By Zach Arnold | January 10, 2014
Keith Kizer trends #1 on Twitter after resigning
NAC chairman Francisco Aguilar: "Keith was not forced into this decision. But we do respect it and we will conduct a national search."
— Steve Carp (@stevecarprj) January 11, 2014
Keith Kizer is gone as the Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, effective January 27th. Kizer, whose job security was ensured by politicos like Sig Rogich and casino power players like Lorenzo Fertitta, quietly exits after having a lousy 2013 campaign that brought a lot of negative attention against the Athletic Commission.
Government moves slowly. As we saw in how long it took for Che Guevara to “resign” from the Department of Consumer Affairs from his position with the California State Athletic Commission, it’s hard to imagine that Kizer’s resignation (organic or forced) wasn’t in the works for some time.
“There has to be an exit strategy here,” exclaimed one top combat sports regulator. It is believed that Kizer will be moving up the ladder in state work as a lawyer. In other words, he’s not going to be unemployed and he got a promotion/parachute in state government circles. He was plucked from the AG’s office because it’s next door to NSAC and the AG’s office handles background checks.
The fact is that Kizer, who absolutely loved his job at NSAC and would do anything to keep it, became a major political liability and headache for Governor Brian Sandoval, the Attorney General’s office, and the Rogich/Lorenzo/Ratner political clan. Kizer was quoted by Fox Sports on Friday night as saying he had applied for the job of being the city attorney in Henderson, Nevada in late 2013.
Kizer’s resignation comes on the heels of a recent gaming commission rejection for licensure of a close Lorenzo & Rogich ally in Tim Poster, who basically got swatted away for his gaming license request due to connections with shady individuals. Both Lorenzo & Rogich appeared in Carson City (!) on behalf of Poster and were humiliated in appearing at a meeting where Poster got destroyed for his past business connections & decisions.
You don’t have to be a weatherman to see which way the winds were blowing in the Rogich clan to understand what is happening now.
As for who will become the next Executive Director, the reality is that the choice will have to be someone that Lorenzo, Rogich, Ratner, and the AG’s office approves of. They went to Keith Kizer because he was from the AG’s office, so the best bet is that an unknown bureaucrat will take the position. If they do go for an outsider, however, Mike Mazzulli from Mohegan Sun would stick out as an obvious choice since he knows boxing and is actually competent.
The wildcard name to pay attention to? Armando Garcia, the former California State Athletic Commission boss who has been working for the Fertitta empire in casino security the last several years. Zuffa knows who he is and knows that he was great at making money for California’s commission. He’s a strong personality but one that Zuffa is very familiar with.
As for Keith Kizer’s legacy, I love the fact that the Vegas press is championing him as a drug testing crusader when he (and UFC) rendered drug testing a sideshow by opening the floodgates for fighters to start begging for testosterone (anabolic steroids). And if fighters couldn’t get their permission slips to use testosterone, they would just go ahead and start microdosing their testosterone usage in order to skate under the 4:1 Testosterone/Epitestosterone ratio. Unless you’re using Carbon Isotope Ratio drug testing on urine samples, you’re not going to detect fighters microdosing on synthetic testosterone. When the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency busted Lamont Peterson for microdosing on testosterone pellets, it was embarrassing for Keith Kizer because it exposed that a standard NSAC drug test was nothing to worry about. The same commission handing out permission slips for fighters to use testosterone just pushed “enhanced” drug testing (whatever that means) for Josh Barnett last month. And it was done in such a way that the UFC, without public debate, ponied up the supposed $20,000 to pay for such testing.
Pushing Keith Kizer as a top anti-steroids crusader in combat sports is like celebrating a payday lender as an advocate for the best interests of poor people.