So this probably isn’t the sort of thing you want to have chiseled on that plaque in the UFC hall of fame, but it appears one former champion may have some explaining to do after getting himself mixed up in a $112 million Medicare scam, recently targeted — and taken down — by the federal government.
While the combatant wasn’t named in the official complaint, he was the recipient of a $3,000 kickback. So was a former Bellator fighter ($4,000) and an MMA management company ($1,000) that used its fighters as brand ambassadors for the Patino Diet, the brainchild of Michigan-based bodybuilding physician Dr. Frank Patino.
Patino was arrested and charged with stealing millions of dollars from Medicare through bogus billings and referrals, according to Detroit Free Press, and will appear in front of a judge today (June 29, 2018) in attempt to secure bond.
According to court records, Burns and others caused Medicare to pay approximately $2.6 million for urine drug testing claims that were obtained through illegal kickbacks and bribes. Specifically, prosecutors allege that Burns and others received kickbacks and bribes in exchange for referring for urine samples and drug tests to various laboratories.
According to court records, Patino hid and disguised the kickbacks and bribes he received from co-conspirators by entering into sham contracts or employment relationships. Prosecutors allege Patino used more than $100,000 of ill-gotten gains to advertise his “Patino Diet” “through his sponsorship of boxers, MMA fighters and Ultimate Fighting Championship fighters, including world champions.”
Not a good look.
The former UFC champion and current UFC hall of famer was not named in the complaint; however, the promotion’s hallowed hall hasn’t been around for very long, so it may only be a matter of time before a name bubbles to the surface.
Here is the current list of UFC hall of fame inductees, one of whom was born and raised in Michigan, another who operates a gym out of “The Wolverine State,” and of course, one who served as brand ambassador for The Patino Diet.
- Royce Gracie
- Ken Shamrock
- Dan Severn
- Randy Couture
- Mark Coleman
- Chuck Liddell
- Matt Hughes
- Tito Ortiz
- Pat Miletich
- Bas Rutten
- Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
- Don Frye
- Maurice Smith
- Kazushi Sakuraba
- Matt Serra
- Forrest Griffin
- BJ Penn
- Urijah Faber
Former women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is scheduled to join them in July.
To make matters worse, Patino is accused administering a “battery of unnecessary and expensive treatments to patients who sought prescriptions for highly addictive opiate pain pills, like oxycodone, which he then billed to the government,” according to Michigan Live.
Patino “obtained access to thousands of patients by becoming a top prescriber of oxcodone 30 mg (pills) in the state of Michigan from 2016 to 2017 and prescribing in excess of 2.2 million dosage units of controlled substances, including medically unnecessary prescriptions for fentanyl, oxycodone, (and) oxymorphone,” Patino’s indictment says. “Some of these medically unnecessary opioids and other drugs were resold on the street.”
Patino’s attorney told reporters that his client expects to be “fully vindicated” in the coming months.