Update: Report Connects Zuffa to Xyience

By Adam Swift Nov 5, 2007
Xyience recently signed a three-year extension on its exclusive partnership with the UFC, but the supplement company's reportedly close ties to the mixed martial arts promotion have not appeased several disgruntled fighters Xyience once sponsored.

Xyience, which formed in 2004, announced the extension in conjunction with a $12 million funding effort.

A relationship between Xyience and Zuffa that runs much deeper than advertising and sponsorship agreements has long been speculated though not acknowledged. However, this week in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer released a non-sourced report that said UFC owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta were responsible for Xyience's recent multi-million dollar funding.

When asked for comment on the source of funding and specifically about the Fertittas' and Dana White's involvement in Xyience, the Las Vegas-based sports nutrition company, through a public relations representative, told Sherdog.com that the money was provided "by a private group of local strategic investors. Company policy is to not comment on the specific individuals that participated in a round of funding."

Requests for comment from the UFC went unanswered.

The Fertittas' reported involvement in Xyience could raise eyebrows in light of reports that several high-profile UFC fighters recently severed ties with the company, saying it failed to honor the financial terms of endorsement deals, and news of possible supplement contamination.

In the Oct. 24 Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Meltzer reported that former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell (Pictures) is no longer associated with Xyience due to nonpayment on his substantial endorsement deal. Meltzer also reported that Forrest Griffin (Pictures) and Rich Franklin (Pictures) have left the company.

Liddell and Griffin -- along with Josh Koscheck (Pictures), Mike Swick (Pictures) and Cung Le (Pictures) -- have been paid in full as of a couple weeks ago, according to their manager DeWayne Zinkin Jr.

"Early on there were issues," Zinkin told Sherdog.com Monday morning. "But since we've dealt with [Xyience CEO] Adam Frank and the new people in charge now, everything that they have said they were going to do, they've done. All of our guys have been paid in full, so we're happy. We're waiting to get proposals from them for future work."

The same could not be said for Franklin.

"At the beginning of the year Xyience quit returning phone calls and e-mails," Franklin's manager, M-1 president and CEO Monte Cox, said late Sunday. "They are now seven or eight months behind on payment for Rich."

Despite the wishes of several fighters, including UFC champions Matt Hughes (Pictures) and Sean Sherk (Pictures), the Xyience Web site continues to feature fighters who have split with the company.

"Matt is no longer with Xyience and is now with Nutritox," Hughes' business manager, Brian Patton, told Sherdog.com. "His contract expired on Aug. 15. He has since signed a long-term deal with Nutritox. He was not happy with [Xyience's] performance."

Of his relationship with Xyience, Sherk told fiveouncesofpain.com in late October that he's no longer affiliated with them after "they stiffed me a bunch of money."

"They stiff everybody," said the lightweight, who is currently appealing California State Athletic Commission allegations that he tested positive for the anabolic agent nandrolone metabolite following a fight in Sacramento versus Hermes Franca (Pictures). "A lot of people are leaving them."

In response to the reports of fighters fleeing its ranks, a company representative said Xyience "has made good on its obligations regarding fighter sponsorships. Sponsoring fighters continues to be an important part of our strategy, and we value the relations with the fighters."

Of greater concern for Xyience could be the contents of a pre-trial brief and exhibits filed by Sherk's attorney Howard Jacobs with the CSAC and obtained by Sherdog.com.

Among a litany of reports, it is asserted that "Xyience Xtreme Joint Formula" -- one of several Xyience-branded supplements Sherk said he took before his July 7 title defense at the Arco Arena -- tested positive for the anabolic agent 1-androstendione.

Said Susan Wierzbicki, Xyience's Director of Quality Assurance: "The company employs stringent quality control procedures and contracts with manufacturers that are GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) compliant."

Jacobs told Sherdog.com it was not his intention to finger Xyience as the culprit of Sherk's positive test in California.

Wierzbicki said Xyience halted all shipments of the product until it can conduct independent testing by a certified lab.

Seemingly unrelated to the contamination and fight sponsorship issues, Xyience is currently subject to a Desist and Refrain Order issued by the California Department of Corporations on Sept. 10, 2007, for the fraudulent business practices of Xyience founder and former CEO Russell Craig Pike.

The Desist and Refrain Order obtained by Sherdog.com contains a laundry list of allegations against the company and Pike: selling $2.1 million of stock to California residents without the state's authorization; making material misrepresentations to investors regarding pending litigation and the prior business success of Pike; failure to disclose a default judgment against Pike for writing bad checks; failure to disclose signed confessions of judgment in an action involving Pike's former business venture, Advanced Cart Technology (ACT), for using false pretenses, false representations, and fraud to convince investors to invest in the company; failure to disclose a prior guilty plea to bank fraud, money laundering, and aiding and abetting in connection with ACT, resulting in a sentence of 59 months in a federal prison, three years of supervised release and a restitution order for $2,367,146; failure to disclose ACT bankruptcy proceedings; failure to disclose a prior prison sentence for grand theft and forgery.

According to Robert Walsh, public information officer for the Nevada secretary of state, Pike was listed as president of Xyience from July 20, 2005, until an amended list was filed on Oct. 13, 2006.

A Xyience spokesperson said Pike is currently a minority shareholder in the company, and any stock he owns is non-voting.

"He has no role in management or operations," the spokesperson said, "and is not an employee of the company."

In the year that Pike has taken a step back, Xyience increased distribution from 4,600 to 45,000 stores, including national chains such as 7-11 and GNC, according to a company news release.

Said UFC president Dana White on the relationship between his company and Xyience: "We look forward to our future endeavors together as both of our companies continue their explosive growth."

Adam Swift is the editor of www.MMAPayout.com
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