Friend of our site

MMA Headlines


Bleacher Report

MMA Fighting

MMA Torch

MMA Weekly

Sherdog (News)

Sherdog (Articles)

Liver Kick

MMA Junkie

MMA Mania

Bloody Elbow

MMA Ratings

Rating Fights

Yahoo MMA Blog

Search this site

Latest Articles

News Corner

MMA Rising

Audio Corner


Sherdog Radio

Video Corner

Fight Hub

Special thanks to...

Link Rolodex

Site Index

To access our list of posting topics and archives, click here.

Friend of our site

Buy and sell MMA photos at MMA Prints

Site feedback

Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

« | Home | »

Notes on Armando Garcia radio interview

By Zach Arnold | June 12, 2007

Print Friendly and PDF

By Zach Arnold

On Monday afternoon, California SAC executive director Armando Garcia did an interview on Sherdog radio. The time mark for the interview is between 55:45-1:25:00. Around 30 minutes long. There were some interesting statements made during the interview, and we’ll highlight them in text form in a recap.

Read the full entry.

Recap of interview

On the Tommy Morrison situation in Arizona and the issue of unregulated shows… Mr. Garcia hopes that Morrison doesn’t have HIV, but thinks there is plenty of evidence to suggest otherwise. He does that no one gets hurt fighting at unregulated events.

Will there be a Muhammad Ali act for MMA? Mr. Garcia stated that he thinks something has be to done, primarily on the issue of a national registry (database) of fighter records, similar to what boxing has with Fight Fax. It’s difficult to maintain results for fighters who participate at club-level events. Trying to identify real records is a large undertaking, as Mr. Garcia works with Frank Munoz to search Sherdog, Google fighter names, etc. in order to try to determine a fair picture of what a fighter’s background and record is.

Would the CSAC suspend fighters if they fight on an unregulated event? If a fighter is licensed by the CSAC, the CSAC has jurisdiction over that fighter. Mr. Garcia brought up a recent example of a fighter that he approved for a professional debut who had a 1-6 record, but the ring announcer at the event the fighter participated at announced the fighter as having a 6-6 record. The issue of recordkeeping is a health-and-safety issue.

What’s the status of MMA in California? Mr. Garcia said that the growth of MMA is full-speed ahead and that’s to the chagrin of many people who didn’t want to see MMA take off. Mr. Garcia considers himself the ‘primary stakeholder’ of MMA in the United States. He will set up an MMA committee on June 25th and will meet with the California state Attorney General on July 17th to go over regulations (also focusing on MMA). Mr. Garcia says he wants the absolute best MMA rules in the country. He further stated that he is tired of having to deal with gray areas due to rules, point out discrepancies in rules from Nevada, New Jersey, etc.

What rules will the California SAC push to have and will California will have different MMA rules than the other states? Mr. Garcia noted that the original Unified rules were formulated in California, but passed in New Jersey and Nevada because those states mangaged to implement legislation quicker than California. They just ‘copied’ the California rules. Mr. Garcia says that California’s drafting of the original Unified rules should be a sign that the state is committed to MMA. Mr. Garcia wants to change weight class specifications, as he thinks there are discrepancies with the current system. Also, with more female MMA fighters coming into the sport, there needs to be regulation to address the issues they face. Also, Mr. Garcia stated that new rules regarding fouls need to be modified. By early 2008, Mr. Garcia hopes to have full Muay Thai rules and full MMA rules so that events can have boxing, MMA, and kickboxing in a standard five-rope ring. Mr. Garcia stated that he is not moving towards having other sports outside of MMA in cage. He noted that MMA in a cage is fine, but not other sports. He also elaborated on the fact that he goes to town hall meetings and ‘stakeholders’ (fighters) tell him that they would like to see multiple sporting events in a ring rather than a cage.

Will the CSAC allow knees to the head on the ground in future fights? Mr. Garcia stated that hardcore MMA athletes want ‘it all’, but there is a group of people who do not like seeing elbows and knees to the head. When promoters approach Mr. Garcia about waiving certain rules (like using elbows), as long as this provision is clearly stated in the contract that fighters sign, then the commission will approve it.

