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The doctors who medically cleared Matt Hamill to fight while having a (labeled) staph infection

By Zach Arnold | June 23, 2010

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Be prepared to devote at least 15-30 minutes to reading everything in this article to understand the full context of what is being presented here.

This past weekend on The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale that UFC presented on Spike TV from The Palms, Matt Hamill fought Keith Jardine in the co-main event of the show. Hamill noticeably had a mark on his lower back, which was reportedly determined to be a staph infection. (Read down below for comments from Matt Hamill’s camp this morning on this.)

If you have not read the background on this, please read these two articles first:

In Ben’s article, Hamill is reported as saying that he would start taking antibiotics the day after his fight. As Eddie Goldman asked me, “Why do you need antibiotics if [the spot] is healed and not infected? And don’t you get antibiotics by prescription from one of the many doctors who cleared him?”

In the article written by MDS, Matt Hamill’s manager was quoted as saying that the Nevada State Athletic Commission was aware that Hamill had a staph infection and that he was cleared by a commission doctor to fight on Saturday night against Keith Jardine.

I contacted Duff Holmes, Matt Hamill’s manager, through Mohawk Valley MMA and received this response in regards to what the doctors examined:

“I’m not sure what the doctor’s name was. More than one looked at it and they all said it was in the healing phase and was hardened and safely under the skin. It was never diagnosed as Staph. That was an assumption made by Dr. Hamill. He has since started antibiotic therapy.”

According to Keith Kizer in an article at The Garv web site, he stated the following about the mark on Hamill’s back:

“It was hard, dry eschar. The NSAC doctor examined it and cleared Hamill. Doctors sometimes make mistakes but I know of no evidence that says she did so regarding Hamill. I stand by her.”

Mr. Kizer’s quote makes note that it was a female commission doctor who checked out Hamill’s mark. We will touch upon this later in the article.

To set up the story about Matt Hamill fighting with a staph infection in UFC last Saturday night, let’s take a look at this passage from Monday night’s Observer radio show between Bryan Alvarez and Dave Meltzer:


DAVE MELTZER: “You know, I was going to try to find that out today and just, I was so busy with so many things that I did not find out. What I can say is that they examined him before the fight, they knew he had the infection and the doctor said that it was not contagious and that he had recovered enough from it, so they OK’d. I mean, that much I know. It wasn’t like with Diego Sanchez where he didn’t know until after the fight. He knew he had something wrong but he didn’t know and then after the fight he was examined and found out that he had staph infection. You know, I mean, Matt knew, he told them, they examined it, and they cleared him.”

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “Is it odd that they would say that he’s all good to go and then later that night he said, well I’ve got to go in tomorrow for the antibiotics?”

DAVE MELTZER: “I know, I mean, I… It’s funny because you would think that you know he wouldn’t be cleared.”

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “Didn’t they kick a guy off Ultimate Fighter because he had a staph infection?”

DAVE MELTZER: “He had some kind of infection but that was contagious. They had to. This one… they ruled it wasn’t contagious, that was part of the thing.”

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “Hmmm. I’m no doctor, but…”

DAVE MELTZER: “Having a staph infection, shouldn’t that weaken you to a point where it’s… even though, he did end up winning the fight, so I guess maybe I’m wrong with this, but in theory most of the time I’ve seen guys fight with staph infections they fought like [expletive], most of the time. Now he didn’t, but… that alone would tell me that like he’s got a staph infection, I would certainly think that you know you should pull out of your fight, you know… But, I mean, it wasn’t as if you know like the doctors were so bad that they didn’t even see it, I mean they knew it, it was examined, and they cleared him, so that was all known ahead of time.”

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “Perhaps we can get somebody who’s actually an doctor to answer if there’s such a thing as a non-contagious open staph infection.”

DAVE MELTZER: “And it closed.”

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “It closed, hmm.”

DAVE MELTZER: “Now, if it was open, I don’t think they would let him fight.”

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “OK, but isn’t there a strong possibility that it could be opened in a fight?”

