banting (AUS), Thiago Camarao (BRA)
H3: Finn McGill (HAW), Mason Ho (HAW), Keanu Asing (HAW), Lucca Mesinas Novaro (PER)
H4: Lucas Silveira (BRA), Bino Lopes (BRA), Mihimana Braye (PYF), Matthew McGillivray (ZAF)
H5: Benji Brand (HAW), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Weslley Dantas (BRA), Elijah Gates (HAW)
H6: Caio Ibelli (BRA), Jacob Willcox (AUS), Joshua Moniz (HAW), Kei Kobayashi (USA)
H7: Ricardo Christie (NZL), Santiago Muniz (ARG), Artiz Aranburu (ESP), Maxime Huscenot (FRA)
H8: Barron Mamiya (HAW), Adin Masencamp (ZAF), Vasco Ribeiro (PRT), Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI)
H9: Jake Marshall (USA), Victor Bernardo (BRA), Alonso Correa (PER), Oney Anwar (IDN)
H10: David Van Zyl (ZAF), Evan Geiselman (USA), Tanner Gudauskas (USA), Joshua Burke (BRB)
H11: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), Kiron Jabour (HAW), Jackson Baker (AUS), Carlos Munoz (CRI)
H12: Alex Ribeiro (BRA), Torrey Meister (HAW), Charles Martin (FRA), Skip McCullough (USA)
H13: Jack Robinson (AUS), Dion Atkinson (AUS), Nat Young (USA), Shayden Pacarro (HAW)
H14: Dusty Payne (HAW), O’Neill Massin (PYF), Makai McNamara (HAW), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
H15: Reef Heazlewood (AUS), Cooper Chapman (AUS), Noa Mizuno (HAW), Hiroto Ohhara (JPN)
H16: Soli Bailey (AUS), Stu Kennedy (AUS), Ian Crane (USA), Tereva David (PYF)
WHILE the world has one eye on the Christmas and New Year’s break, we’re getting stuck into the final changes to the gambling industry for the year.
Our weekly column covers legislation changes all around the world, which may impact you as a gambler. We take a look at new amendments, gambling regulator announcements and compile the information into a neat column accessible on any device.
This week, the UK’s gambling regulator has revealed more children are gambling due to skin betting, social media and other computer games. Meanwhile, the Norwegian gambling regulator has ordered local banks to block transactions from two payment providers. And Brazil’s gambling bill is facing more delays. Find out more below.
Australian gambling giants to merge by Christmas
The Tabcorp and Tatts $11.3 billion merger is expected to be completed by December 22, after Tatts shareholders voted for the deal. At the meeting on Tuesday, 99 percent of Tatts shareholders voted for the Tabcorp tie-up and the following day the Supreme Court approved the deal. The two gambling giants will become one entity, with Tatts CEO Robbie Cooke losing his job just days before Christmas and more redundancies expected to come. Tabcorp also announced it would complete the divestment of its Queensland gaming machine business before the meeting.
The Australian state of Tasmania may become the first to ban poker machines from pubs and clubs after the Labor Party introduced the policy in a bid to win voters for the upcoming election. While a joint committee recommended against banning the machines, Labor said it will phase the pokies out by 2023, if elected in March next year. Labor claims Liberal will not follow suit and has offered a $55 million support package for the venues affected.
New Zealand weighs in on loot box debate
The New Zealand gambling regulator has agreed with the UK Gambling Commission on the status of loot boxes, stating they do not meet the legal definition of gambling. The Gambling Compliance office of its Department of Internal Affairs said that it has been following the international debate, but it does not believe loot boxes constitute as gambling under New Zealand’s Gambling Act 2003. The office also stated that it is not illegal for New Zealanders to gamble online at offshore sites.
American gaming sites could slow down
Internet neutrality rules may be repealed this week as The Federal Communications Commission plans to put it to a vote on Thursday. FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, will push ahead to repeal the rules enforced in 2015. Current laws prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from giving preference to sites or services or blocking them. If the commissioners side with Pai, telecom companies could favour their own content or sites which will pay a premium. It could also cause sites to slow down, including online American gambling websites.
Seven mobsters from organised crime families have been arrested for running illegal gambling operations in Long Island and Brooklyn, as well as drug distribution. The suspects from the Gambino and Bonanno organised crime families ran an illegal casino and conducted unlawful sports betting operations. Two members have also been charged with distributing cocaine, and are facing life in prison.
A former Democratic Pennsylvania lawmaker, Marc Gergely, has been sentenced to house arrest for participating in a multimillion-dollar illegal gambling operation. The state representative used his political influence to convince venue owners they could legally install gaming machines. The Pennsylvania State Police and Attorney General’s Office uncovered the illegal ring, as well as Gergely’s involvement.