Is the CSAC concerned about a backlash from promoters (like UFC and others) who want to see a standardized rule format from state-to-state? Mr. Garcia noted that California is a friendly state to promoters, as the state does not charge a PPV tax for events. For UFC having two to three shows a year, it’s a lot of money that UFC is saving. Mr. Garcia believes the CSAC is a very strong commission that is willing to change as things move forward, as they understand that they ‘don’t know everything.’ They want to listen to ‘primary stakeholders’ (fighters) and are looking for athletes to demonstrate their skills in a state that is promoter-friendly. Mr. Garcia notes that California has a lot more events than any other state in the country and that only Japan as a country has more shows in the world than California. The amount of events in California for 2007 will eclipse the total of 186 in the year 2006. Mr. Garcia stated that he has a ‘superb relationship’ with UFC today and that if they want to take part in the process of creating a MMA rules package, the commission will oblige.

What has MMA meant to both the CSAC and the state of California? Mr. Garcia stated that California has had half-a-dozen high-profile shows and has produced revenue that never existed before in the state. He believes the impact is significant and that the reason California is into regulating MMA events is to prevent fighters from competing at unregulated events with no proper medical screen or doctor testing. He also stated that California has four times as many shows as other States across the country and three times as many as Nevada. Health and safety are more important issues than generating revenue.

How many people showed up at the K-1 LA Coliseum event? Mr. Garcia stated that Josh Gross put out a very accurate and detailed report that was ‘right on target’ and covered every specific detail listed in the CSAC report. Mr. Garcia asked anyone to go find a detailed attendance report on an MMA event in any other state like the one the CSAC did for the K-1 event. Mr. Garcia further stated that he wants complete disclosure on business stats for all future events. Regarding the amount of tickets sold by K-1 (3k sold by TicketMaster and 39k bought by K-1), there are three classifications for tickets not sold — comp. tickets, unsold tickets, and ‘the other.’ If the promoter cannot produce unsold tickets, then those tickets are considered sold and taxed by the state of California. As far as fees are concerned, the promoter has to provide some evidence about missing tickets or they are taxable. Mr. Garcia says he can guesstimate, but not 100% conclude what the final numbers for the LA Coliseum show were. He further stated that he wants to disclose as much information as possible, put it out on the table, and then have it judged for what it is. Josh Gross said that attendance is not the real issue coming out of the K-1 LA Coliseum show.

What kinds of issues did the CSAC have to deal with in regards to the K-1 LA Coliseum event? Mr. Garcia stated that it was an ‘extremely difficult’ last couple of months. He wants and needs K-1 to succeed, just like any other promoter that comes to the state. He sees a future with big events featuring kickboxing and MMA stars in one ring. Mr. Garcia stated that sometimes he likes Coke and sometimes he likes Pepsi. “I like diversity.” He stated that he wants to see many promoters succeed. Mr. Garcia claimed that he had a three-hour meeting in Sacramento with a K-1 official, then a 6 1/2-hour long meeting with Sadaharu Tanigawa and K-1 management in San Francisco where the commission went through every single rule with a fine-tooth comb. All the information and tools for K-1 to succeed were presented. After that, Mr. Garcia said he had a two-hour meeting with K-1/Royce Gracie employee Mike Kogan. Mr. Garcia stated that when a new promoter runs in California, he meets with them and walks the promoter through the rules & regulation process. He stated that the commission has no interest in seeing any promoter fail.

