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By Zach Arnold | July 28, 2014
The estimable Marc Raimondi wrote an article last weekend talking about the fiasco for the UFC San Jose show involving Matt Brown missing weight. Under any normal circumstances, Brown would have been fined 20% of his purse and Robbie Lawler would have obtained some of that fine money. Instead, no fine was levied.
Based on several interviews we conducted on background, here is the story that we were told.
The UFC, as far as we know, is the only promoter right now in California that does split weigh-ins. Last December for their UFC Fox network event at Arco Arena in Sacramento, Zuffa set up a system where the athletic commission doctors would take care of physicals and paperwork for fighters on the card at the hotel the crews were staying at. Once that process was completed, then the fighters were taken to the site of the weigh-ins to do their thing. Andy Foster allowed the UFC to do this split weigh-in process. It is uncertain exactly what the motive behind this split weigh-in concept is. For the Sacramento event, there were no issues.
It is normal protocol for athletic commission doctors to handle physicals, paperwork, and weigh-ins in one sitting.
For the July San Jose event, however, problems developed. Mainly, Matt Brown and Juliana Lima missing weight. One source on background claims that Brown was told at the physical by a doctor that he looked dehydrated.
When it came time for weigh-ins, Executive Officer Andy Foster and chief athletic inspector Mark Relyea ran the show. However, the doctors at the hotel handling the physicals were not at the site of the weigh-ins. When Brown and Lima failed to make weight, they were told by Andy and Mark that the fine was coming. However, Brown wanted time to make weight. UFC was very upset at Foster & Relyea. The end result was Brown not getting fined for not making weight.
There would have been no controversy if the fighters had made in the first place. However, the errors were compounded by UFC’s split weigh-in process and by the athletic commission not having doctors present at the weigh-in site. It wasn’t a good start for Andy, who was under pressure throughout the weekend by wannabe cops from the Division of Investigations department of Consumer Affairs for an audit. Those around Andy for the weekend described him as subdued, a bit on edge, and frustrated.
And apparently the UFC didn’t have such a smooth weekend either when it came to live gate numbers for San Jose, TV ratings, or… customer service with Fight Pass.
I've received almost 100 responses regarding Fight Pass, and almost EVERYONE was doubled billed last month. Really stunning #s.
— Fight_Ghost (@Fight_Ghost) July 28, 2014
As for the DCA audit of the California State Athletic Commission at Saturday’s UFC San Jose Arena event, there was quite an interesting surprise for those who follow the internal politics in Sacramento.
It turns out that the person who allegedly spearheaded the audit process at the show is a long-time DCA supervisor named Hilda Youngblood. Hilda has been in Sacramento for a long time. A lot of political juice at Consumer Affairs. Hilda is listed in this Board of Barbering and Cosmetology Strategic Plan for 2013-2017 as the Assistant Executive Officer. As of January 2014, Hilda was still the AEO. She has long been a jack-of-all-trades at Consumer Affairs as a Staff Services Manager.
Not only was she spotted on camera during the Fox telecast of the UFC event, she was also reportedly seen shadowing Andy Foster around the arena.
Why was someone from Consumer Affairs with little or no knowledge of combat sports placed in such a position?
Were the tickets/seats she and her auditors used at the UFC San Jose show gifts? Years ago, DCA went after Athletic Commission board members for attending shows based on the premise that this kind of activity was not about fulfilling state duties. Instead, they were labeled as gifts by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission. FPPC went after Dr. Christopher Giza for a $400 Golden Boy ticket in 2008 and sent an advisory letter to John Frierson. Don’t hold your breath on FPPC going after Hilda Youngblood for cage side admission to watch the UFC San Jose Arena event.
As if that isn’t a big enough circus, here’s the agenda for the August 11th meeting in Los Angeles where they will contemplate some sort of new competency examination for officials. Which may more or less be a trojan horse to try to get ABC testing to be the standard in California.
In the agenda, they cite Government Code Section 11126(c)(1):
(c) Nothing in this article shall be construed to do any of the following:
(1) Prevent state bodies that administer the licensing of persons engaging in businesses or professions from holding closed sessions to prepare, approve, grade, or administer examinations.
They’re only doing this now? It has never been established practice in California, from George Dodd to way on back, to use tests because you had to get them certified first by a bunch of state agencies for bias, language, etc.
May you live in interesting times.
Exit question: Closed session rather than open, public deliberations on a competency examination?