DAVE MELTZER: “That is one of the questions that I need to ask and I don’t know. I was thinking the same thing. I mean, I’m surprised, I’m really surprised at the way that thing went down. I mean when I heard about it, it was like, wait a minute… you know, that doesn’t make any sense but the thing was it was closed and it wasn’t contagious and but even if it wasn’t it’s like you would think that he would be weakened, I mean you get an infection and you’re weakened, you shouldn’t you know you shouldn’t let a guy impaired fight. I mean, granted, he’s not drug-impaired, but he’s physically not at his best and isn’t that like… I, um… Yeah, I am… You know, it’s a very valid question and I need to find out more about that myself.”

As we have seen throughout the sports world, the issue of staph infections (including MRSA) is a very serious health and safety issue. There are different levels of infections, but it is especially notable to discuss the issue of staph infections in relation to the fight game. In an MMA fight, you have all sorts of factors at play in terms of the transmission of bodily fluids — blood, sweat, saliva. It is very easy to spread a staph infection around in a ring or a cage. In the case of Matt Hamill, he fought Keith Jardine and Jardine was a bloody mess during the fight. After their fight, Court McGee and Kris McCray fought in the same cage. Multiple people were exposed in the cage to an environment where Matt Hamill fought with a staph infection mark on his back.

This is the first half of the story that most of the media and the fans have focused on. What hasn’t been addressed is the medical history of the commission doctor in question who Keith Kizer noted as the one who inspected the mark on Matt Hamill’s back. That is the second half of the story that we will address here in this article.

Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports reported that Matt Hamill received clearance from his personal doctor, UFC doctor Jeff Davidson, and by a Nevada State Athletic Commission doctor.

Dr. Davidson, who has appeared on television in the past on The Ultimate Fighter reality show, is an Emergency Medicine doctor who works at Emcare (500 N. Rainbow Blvd., Suite 203 in Las Vegas). Here is his medical background:

When Keith Kizer noted that a female doctor examined the spot on Matt Hamill’s back, he pinpointed which doctor it was that examined Matt. The doctor noted by Mr. Kizer is Dr. Vicki Mazzorana. As noted on the NSAC web site, she was one of four ringside physicians who worked the UFC show for the commission. Her background includes being an assistant professor at the University of Nevada Medical Center EMR (Emergency Medicine Residency) program in Las Vegas where she specializes in ultrasounds. Dr. Mazzorana has worked with the Nevada State Athletic Commission as a physician for a few years now.

Her medical license number according to the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners is #11460 and she is involved in emergency medicine. Her education is as follows:

Dr. Mazzorana, in addition to working at the Med School in Las Vegas and working as a physician for the Nevada State Athletic Commission, also owned an abortion clinic in Las Vegas called Clinica de Mujeres. located at 3700 E Charleston Blvd in a suite alongside an office called Estrella Insurance. The office sign was in Spanish. Clinica de Mujeres was a target of the anti-abortion group Operation Save America. Here is a picture/article from Operation Save America on Clinica de Mujeres. OSA had labeled the clinic as an ‘abortion mill.’

Here are several newspaper and media articles discussing what happened when a local member of OSA contacted the state’s Board of Health division and filed a complaint:

The Nevada State Health Division put out this release last year.

Contact Name: Ben Kieckhefer
Phone Number: 775-684-4024
Release Date: July 7, 2009


(Carson City, NV) – The Nevada State Health Division’s Bureau of Health Care Quality and Compliance today delivered a cease operations letter to a Las Vegas clinic performing surgeries without a license. The letter was delivered to the Clinica de Mujeres at 3700 E. Charleston Blvd., which is owned by Dr. Vickie Mazzorana.

After receiving a complaint that the clinic was performing abortions in an unsafe environment, inspectors with the bureau entered the clinic today and found medical equipment, medications and hand-out literature consistent with the complaint, along with various infection control deficiencies, including breaches in sterile packaging and no manual or policy for a sterilization machine.

Although the facility appears to be licensed as a clinic by the City of Las Vegas, any facility performing surgeries for ambulatory patients is required to be licensed as an ambulatory surgery center by the State of Nevada, which Clinica de Mujeres is not.

Inspectors also believe the clinic was dispensing prescription medications without a license, and is forwarding that information to the Board of Pharmacy. Findings from the inspection will also be forwarded to the Board of Medical Examiners for review of the physician who owns the clinic, as well as the Attorney General’s office for review.

