Memo to all licensed by Florida’s Boxing Commission: verify your license ASAP; Florida updates only UFC licenses after our report
By Zach Arnold | July 16, 2014
I’ve heard many nightmarish stories over the years from fighters and managers who had paid for licenses at California events, only to be told at future shows that they needed to pay for a new license because the one they originally purchased was either not processed or lost. It’s infuriating that this even happens but when you have people out in the field accepting paperwork and cash, you never fully know what’s going to happen next. At this point, you may as well say the same thing if you send something directly to the front office in Sacramento.
Florida’s Boxing Commission appears, on the surface, to have licensing issues as well. After writing about the Dustin Holyko situation on Tuesday, I decided to check out the licensing process for recent events in Florida.
Last week, Rances Barthelemy fought in the main event of an Iron Mike event at the American Airlines Arena in Miami for Fox Sports 1. He has an active Federal ID that expires on September 21st, 2017. However, according to Florida’s state licensing database, Barthelemy’s fighter license isn’t active for 2014. His opponent, Argenis Mendez, isn’t listed in Florida’s database for having an active 2014 license, either. It’s understandable if the Florida Boxing Commission is taking their time in processing licenses that they give to fighters the day before or the day of a show, but it’s still a completely inefficient process.
Given Florida’s various licensing issues and the fact that Cynthia Hefren was able to get the Executive Director job because she’s a bean counter, let’s go back and look at what happened with licensing at the World Series of Fighting event on July 4th, 2014 in Daytona. The main event for that show involved Justin Gaethje vs. Nick Newell. Gaethje’s license was issued on 1/27/2014. Gaethje fought in Florida on January 18th, so his license was “official” 9 days after his fight? Cody Bollinger fought on that same January card and Florida claims his license was “activated” on January 30th, 12 days after the WSOF show. What the hell is going on here?
Nick Newell’s license was issued on 7/15/2014, which is 10 days after the event. Let’s chalk that up to FBC and DBPR taking their sweet time to update a license given to Newell the day of the show. Fine. It seems this is standard operating procedure at DBPR.
Jon Fitch, who fought Dennis Hallman in the semi-main event, had his license made active on 7/15. Hallman’s license, however, is listed as null and void with an expiration date of 12/31/2009. Kendrick Miree, who fought Jake Heun on the undercard, isn’t listed as having an active fighter’s license but as having a trainer’s license being processed. Heun’s license is stated as being active on 7/15. Jose Caceres is listed as having a valid Florida license until 12/31 but his Federal ID supposedly expired on 6/27/2014. Did he fight at the WSOF show on an invalid Fed ID or did Florida screw that up, too? Muhammed DeReese has had a Florida license active since 3/7 but his Fed ID is being “processed” now.
So there are missteps being made on licensing issues for a couple of shows. It happens with all the big commissions, right? Let’s take a look at the UFC April 19th event from Orlando that aired on Fox. If there is one thing that nobody can beat the UFC on, it’s their regulatory affairs with Marc Ratner. The man knows how to organize a show and get paperwork done. You have to work really hard as an athletic commission to screw up regulating a UFC show. Really hard. Surely everything would be up to snuff on the licensing front here.
Instead, according to Florida’s state licensing database, none of the main fighters who fought on the UFC Orlando card last April are listed as having active licenses. No Werdum, Cerrone, Tate, Carmouche, nothing. Cerrone’s license expired as a trainer at the end of 2012. Jorge Masvidal, whose Federal ID is listed as active until April 2017, isn’t listed as having an active Florida’s fighter license for 2014. Even John McCarthy’s license as a referee was listed as expired at the end of 2011.
In Florida, the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.
In going through other 2014 Florida boxing & MMA cards, we saw plenty of examples with fighters who were listed with either inactive fighter licenses and/or listed with active seconds/trainer licenses. Anderson Melo, who fought on the January 18th WSOF show in Hollywood, falls into that category.
The takeaway: If you’re licensed in Florida, don’t go to a show and assume that your license is valid or that it was automatically processed. Verify the status of your license so you aren’t sucker-punched when an athletic inspector tells you that the money you paid for a license didn’t end up going where it was supposed to. Be vigilant and stay alert to what is going on. Do not trust anyone.
As for the discrepancies regarding licensing with the FBC, I can’t proclaim any motives for the haphazard nature of how business is done in Tallahassee. However, it would be appropriate and ironic to have an auditor audit the auditor (Hefren) right now because there is still clearly some chaos happening with record-keeping, if we are to believe what Florida’s own state database is telling the public.
Update (7/18): Our report hit a nerve. Perfect example: Travis Browne wasn’t listed as having an active license despite fighting last April in Florida. Now look at his license status:
His license was activated three months after he fought? I guess the license status was activated on the same day our report came out. Funny how that works.
Interestingly enough, only UFC licenses got updated. The WSOF license discrepancies remain untouched. Same with license issues for Barthelemy and others. Why did they update only the UFC licenses?