Investigating the notion that Topps forged Roy Nelson's signature | Fighters.com

Investigating the notion that Topps forged Roy Nelson’s signature

Recommend to your friends!
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Opening a box of sports cards and finding an autograph is a fairly common occurrence nowadays, as companies have been doing their part to bring signatures of your favorite athletes to fans as conveniently as possible.  However, what should be fairly straightforward has become troublesome at times over the last few years.  One TNA wrestler was released from their contract after it was found they had “outsourced” the signing of their autographed cards to a family member.  Evidence and autograph research against an NHL rookie last season recently determined he may have been stamping the signature on many of his cards, prompting an outcry from collectors and fans alike, and a call for action from the manufacturers of those sets.

Topps has been fairly vigilant with maintaining legitimacy of their UFC autographs.  Fighters regularly visit the head office in New York, and take photos signing their cards and stickers.  One UFC Fighter has told stories of how he would sit down at his dining room table with a representative from Topps, and they would chat over coffee while he signed his cards for them.  In the nearly four years they have been making UFC cards, nothing of their autographs have really come under scrutiny until a recent series of Tweets between Roy Nelson and a fan last month.

Enclosed are the tweets between Nelson and a fan who showed him his collection.  The messages are dated September 25, 2012:

@roynelsonmma @MohamedH09 Cool collection, but I have to ask the card in lower left with big country please tell me you didn’t buy off ebay. Not my sign [sic]

@MohamedH09 @roynelsonmma I did, so it’s fake?

@roynelsonmma @MohamedH09 Sorry
 
@MohamedH09 @roynelsonmma Thanks for letting me know. Ill make sure to ask you about that stuff the next time I buy from ebay.

@roynelsonmma @MohamedH09 Don’t worry it [sic] a problem, Trying to fix it. Topps even forgeries [sic] signatures too. So how are you to know unless you get it direct

Nelson has been particularly careful about his autographs on the secondary market, even going so far as to contact eBay about forgeries earlier this year.  He has also said in the past that he has also had just one autograph deal with Topps, which was his Ultimate Fighter autograph from 2009.

Additionally, “Big Country” made sure to individually hand number each autograph he signed to ensure there were no counterfeits.  Below is a picture of Nelson’s Ultimate Fighter Autograph, which, as you can see is clearly hand numbered out of 250 copies.  This particular copy sold on eBay earlier this month.

The autographs Nelson was directly questioning the authenticity of was the 2011 Topps Moment of Truth autograph.  In that set, two variations of the Nelson autograph appeared:  One with his full name, and one with his nickname “Big Country.”  Both are sticker autographs with no individual numbering, or approximate date of signature.  Topps, however, stands by the authenticity of the autograph, as witnessed by the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) on the back.  Here is the card in question, along with the certificate of authenticity on the back of the card.

>

The COA goes on to state the autographs were witnessed directly by Topps.  Similar stickers were used for Nelson’s Round 4 Autograph, which was produced in fairly limited quantities and is one of the harder cards from that set to find.

Who is in the right here?  Nelson?  Topps?  It’s hard to question when the fighter himself is stating the autographs are forged, however, Topps is a company that has been in business for the better part of the last century, and collectors and fans alike would be quick to defend that it would be tough for a company to stake the integrity of one of its most famous inserts on a single participant.

Unlocking the answer to this mystery may stretch further back than Nelson’s time in the UFC.

Starting with Topps’ second UFC series in 2009, cards started to surface of fighters using their old style of autograph stickers.  These prismatic foil stickers had slowly been phased out for use on a regular basis since Topps’ 2007 and 2008 sports sets.  In fact, the autographs in the first Topps UFC series all utilized a different sticker.  Unless the design specifically calls for the prismatic style, Topps has been using clear stickers wherever they can since the inaugural set of UFC cards in 2009.  While almost all of the athletes in the series 2 set (Jon Jones, Dan Henderson, Georges St-Pierre, etc.) signed clear stickers, fighters like Pat Miletich and Mike Ciesnolevicz had the old style autographs.  Other sets featured certain fighters using these stickers as well, adding to the intrigue.  Below is a list of fighters with autograph appearances using the old style Topps stickers (ordered by oldest-newest in terms of set release:)

-Pat Miletich – Round 2
-Matt Horwich – Round 2
-Mike Ciesnolevicz – Round 2
-Vladimir Matyushenko – Round 4, Moment of Truth
-Marco Ruas – Knockout 2010
-Chris Horodecki – Title Shot
-Bart Palaszewski – Moment of Truth

Do you notice a trend with those names?

Back in spring of 2007, Topps announced they were going to take their first foray into Mixed Martial Arts trading cards with an International Fight League (IFL) set.  The set would feature current stars and coaches of the IFL for that campaign.  Autographs and memorabilia of the fighters would be made available on those cards, and was set to be the first major dedicated MMA release for North American audiences.  Before the set could be completed, however, the IFL ceased operations and all the work Topps had done to date had to be scrapped.  All that remains of those IFL sets are the press announcements, and a set of promo cards which are now rare, and demand a significant premium when they appear on the secondary market.