In recent weeks the Bureau has issued cease operations letters to three other facilities performing unlicensed surgeries. Health Division Administrator Richard Whitely said the recent spate of investigations at unlicensed surgery centers has revealed a common theme.

“Across the board, aside from performing surgeries without a license, each of the facilities we’ve ordered to cease operations has prominent infection control problems,” Whitely said. “Infection controls are in place to protect each individual patient, but also the public health in general. Rogue facilities that are not following procedures pose a tremendous risk to patients, and people should only receive care in appropriately licensed facilities.”

The Bureau of Health Care Quality and Compliance protects the safety and welfare of the public through the promotion and advocacy of quality health care through licensing, regulation, enforcement and education. This mission is accomplished through the Bureau’s two sections: Licensure and Certification, which regulates facilities such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, group homes, hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers and laboratories; and Radiological Health, which evaluates and responds to hazards from sources of ionizing radiation such as X-ray machines, sources of radiation to treat cancer and mammography units.

You will notice that Ben Kieckhefer’s name surfaces in that press release and also in the articles linked up above covering this story. Ben Kieckhefer is now running for state office in Nevada and I contacted his representative for comment. No direct comment was given and I was forwarded to Martha Framsted of Nevada’s Board of Health. She issued the following statement on Dr. Mazzorana and Clinica de Mujeres:

The cease order was withdrawn later in the month due to insufficient evidence that the doctor was operating an ambulatory surgery center without a license.

I was forwarded to the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners. I did not receive a response from them to my inquiry.

As for Dr. Mazzorana, I was able to obtain contact information for her from the state’s Board of Pharmacy, but I did not receive a response from her in return. Here were some questions that I asked her:

  1. Was [Hamill’s] infection at a certain level in which it was believed to be comfortable enough to allow him to fight in the cage without the infection spreading to other fighters via blood or by touching the canvas?
  2. Does a doctor need to be a dermatologist or specialist to make the correct diagnosis on such a condition?
  3. Are you currently operating a clinic or a medical office at this time?

As with all inquiries I made on this story, I allowed for at least 24 hours for a response before publication. If any parties respond to my inquiries after this article is published, I will gladly integrate their comments into the article and alert all the readers about any new responses I receive.

In order to fully understand the situation, you have to read all of the articles linked here. Otherwise, you will miss a piece of the puzzle here, a piece there, and so on. This is a complicated, detailed story.

The reason I wanted to focus on this side of the story is because of what the Board of Health determined when they sent inspectors to Clinica de Mujeres. As noted in the OSHA article, Dr. Mazzorana was cleared of any licensing issues a day after the inspection. However, the same article noted that issues relating to sterilization of packaging and documentation for a sterilization machine had to be addressed before the clinic could re-open its doors.

Veteran MMA writer Eddie Goldman touched upon this subject yesterday on his radio show. This is his opinion on the subject.

“So, we had a chance to communicate by e-mail with Dr. Margaret Goodman, the former head of the medical advisory board of the Nevada State Athletic Commission and really somebody that was known as one of the fiercest defenders of health and safety for fighters in both boxing and Mixed Martial Arts, which is one of the reasons the promoters didn’t like her. So, since it was the weekend and she was very busy, we got a written statement from her and I’m going to read her comments on this, which I think are very important and present a lot of interesting information. And Dr. Goodman is also the medical correspondent on this show and a practicing neurologist wrote:

I applaud Dr. Benjamin for speaking out on this very serious issue. I have seen the NSAC and UFC shut down their Ultimate Fighter gym and their personal gym when there was evidence of a staph infection. With that said, I know that if I had still been with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, I would have had the fighter cleared by a dermatologist and for him to submit a report from his treating physician to the commission. I believe this is the only true to determine the stage of the lesion and whether or not it was contagious and I think it would be helpful to have the fighter and/or the fighter’s doctor explain how the abnormality was treated prior to the fight.’ That was the quote from the e-mail we got from Dr. Margaret Goodman.