UKGC finds more children are gambling
The UK Gambling Commission released new statistics on children gambling, and it appears many minors are being introduced to the activity via video games. While loot boxes have been making headlines, the UKGC views skin betting (where you earn in-game items and wager them for better ones or real money) as the main concern. According to the UKGC report, 45 percent of 11-16-year-olds are aware of skin betting, where players can wager an item via casino-style games and cash out with upgraded items.
The research also found that children are gambling without realising on free-to-play casino games, social media and even computer games. The regulator said that since these types of games do not have the same regulation in place as licensed gambling operators, children may be vulnerable.
The UK regulator has also released plans to make lotteries more transparent to consumers, commencing in April next year. The plans clarify where the proceeds go, including the charity, and what proportion of money raised from lottery tickets is put back into the community.
Ghanian government considering sports lottery
Ghana is looking to gambling to find sources of income for its new National Sports Development Fund. The Ministry of Youth and Sports stakeholders are meeting on Thursday to discuss potential sources of revenue, including a sports lottery. However, a sports lottery known as the National Lottery Authority’s Soccer Cash, launched by the previous government, incurred GH1 million in advertising debt. As a result, the government may consider increasing the taxes Ghanaian sportsbooks pay, including Mybet.
Norway cracks down on offshore gambling
Norway’s gambling regulator has ordered local banks to block transactions to and from two two payment providers. Earlier this year, Lotteritilsynet ordered the banks to ban any gambling transactions by Norwegian online gamblers at offshore gambling sites. It named seven companies, including Trustly, Entercash, Worldpay, Earth Port, Inpay, Stay Cool and Mangas Gaming, as providers which had been breaching the law, ordering them to stop. This week, the regulator has found that Trustly and Entercash have continued to process unauthorised gambling transactions by changing their account numbers. As a result, it has placed a ban on the payment providers.
The country is also looking into ways to crack down on foreign gambling advertising. Several broadcasters airing content in Norway are located in London, and they can legally advertise offshore gambling sites due to their location. The government is currently looking into ways to ban the ads, and it hopes to introduce legislation before Easter next year.
Brazil’s gambling bill delayed again
There has been another delay in the vote to legalise gambling in Brazil. While the Senate was set to vote on the piece of legislation which would legalise online gambling on Wednesday, it was scrapped due to Congress issues. It may be a good thing the bill has been delayed for three weeks (and is unlikely to be addressed until next year) as it needs 14 votes out of the 27-member committee to pass. Local Brazilian media outlets have reported that 12 judges to do not support the bill, giving lawmakers time to get them to change their minds.
Buying lottery tickets goes against religion in Turkey
Turkey’s Milli Piyango lottery is holding its annual draw for the New Year period, featuring a jackpot of TRY 61 million. However, the head of the country’s top religious body, Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), has declared that buying lottery tickets goes against its faith. In a religious decree, the Diyanet said, “all gambling games that are based on one of the sides winning and the other losing are deemed within the context of gambling and are declared haram [forbidden by religion].” However, it added that charities or institutions can still take money from games of chance.
Bermuda amend gambling laws
Bermuda is giving the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, Jamahl Simmons, all the power when it comes to gambling regulation. The government recently approved the Casino Gaming Amendment Act 2017, which gives the Minister the power to tell the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission how to regulate the gaming industry, and he can also replace members where he sees fit. The gambling industry has protested the changes, arguing that the BCGC is no longer independent.
The count-down to Christmas is on, and while lawmakers all around the world are gearing up for the holidays, there’s plenty still happening when it comes to the global gambling industry.
Our weekly column looks at what’s happening in different parts of the world, comparing the various legislative processes for online and offline gambling.
If you think we have missed an important news story, send us an email at [email protected] or leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
There has been a lot happening in Australia this week with bookmakers fighting taxes, and poker machine players receiving new restrictions.
The sports betting case commenced in the US this week, while New Zealand has weighed in on the loot boxes fiasco. Brazil has also managed to delay its online gambling bill again. Find out more below.
Australian bookmakers fight back against taxes
Australian online bookmakers are lobbying the Victorian government to lower the rate of a planned point of consumption tax.
The Aussie state is the latest to consider introducing the POC tax, which the government estimates will earn it $130 million, but bookies are calling for a lower rate than 15 percent. A similar tax has already been introduced in South Australia and will come into effect in Western Australia in 2019.
Poker machine players in Tasmania will no longer be able to drink a beer while pulling the reels after the Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission released its final copy of the Responsible Gambling Mandatory Code of Practice for Tasmania. The report states the commission will change the code to ban alcohol service to poker machine players during daylight hours, as well as cap EFTPOS withdrawal limits to $100, jackpots to $25,000 and cashing cheques at licensed premises.
