By Zach Arnold | June 11, 2013
An excruciatingly long 8-hour meeting in Los Angeles on Monday for the California State Athletic Commission didn’t produce many headlines. However, one critical development did arise from the session that will not make the UFC happy.
On the meeting’s agenda, there was this item: “Subcommittee on Therapeutic Use Exemption — Discussion and possible action regarding draft policy.”
Rule 303 (modified text here), which was pushed to try to open up the Therapeutic Use Exemption process for testosterone use, was challenged at Monday’s hearing by none other than Department of Consumer Affairs lawyer Michael Santiago. Santiago happens to be the only lawyer worth anything in DCA’s legal office, for what it’s worth. Karen Chappelle, the ethically-challenged attorney from the Attorney General’s office in Los Angeles who loves to interfere in combat sports regulation, backed the current behavior regarding allowing fighters to use testosterone despite not having any text passed by the state legislature. Santiago, who rightfully has a professional dislike & disregard for Chappelle’s opinion, said that until there is a statute/regulation on the books regarding testosterone that the commission should not be using an ‘underground’ policy of approving T usage. He argued that testosterone is considered a banned substance.
The end result is that fighters like Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen, and Frank Mir will not be allowed to use testosterone while fighting in California until a law is on the books that explicitly spells out approval for T usage. Chappelle was not a happy camper about this and the UFC will be furious about this development given how many guys they have fighting in California who love testosterone. Vitor Belfort’s sympathy plea for continued testosterone usage means he won’t be fighting in California any time soon.
I applaud Michael Santiago for putting a stop to this. The underground T policy basically put doctors like Paul Wallace in an unenviable position of having to administer & oversee testosterone usage. Santiago’s stance also will piss off UFC doctor Jeff Davidson. To that I say the following: good. Santiago’s position will now put UFC in an interesting dilemma — will they huff and bluff by backing away from running shows in California or will they accept the new reality on the ground? If UFC backs away from California, it will cost the commission’s budget big time. UFC wants to talk tough about testosterone usage now, so let’s see if they will back up their public talk by walking the walk with future California events.
In other news, an update about a story we wrote last week regarding California’s position on kids pankration contests. The commission on Monday formed a subcommittee for further discussion on the matter and Sacramento has sent a cease & desist order to the USFL. My guess is that they will now run shows on tribal land or will focus entirely on Arizona.
For anyone wondering whether or not a half-point scoring system will gain traction in MMA, the answer is no. Momentum is dead. You will not see the half-point system in California survive, you won’t see the ABC (Association of Boxing Commissions) pushing it any more, and any sanctioning bodies currently using it are allegedly ready to dump it for good. Nelson Hamilton will not be happy about this news. One regulator on background, paraphrased, framed their opposition in this manner:
“We have enough bad MMA judges. If bad judges can’t handle a 10-9 system, how the hell are they going to handle a half-point criteria? The half-point system makes bad MMA judges even worse.”
Last week, we noted on Twitter that Bellator was going to moving to Friday nights. A month ago, we noted that the two options left for Bellator were Tuesday or Friday nights after Spike inexplicably decided to give TNA preference over MMA. Beyond comprehension. It’s also beyond comprehension that Spike chose Friday nights, a dead zone, over Tuesdays. California needs Bellator to be successful because the Bellator events in the state have been great. What will the impact of the move to Fridays mean?