“And what’s very interesting here, I don’t know whether she saw this fight or not, but if she did she’s just watching it on TV like a lot of people were, how can you tell so easily that this was contagious or not? A lot of people suspect it was contagious but that’s why you go to a specialist. Well, who is the doctor that’s been criticized so much? The doctor who cleared Matt Hamill to fight is named Dr. Vicki Mazzorana. She’s been with the Nevada commission for about two years, since June 2008, and she has been a physician for numerous fights both boxing and MMA including some major fights such as the Pacquiao-Cotto fight last November. But she is primarily an emergency room doctor. She’s not a dermatologist, she’s not a specialist in what was needed for this particular case with Matt Hamill. In fact, there’s been a lot of controversy around Dr. Vicki Mazzorana in the past. According to a news release by the Nevada State Health Division that came out in July of 2009, Dr. Mazzorana owned a clinic called Clinica de Mujertes at 3700 East Charleston Blvd that was an abortion clinic and the Nevada State Health Division’s bureau health care and compliance delivered a cease operations letter because they were performing surgeries without a license and you can search this, this is on the web site and this is also referred in a number of news articles from Las Vegas.

“According to this news release after receiving a complaint that the clinic was performing abortions in an unsafe environment, inspectors with the bureau entered the clinic Tuesday, this was in July of last year, and found medical equipment, medications, and handout literature consistent with the complaint along with various infection control deficiencies including breaches in sterile packaging and no manual or policy for sterilization machines. Although the facility appears to be licensed as a clinic by the city of Las Vegas, any facility performing surgeries for ambulatory patients is required to be licensed as an ambulatory surgery clinic by the State of Nevada which Clinica de Mujertes is not. Inspectors also believe the clinic was dispensing prescription medications without a license and is forwarding that information to the Board of Pharmacy. These are some pretty serious charges that caused this clinic, the Clinica de Mujertes, to be closed down and again this is owned by Dr. Vicki Mazzorana. I actually don’t have any information on follow-ups with what has happened in the 11 months since it was closed down, but I think if you look at this complaint and you look at what happened in the Matt Hamill fight, you find that one of the reasons they closed it down among many is according to this news release infection control deficiencies, including breaches in sterile packaging and no manual or policy for a sterilization machine.

“Now we have a situation where as a fight physician for the Nevada commission, Dr. Mazzorana was examining Matt Hamill before his fight and there was evidence of an infection. Instead of going to a specialist, a dermatologist, she just cleared him and told people, again this is from the article, ‘that it was healing and hardened to the point that it posed no threat to Matt or anyone else inside the Octagon.’ Now you really have to question how is Dr. Vicki Mazzorana qualified as an emergency room doctor to make that decision without going to a dermatologist and when one of the reasons that the clinic in which she owned was closed down was because of infection control deficiencies. What happened to safety first?

“If they weren’t able to get Hamill cleared, of course he wouldn’t been able to fight. It would have disrupted the card. Some people would have been upset, but what was so important that this fight couldn’t have been postponed? Just because they had this card scheduled and they advertise it, if you fail the medical, well guess what? They would have had to have gotten another main event and that’s the way it is in the fight game, in the sports world. But instead, he was allowed to fight and now many people like Dr. Goodman and Dr. Benjamin are questioning what the hell is going on with the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

“A couple of weeks ago, we had the complete mess with the New York State Athletic Commission with the Miguel Cotto/Yuri Foreman fight where Foreman’s corner threw the towel in and referee Arthur McCanty basically threw it back and let the fight continue even though Foreman could barely stand up, was a one-legged fighter. Now we have this situation where a fighter with a staph infection is allowed to fight by an emergency room doctor who works as a ringside physician and there are questions about what she knows or doesn’t know any way about the whole issue of infections.

“What is happening with the combat sports is an absolute disgrace. Fighter safety is being thrown out the window by these crazy commissions who are working to please the promoters rather than protect the fighters. It’s getting worse and worse and worse with all these commissions and I’m telling you, it’s getting to the point where it’s going to head to some kind of tragedy. There aren’t a lot of people in the worlds of Mixed Martial Arts and boxing talking about this but we could be seeing, just like you have with BP in the Gulf of Mexico a disaster there, we could be seeing a disaster in boxing and/or Mixed Martial Arts because of the nonsense going on with these athletic commissions. People have to speak up, people have to speak up loudly and clearly or else somebody could be maimed or die in one of these events. It’s happened before in boxing, it’s happened much less frequently in MMA, but that could be next.”