Ladbrokes Australia lost its appeal to overturn the legal decision the company breached advertising rules. Earlier this year, the online betting site was fined $35,000, plus $50,000 in legal costs, for breaching the New South Wales Betting and Racing Regulation 2012. The betting site published ads in local newspapers and on YouTube, which the court said encouraged punters to bet. The NSW District Court upheld the previous judgement that it breached the advertising standards in place.
There’s plenty more gambling news happening in Australia, which you can check out here.
Sports betting trial commences
This week, the Supreme Court of the United States commenced the New Jersey sports betting case, which aims to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) 1992. While several justices sided with New Jersey, questioning whether the act is unconstitutional, others pointed out that it’s how federal law works. NJ Governor Chris Christie spoke outside of Court on Monday and said the state could get legalised sports betting within two weeks of a favourable decision.
Just days after the trial commenced, the International Centre for Sport Security launched a sports integrity hotline in the US and Canada. The hotline is available to athletes, sports fans, team personnel, and the general public to anonymously report suspicious behaviour. The ICSS hotline will be available 24/7, and analysts will investigate any tips or complaints, sharing information with authorities if necessary.
New Jersey residents could soon be able to play at offshore online casinos due to a new online gambling bill. Senator Raymond Lesniak introduced the bill, which removes the requirement need to have a physical presence in New Jersey. Due to his retirement, the bill only had until January 9 to pass.
UK operators warned about gambling advertising
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is continuing its crackdown on online gambling operators, with Broadway Gaming the latest to face the consequences. The UK online gambling operator has to pay a £100k fine for publishing misleading bonus offers on five different websites. Broadway Gaming received a fine in 2016 for failing to communicate clear terms and conditions, which resulted in the discovery of similar incidents.
Following the fine, Minister for Sport, Tourism & Heritage, Tracey Crouch, warned industry operators to “take a hard look at what you’re producing” when promoting gambling at GambleAware’s annual Harm-Minimisation Conference. Although the government’s triennial review did not result in any new advertising restrictions (lack of evidence supporting it increases problem gambling rates), Crouch said that gambling advertising is “very unpopular” with the general public”, and operators should not “push the boundaries” when it comes to responsible marketing. She also added that it was the last chance for operators to start paying the recommended 0.1 percent revenue contribution to GambleAware.
New Zealand weighs in on loot boxes
Concerned parents in New Zealand are calling for a restriction on loot boxes in video games due to their similarities to gambling. While New Zealand’s Gambling Compliance Body is reviewing whether randomised in-app purchases meet the definition of gambling in the country, local media reports are predicting the regulator won’t end up banning them from video games. The Problem Gambling Foundation Marketing and Communications Director, Andree Froude, said that since a lot of the games are made overseas, it would be difficult to regulate, which Australia’s gambling regulators have previously said.
Court rejects online poker petition in Indian state
The Gujarat High Court has refused to legalise online poker, following a petition to have it classed as a game of skill. The petition came about after authorities raided several poker clubs in the state and prompted a court trial featuring arguments for and against legalising poker in the state. After a court delay, Justice Rajesh H. Shukla finally ruled that the game could not be legalised. He said there was not enough evidence to state that the game was not based on luck, and follows a similar ruling in the state of Telangana in November. It’s not clear how PokerStars entry into the Indian market will be affected by the ruling, but it may be limited to the state of Nagaland where online poker and rummy are legal.
Brazil’s gambling bill faces delays again
Brazil’s Constitutionality and Justice Committee (CCJ) was meant to vote on the Senate’s online gambling bill, which has faced regular delays, this week. However, several Senators entered new amendments, including the requirement gambling operators enter into partnerships with local companies, as well as a uniform 30 percent tax on all forms of gambling. While neither of the amendments passed, they delayed the vote to legalise online gambling in the country. An amendment that did pass includes a ban on slots and video bingo machines outside of land-based casinos. While the CCJ plans to vote on the revised bill next week, it could face more delays.
Report reveals Portuguese still gamble at offshore sites
A Remote Gambling Association (RGA) report has revealed that 68 percent of Portuguese online gamblers play at offshore gambling sites. The Southern European country regulated online gambling in 2015, allowing international operators to apply for licenses. While the government handed out the first online gambling licenses in 2016, many international operators are hesitant to enter the market due to the high taxes leaving limited options for Portugal’s gamblers. The RGA’s report states that the regulatory framework failed to alleviate illegal online gambling, with 38 percent of Portuguese gambling at unlicensed websites, and 30 percent gambling at both offshore sites and licenses gaming operations.