All of the fighters listed above were with the IFL at the time, as was Nelson.  In fact, in that same Moment of Truth set, Vladimir Matyushenko’s autograph stickers have partial, or full signatures of his first name, which he has not done with his clear sticker Topps deals.  He has been signing “VMAT” or, at best “V MATYUSHENKO” in his other UFC deals.  Here is an example of a Matyushenko’s Moment of Truth card with this old style autograph.

>

Would it be reasonable to think, as a result, that with all this evidence, Nelson’s UFC Round 4 and Moment of Truth autographs are leftover stickers from a potential IFL autograph deal from 2007, and that Topps was using them to simply make the most of their investment years ago?

You be the judge.

PHOTO CREDITS – EBAY, JEROME TAYLOR


Recommend to your friends!
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Fighters App

Fighters Mobile Apps

Stay on top of the hottest stories and exclusive interviews from the world of MMA with the Fighters.com mobile apps.

Get Apps Now!
MB5-625 642-883 C2040-915 CAT-180 070-646Big5 000-225 000-070 HC-711-ENU C2090-735 000-963 1Z1-225 HP0-M23 700-301 HP5-H01D 70-528-Csharp HP3-X08 E20-522 220-602 HC-623-CHS 1Z0-533 1Z0-048 000-440 HP2-N35 COG-480 HP2-T25 000-870 70-330 9A0-060 LOT-829 000-117 MB7-846 E20-329 HP0-P17 646-580 HP0-Y26 310-880 P2040-052 000-706 HP0-794 ISEBSWTINT_001 220-702 70-482 310-100 HP0-D17 1Z1-515 70-298 920-464 C2020-642 70-665J HP2-B82 1Y0-A04 000-N33 E20-331 HP0-085 SG0-001 000-294 1Z0-873 1Z0-052 1T6-530 GB0-540 070-553-VB 070-699 000-236 000-296 070-300 HP2-Z19 000-967 HP0-Y38 MB5-629 P2090-010 70-214 SSCP 074-322 3I0-008 C4070-623 P2090-079 MB6-504 070-653 HP2-K30 642-445 E20-554 090-091 250-530 000-605 000-588 1Z0-531 A2040-988 PgMP 70-689 9A0-182 642-444 70-232 920-336 FM0-302 70-521-Csharp A2040-986 640-861 70-238 000-546 070-569 000-R06 510-020 70-568 P2050-007 642-887 1Z1-259 HIO-301 000-142 1Z0-519 050-690 000-120 A4040-226 920-804 ECP-102 50-690 050-894 HP2-E53 HP3-X09 HP0-J35 050-692 1Z1-862 000-751 HP0-920 000-314 NS0-120 70-571GB2312 000-978 ICDL-Access 1Z1-043 A2090-421 MB2-422 070-262 A4040-224 1Z0-518 1Y0-973 920-808 920-530 70-123 70-458 1Z1-219 000-108 HP2-T14 000-284 070-542-VB C_TBW45_70 HP2-H08 A2180-605 70-416 HP0-J43 000-341 70-177 G2700 HP0-J16 MB7-231 HC-832-CHS 922-071 CAT-380 310-231 070-332 ST0-91X SPS-100 HP0-733 070-665J CA1-001 E22-250 1Z1-574 HP0-760 E20-570 C90-05A HP2-N43 HP0-S19 70-460 BAS-010 9A0-061 310-011 000-169 1D0-538 133-S-713 E20-665 000-371 74-132 1Z1-560 EUCOC E20-597 MB6-871 JN0-341 C2150-198 E20-455 HH0-260 E20-594 EC0-232 000-018 1Z0-889 132-S-911.2 A4040-129 HP0-Y46 TB0-118 E20-830 SU0-224 win 7 key Win 7 key online Win 7 key sale Win 7 key product key Win 7 ultimate key cheap Win 7 key microsoft office 2013 key Office 2013 key Office 2010 key Office 2010 keys windows 8 key windows 8.1 key windows 8.1 product key Windows 7 key Windows 7 ultimate key Windows 7 product key Windows 7 key store buy Windows 7 key windows 10 key windows 10 product key Windows Server 2012 key Windows 8 key online win 7 key Win 7 key online Win 7 key sale Win 7 key product key Win 7 ultimate key cheap Win 7 key microsoft office 2013 key Office 2013 key Office 2010 key Office 2010 keys windows 8 key windows 8.1 key windows 8.1 product key Windows 7 key Windows 7 ultimate key Windows 7 product key Windows 7 key store buy Windows 7 key windows 10 key windows 10 product key Windows Server 2012 key Windows 8 key online win 7 key Win 7 key online Win 7 key sale Win 7 key product key Win 7 ultimate key cheap Win 7 key microsoft office 2013 key Office 2013 key Office 2010 key Office 2010 keys windows 8 key windows 8.1 key windows 8.1 product key Windows 7 key Windows 7 ultimate key Windows 7 product key Windows 7 key store buy Windows 7 key windows 10 key windows 10 product key Windows Server 2012 key Windows 8 key online