The question raised here by Dr. Goodman is why a dermatologist wasn’t used to examine Matt Hamill’s staph infection mark as opposed to doctors from other fields, like emergency medicine.

To close out this article, here is a passage from Sherdog radio on Monday talking about the importance of this topic and the overall importance of having competent medical evaluations by the athletic commissions for fighters:

JACK ENCARNACAO: “Because you know all the time, you know I’ll be watching fights with people who aren’t necessarily attune to MMA and as soon as they blood shed, one of the first things I always hear and this goes back to really the NBA and the action they took after Magic Johnson contracted [HIV] is ‘what about AIDS? what about blood transfusable infections? what about the things that can happen when two guys are rolling around on top of each other with open cuts?’ And you know my gut instinct is that, yeah, that actually, there’s HIV testing, there’s Hepatitis testing, there’s all these instances of fighters who aren’t allowed to fight because you know there’s even just rumors of them having these conditions if not you know confirmation. It’s kind of private medical information, so all we have to really work with is rumors about you know which fighters have which problems with that kind of stuff. But, you know, that calls into question, Lutfi. I’m sure there’s going to be slips every time in to the system.

“But I mean, I go back to the Tito Ortiz fight against Forrest Griffin. I mean, how did that guy get cleared if he had compressed vertrabrae in his neck? Is there no test along the way in the examination that would detect that or I mean I know a lot of these guys are good enough to beat it… Joe Soto, for instance, tells the story of how before he won the Bellator tournament season one, he suffered a big cut I think in sparring or in rolling around pre-fight and they kicked in this emergency action plan where they ended up at Macy’s or some make-up shop and they touched it up with cover-up and whoever was the doctor that night didn’t see it and he went into the fight with a cut that easily would have cut him out of action had it been detected I think because it was a significant gash but you know it paid off for him. He ended up winning the Bellator title, walking in $175,000 and the rest is history. But, yeah, I think there might be more slip-ups at the medical examination phase than we would be comfortable acknowledging sometimes, Lotfi.”

LUTFI SARIAHMED: “It is… It is very disconcerting, especially considering just… the big hole that they basically ran right through there. I mean, it’s not necessarily Hamill’s fault, it’s not Jardine’s fault, it’s not anybody’s fault, certainly not Jardine’s fault, but it’s not certainly Matt Hamill’s fault or anybody in his camp because I mean the point is to fight, if you can get away with it I mean you want to make your money and you want to move on, you can’t blame him for wanting to make a living and not pulling out of this fight at the last minute. Fighters don’t do that for serious injuries and they make excuses about it afterwards. But the issue is, this is supposed to be, things like this are supposed to be in place to try to prevent that and… basically, Matt Hamill and company drove a big truck right through that hole and the doctor just missed it. I mean… you just kind of throw up your hands and just try to figure out what exactly just happened here because that’s a serious issue that needs addressing. How, with Matt Hamill, this picture that’s on Bloody Elbow right now, on it’s third page, just… gives you the, uh, gives you the photograph of it. I mean, almost too perfectly, it’s kind of disgusting. But, you see what’s right there, you saw it on the screen, you saw it during the fight. We all saw it. There had to be something wrong. Doctor apparently cleared it. That’s an awful job by the doctor.”

JACK ENCARNACAO: “Yeah, yeah, it’s something that… something that you know just can’t be let go, something that just can’t be you know dismissed as insignificant or dismissed as you know people without all the facts making the judgment calls or Internet… because I have to say, I mean, it’s kind of sad sometimes how commissions react to criticisms from… the media criticism is one thing but they really belittle the MMA media in terms of when they come out at them, it’s just ‘fringe web sites’ and ‘haters’ and ‘crazy people’ and ‘conspiracy theorist’ and stuff like that. I think that brush is used to paint too broadly sometimes without actually evaluating you know and trying t and making an effort to differentiate between criticism that might be ham-fisted and criticism that might be you know well-reasoned and meticulous. I can’t see here any level of outrage being unjustified, I mean that’s just, that’s a danger to everybody. I mean, not just Keith Jardine, but Court McGee and Kris McCray who went on last…”

Topics: All Topics, Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 29 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

29 Responses to “The doctors who medically cleared Matt Hamill to fight while having a (labeled) staph infection”

  1. Miller says:

    Dave Meltzer sounds like he’s covering for the commission there. He made it sound innocent until the other guy proded him and he had to admit that it could be opened in a fight. I know he’s in UFC’s pocket, is he a commission bitch too?

