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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

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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?

Topics: Boxing, Florida, MMA, Media, Zach Arnold | 1 Comment » | Permalink | Trackback |

One Response to “Memo to all licensed by Florida’s Boxing Commission: verify your license ASAP; Florida updates only UFC licenses after our report”

  1. LOL Florida now getting busted for what California has been doing for years to ruin events for Zuffa. Zuffa now owns Florida. Kage Kombat This will happen to us if AB 1186 is approved To Whom = It May Concern-

    I would like to inform you the bad experience I had = with the State Boxing Commission last year starting in April 2006. My fight= ers were invited to a professional cage event called The XFC that was sched= uled for 04/29/06 and needed to act fast in completing all the necessary me= dical exams & licenses for my fighters before the deadline of 04/15/06.= The first thing I did was lose two days of work for the medical that was c= ompleted on 04/12/06 for two fighters I paid out of pocket of $285.00 each = and then the third fighter around a week later also paying an additional $2= 85.00. After explaining to the nurse that I need the results right away, sh= e explained she does this type of paper work all the time. So she faxed the= results to the State Commission in my presents and gave me the copies afte= r. The nurse then gave me the work and cell number of Dean Lohman, State Boxing Commissioner for the Los Angeles offic= e. After calling and speaking to Dean on 04/13/06, he informed me he receiv= ed the medical reports via fax and to meet at his home in Huntington Beach,= Ca, because I lived (Westminster, Ca.) and that it would be better for him= .. I thought about why at his home and not the office. I couldn’t decide wh= at was best due to the time frame of the deadlines, so I stopped by his hom= e later that evening on 04/13/06. When I finally met the gentleman we talk = for a few minutes and he explained their procedures and what was needed fro= m my team. We had all the paper work in order & completed including the= State Commission forms given to us by the clinic where the medical exams w= ere done. He then checked the forms and asked me to pay him in cash ($80 ea= . Fighter) of $240.00 since it was a rush and he knew it was important. I a= sked for a receipt and he told me it was at the office and that he would mail it when he got to the office the following day. I told him I wa= s a little uncomfortable leaving without something written for proof and th= en he said he was honest and has been doing this for years. I figured I sho= uldn’t rock the boat since we needed the fighters registered ASAP and why w= ould he invite me to his home, so I had no choice. I then called 04/17/06 n= umerous times to ask when will I be receiving the licenses and he said that= the front desk will call me with the numbers over the phone in the next da= y or two. I was stressing at this point and never got the call. I continue = to call 3-4 times a day for the next 4 working days when the secretary info= rmed me that they don’t have licenses at this time. I decided to stop by Lo= hman’s home and I saw his car parked, but he never answered his door. I was= upset at this point and then finding out that my fighters had to meet the = commissioner at the promoters home for a sparring session 3 days before the event and thought it was inappropriate and unprofessional = due to a possible injury when one of my fighters did get hurt.
    After al= l the rushing around, the promoter called telling us that the State Commiss= ion closed the event. I then bumped into Dean in San Diego where he was ass= igned to another fight event within the next few months. I asked when he wi= ll be giving us or license and my receipt. He told me he would call which h= e did and told me not to worry and that he would vouch for my fighters in a= ny future events. Then in late July we were asked to participate one of our= fighters for an event called Pangea Fights in August 18th, 2006. So now we= were waiting again for Dean and I kept calling for the licenses. He inform= ed me that he would talk to the commissioners working that event and will i= nform the promoters it would be okay, so we attended the weightings. After = arriving, the commissioner there told us he couldn’t fight due to his physical and license and that they called Dean and told us Dean said s= omething else. I explained to the commissioner and promoter and the promote= r was being pressured as well and worried the event will close as well. I t= hen called Dean and ask what the heel was going on and to talk to his co-wo= rkers which the commissioner at the venue did not want to speak to Dean, so= I handed the cell phone to the promoter (Jamie) and after talking with him= for 20mins he then handed me the phone and told me that I never turned in = the paper work from the doctors when I showed him our copies for proof. The= commissioner at the venue did not want to see them and insulted me telling= me that they were fake when he didn’t even want to see for himself. I was = furious and ask if we can just weigh in our fighter for the record. They re= fused and they asked to promoter to have us leave the premises. I refused a= nd stood by the commissioner and asked for his name and refused that as well. Another thing I witness while sticking around was that the c= ommissioner was pressuring an 18 years fighter to sign in for a fight that = was out of his weight class and a more experience fighter. I couldn’t belie= ve my ears and what I was experiencing that evening. Even the fighter that = was heavier was saying it was not right, but was afraid to let the commissi= oner know. I was experiencing an organization (State Boxing Commission) con= trolling and intimidating everyone. I heard about it, but now in the middle= of it and it was very discouraging. From that point I called Dean everyday= until he gave me an answer and he said that his manager knew and to call h= im. I then called and he said he needed to call Dean to confirm after telli= ng him that Dean was the one to call him. So for the nest 5 hours, back and= forth I called and they kept telling me that they can’t get a hold of one = another. It was nothing but a run around form two thieves. It was so bad that I had to stop after months of calling and hours. I was ash= amed to be part of this knowing I was going to be ripped off and others. No= w Dean pocketed my money and his superiors backed him up. I continued to se= e Dean in other events and the same thing=85call him and he’ll take care of= everything. What a joke while I’m out of $890.00.

    Thank you for your time and hope you can put a stop to this corrupt= ion soon,

    Gilbert Cardiel Jr.
    17 minutes ago ยท Like

    Octagon Nation More corruption by CSAC. We do not want them regulating our light contact sport. Subject: Extreme Wars June 3

    These are some of things that were done by the commission which disrupted the show.

    1. Without my permission wrote on my personnel check without me witnessing and distributed to fighters. This was done by three different

    people I am assuming one of them was not in the commission.

    2.Lost of paperwork that was sent by fax to the commission that caused a loss of matches.

    3. Charging me $1000.00 dollars for filming which was not done by TV, cable and was not on Pay per view.

    4. To this day I hav
    e 0 receipts for anything even the fighters contract, which was was given to the fighters the night of event so I don’t know what I paid for?

    5. I also have 0 receipts for all fighters that paid cash to the commission which took money from them.

    6. Charged me 25% of comp tickets from a wrong number which I still don’t know because I don’t have any receipt.

    7. Gave checks to fighters without any amount or proof of amount

    8. Lastly I want to know why I have three different handwritings on my personnel checks that was faxed by fighters. I only know of two commission members,

    who was the third person that wrote on my checks. Do they just authorize anyone to sign peoples check without permission?

    9. Using unofficial websites to verify fighters records such as

    10. Lastly the constant threats to shut down your show and the abuse of power that disrupts the promoters ability to conduct business is just plain wrong.

    I will send you more as I recall the facts




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