Mr. Garcia stated that California has very strict HIPAA medical records protection, so disclosing information about fighters who fail medical tests and doctor screening is a delicate issue. If the first layer of medical tests for a fighter indicates trouble, then an additional battery of tests is performed. When you get to a certain point, it is up to the physician of the CSAC to make a final determination. Mr. Garcia stated that one fighter (on the K-1 show) failed his medical tests and sought to get testing from other doctors. He labeled this process as ‘doctor shopping’ (real meaning of doctor shopping here) and that it entails having to go through an appeals process. When you start a medical hearing on a Monday and a fight event is on a Saturday, it is hard to expect to get a thorough examination done. Mr. Garcia stated that fighters were brought in close to the show deadline and said ‘they tried to bully me.’ He claimed that ‘they’ (K-1) called the mayor of Los Angeles (Antonio Villaraigosa) and the Governor’s office (Arnold Schwarzenegger). “Sorry, I don’t work scared.” Mr. Garcia said the right thing to do is to consult with experts if he doesn’t have answers to questions and that he is confident that the commission got the right answers and results.

Mr. Garcia stated that Choi Hong-Man gave him a letter the day of the weigh-ins for an appeal. He stated that the appeals process will be difficult but he (Hong-Man) will have his day if he so desires. Mr. Garcia reiterated that he alone does not make medical determinations. Mr. Garcia stated his hope that Hong-Man will not fight elsewhere if he does not appeal the medical suspension in California.

What is the anti-doping policy that the CSAC enforces? Mr. Garcia stated that California did not do consistent drug testing until he arrived. He believes that this is not a self-serving opinion but rather a fact. In the past, promoters in the state were charged for testing before new procedures were adopted. Mr. Garcia stated that the CSAC needed a written policy with research to back it up and support from the state itself. He is a state employee and must consult with various departments (such as the Dept. of Finance). Mr. Garcia stated that he looked at how WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) enforced their drug suspension policies and adapted the CSAC policy from there. He stated on the radio interview, “Do you want to really suspend a guy for two years for marijuana?” Currently in the state of California, the results of fights do not change if a fighter tests positive. Mr. Garcia said “it stinks” and that hopefully this rule is changed. He further elaborated that the CSAC has chosen the right drug testing vendor (a nationally-certified lab) and has gotten more funding from the state so that the commission can get the best pricing that will allow for the state to pick up the costs of drug testing fighters. In regards to what kinds of drugs fighters are tested for, Mr. Garcia stated that fighters are tested for steroids and ‘drugs of abuse.’ Everyone gets tested and everyone’s number eventually comes up.

Mr. Garcia addressed critics who do not like testing fighters for marijuana. He said the line of “it’s just marijuana, not a performance-enhancing drug” is a terrible message to send to kids (this statement is made at the 1:22:00 mark). Mr. Garcia stated that if you look up marijuana on Wikipedia or other reference outlets, it is listed as a psychoactive drug and he doesn’t want people using drugs (especially fighters) in the state of California. He stated that taking performance-enhancing drugs is cheating. “Whoever doesn’t like it, I don’t care.” He concluded by saying that every fighter should be prepared to be tested at every event, every time.

Mr. Garcia stated that Johnnie Morton had actually completed a form (in handwriting) to take a post-fight drug test at the hospital, but backed off from signing the document and going through on the test. The commission gave Morton 10 days to respond if he wants an appeal.

Topics: HERO's, K-1, Media, MMA, Zach Arnold | 13 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

13 Responses to “Notes on Armando Garcia radio interview”

  1. DarthMolen says:

    Very good break-down and pretty much what I heard yesterday.

    I don’t like how their doctor stops the buck for the fighter world-wide. This sounds like bullying to me. Every doctor can have a different opinion and they the fighters should be allowed a second opinion from a doctor that is california-certified that isn’t employed by the commission so they can be assured that the evaluation is fair.

  2. The whole “We’re looking into our own set of rules” thing is creepy too.

  3. chairibofjustice says:

    I found that statement rather troubling too Fightlinker. I’m surprised there are not more people are not talking about it here.

  4. chairibofjustice says:

    And it was nice to hear some new news on Morton. I don’t know what to make of him refusing to take a test and losing out on all that money.

  5. DarthMolen says:

    Eh. Type – A personalities can really develop a headcase after they lose… I’m not sweating it too hard because they did have a pee-test from before the fight.

    Maybe this is his way of refusing payment because it was such a poor performance?