  2. Steve says:

    Eddie Goldman pretty much sums it all up with statement.

    “Fighter safety is being thrown out the window by these crazy commissions who are working to please the promoters rather than protect the fighters”

    The athletic commissions don’t give a flying fuck about fighter safety. They just do the bare minimum to keep up the appearance of giving a damn about the fighter’s safety while what they really care about is collecting their check from the promoter. Guys like Kizer and former CSAC head Armando Garcia will turn a blind eye to just about anything in order to keep those checks coming.

    • Mr.Roadblock says:

      That is 100% correct. I’m not sure why people have a hard time understanding this.

      Also this is not a new situation. Guys constantly fight with staph infections and herpes outbreaks. It is very gross. But it is common.

    • chris says:

      Do Kizer or Armando Garcia(when he was chief) ever see a dime from promoters or events? They technically work for the state/are appointed by the Governor of their state. Taxes and fees are paid to the state treasurer, not the commission. The commissions work on a budget allocated by the state, however I’m sure the more events they conduct in the state, the larger the budgets are in the next fiscal year?

      I don’t see what benefits (other than under the table, or a 300k bag of money in your state office building’s personal locker) is in it for a head of a commission to run a broken ship, if your goal is to launch yourself into a political office using your time as a commission official as public service work is one thing, but these guys like Nick Lembo in NJ are lifetime commission guys, so what do they “gain” from turning a blind eye to these problems?

      • Mr. Roadblock says:

        The commission takes a cut of ticket sales and that goes to the State.

        The commissions don’t like to cancel main events because then people can demand their money back.

        Many legitimate questions about the relationship between UFC and NSAC have been raised. They stem from Frank Fertitta being on the NSAC and blocking the UFC’s reinstatement under its old management, then buying UFC and it getting the OK to run Vegas. Also the guy who had Kizer’s gig before him, Marc Ratner, now works for UFC.

        There have been numerous strange rulings and borderline shakedown tactics of promotions other than UFC by the NSAC and Armando Garcia’s regime in California.

        • The Gaijin says:

          I’m telling you – Kizer will have a cushy role with Zuffa or one of the Station Casinos within 8 months of leaving the NSAC.

          It’s just like all these other guys that get into government and jump into the back pocket of the lobbyists…as soon as their tenure is up on the Hill they’re working cushy consulting jobs for these same companies.

          Lobbying is the best return on a company’s dollar in the US and it’s going to be another one of the things that sinks it as an economic superpower and leader of industry.

  3. Jon says:

    Great digging and great article, Zach.

  4. The Gaijin says:

    Not to hijack the thread, but just wanted to bring to your guys attention a pretty cool article/oral history on the original PRIDE GP. Lots of interesting quotes and insights from fighters, media members and others.

    “Pride and Glory”

    For all the crap Sherdog takes (some quite justified), this is pretty awesome.

    Sorry, something weird happened to my link.

    • chris says:

      F Sherwood and double F Josh Gross, both are punks and are bottom feeders. Sherwood used to cry from the rooftops along with Gross about being kept out of the UFC for years, they wanted the free comped lunch buffet tickets before the event obviously. How Gross continues to find work and advance in MMA reporting mean he’s great at giving handies or I don’t know(I don’t go to si or read their work because he’s lead there), for years his articles were one sided biased pieces of shit that he claimed to be “news articles” and whatnot.
      Sherwood, through the sherdog site did a lot for the early MMA community, but then again it was more about the fans coming together and forming a community than him doing it, he was just one of the first to offer a restricted forum to speak on as long as you weren’t negatively speaking about his site.
      Josh Gross still in my eyes reports with a vengeful spite in him, and his tweets I see from time to time also carry those undertones.