    I really am grasping at straws here since Morton hasn’t weighed in with his thoughts.

  6. DarthMolen says:

    Yeah, that whole “We are looking into our own rules” is creepy.

    Maybe if he had said, “We are trying to organize an oversight committee where all states are treated equally and will work at overhauling and establishing an unified ruleset” then I would cut him some slack.

  7. chairibofjustice says:

    “Maybe this is his way of refusing payment because it was such a poor performance?”

    Yeah that had crossed my mind as well. Personally, if that was the case I wish he could have just donated the money to a charity then. He doesn’t need the cash that’s for sure. Hell the Sakuraba foundation only collected 35,000 that night.

  8. Matthew Watt says:

    “I don’t like how their doctor stops the buck for the fighter world-wide. This sounds like bullying to me. Every doctor can have a different opinion and they the fighters should be allowed a second opinion from a doctor that is california-certified that isn’t employed by the commission so they can be assured that the evaluation is fair.”

    Not a bad point Darth, but to me the real problem in this whole debacle was K-1 leaving their fighter medicals to the last week. Why leave medical issues with the most stringent athletic commission in the world to the last minute? Some of the blame has to be on K-1 for this, just complete lack or organization on their part.
    Secondly, I am surprise that people are upset with the tough medical position that the California commission has taken, yet mma fans always talk about how the sport may only be one death away from being banished in america? Seems hypocritical to me that some people have this view.

  9. TG says:

    I can’t believe wikipedia is government official’s version of research. Are you fucking kidding me? The reason this guy has the job is certainly due to his last name, not his brains. If i was the state i would fire this guy so fast, he a slander lawsuit waiting to happen. He has the energy of a typical bubble rider, super arrogant, no knowledge, and he thinks he is partly responsible for mma success in california when nothing could be farther from the truth. Scooby could do his job and MMA would be still be booming. The fact that he goes to wiki for drug information; a drug(marij) which is legal in california with a doctors approval. Does he even know that? Scary to think that these government appointees are so open about their stupidity.

  10. chairibofjustice says:

    “Scary to think that these government appointees are so open about their stupidity.”

    Garcia doesn’t even know what a cartwheel guardpass is, so I’m not surprised.

  11. […] inclusion of Hong-Man’s name on the list is interesting because Armando Garcia stated on Sherdog radio that he did not want to see Hong-Man participate elsewhere in fighting (unless he filed for an […]

  12. Alex Davis says:

    as Antonio Silvas Manager, I followd this whole K1 dynamite fiasco live, and got caught up right in the middle with Antonio.
    Ho Man Choi and Antonio share the the same condition of acromegaly, caused by a benign tumor of the Pituary Gland. Antonio and Choi have faught all over the world, and this has never been and issue. In Antonios case, all though several MRIs have been done on him. there has never been any sign of Hemorrage, however the license denial states that he was denied because of hemorrage. Mr. Garcia seems to think that his authority is planetary, when he says that he doesnt want to see Ho MMan Choi fight before he apeals to the CSAC….but at no time will he admit that
    the comission doctors opinion could be at error,even when confronted with the fact that the MRIs that was conducted on both fighters where of poor quality, and that recognized especialists have stated that these fighters are at no more or less risk of having and injury due to this medical condition than anyone else!
    He comes across as wanting to be so serious and rigorous, but at the Dynamite weigh ins, the scale was off 2 lbs! The CSAC wasnteven capable of producing an acurate scale! The whole time, Mr. Garcia was on stage ranting like a over fluffed peacock, threatening fighters and pointing fingers and showing off! The CSAC has stated that they were fining GZ Calvan for being over his assigned weight, when at the weigh in, Mr Garcia told GZs camp that his weight was fine…..
    But we must bow to this mans ego, poor judgement and understanding of the sport.

  13. […] breeds, in my opinion, an environment that people will start comparing to a nanny-state of affairs. On Sherdog radio, Mr. Garcia made the argument that MMA-related business continues to pour into California under his […]


To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture.
Anti-spam image