  5. chris says:

    Couldn’t whats her face just simply get out her dirty tools and cut out his infection and send him on his merry way?
    The way I understand it Nevada has abortion laws on the books that make it legal, I would ASSUME this clinic, with a spanish name, catered to a very specific clientele in the area. The ones who don’t have legal papers, the ones who don’t have the necessary documentation that would allow them access to either proper health care as they see fit for their own personal situation (not jumping into the whole prolife/choice debate here). I know right to lifers to some deplorable tactics to achieve their goals in their “war” so anytime I hear of a group claiming this and that, I try to look at it from a different POV. The fact the cease operations order was removed it seems as fast as it was delivered makes me think there’s more to the story than just reported.

    As far as this doctor, who visually seems to have failed in her job from a public POV on that goatse that was growing off Hamill’s back, I agree that proper documentation and specialist should have cleared him, as there were to be numerous fighters, in the locker room and in the cage who would come in direct contact with where Matt was preparing for his fight or the fight itself. How long did he have the lesion? Did he wake up with it the morning of the fight? Obviously we’ll never know.
    As much as I like to think the UFC when it comes to medicals etc does everything by the book but we all know that’s far from the truth, they might not be the worst but probably are no angels.

    The one quote that I can’t get out of my head, either cagepotato,bloodyelbow or fightlinker had the press conf. quote when Hammill showed the lesion to the press, and Chris Leben said “Ewww… it just winked at me.”
    To me? joking or not, that sounds like an open sore to me. But I’m not doctor and Leben, while he’s a hell of a bed wetter, isn’t a doctor either.

    I’m kinda lost. Everyone is to blame.
    Hammill and his coaches for allowing him to fight, money needed, headline bout whatever excuses made, needing to hype his movie, whatever it is. They allowed him to put other fighters at a serious health risk, all for selfish gains.
    The UFC, for obviously seeing it and knowing about it and either 1, having their doctors peak it and therefore having the UFC be prepared to acknowledge they know of the issue but their team of crack scientists say he’s good to go & there’s no medical issue (so articles like this don’t have a legit reason to be researched and published).
    The commission doctors, regardless if you have a clean record or a muddy past, while an Emergency Room doctor, is essentially a quick fix it on the spot who knows enough about everything on the fly, the prefight medicals that other doctors would have checked him out and no one raised red flags that are being acknowledged? Or,did the doctors on pressure from the commission, the host casino site or the promoters push the paperwork through behind the scenes? And then why? Financial interests(obv)? But where is the gain? short and long term?

    This whole thing, not your reporting, but the situation, the story has so many holes to it that it’s mind boggling. Tito Ortiz, Forrest Griffin as you mention fought with injuries they shouldn’t have been approved to fight with. Same holds true for Shogun Rua in Los Angeles last month, same from Thiago Alves in NJ, and who’s to say if Wand Silva would have been cleared with a broken rib to fight Akiyama in 2 weeks? The commission is the last line of defense, the end all be all of fighter safety. You can’t rely on every camp,fighter,trainer to always look out for their guys well being, money is always a deciding factor in that equation.
    The UFC has their financial interests, Spike TV too, they push, advertise, put down money for these events and having to switch fighters or nix a main event fight would be bad for short term business. (now that I think about it, I was puzzled as to “why?” the TUF Finale fight with McCray was “promoted” to the main event slot of the show 3 days before the event over Hammill/Jardine). You would hope that the UFC would nix a fighter for his own safety and the others around him if they were privy(and you know they are)to serious problems their fighters might have going into an event. The negative publicity isn’t worth a million PPV buys (is a 25 million dollar ppv profit/cut in exchange for bad publicity a bad thing? lol)
    The commissions have to be the end all be all, these aren’t minor medical concerns, at this level the scrutiny of the public eye is obvious, but what about all these hundreds of smaller events no one ever hears of? Where the level a safety and concern won’t be there except by hopefully a commission? At the end of the day, no matter who bent who’s arms and what went on, the commission doctors seem to have dropped the ball again and things like this will only continue to get worse until someone is permanently maimed or ends of with a MRSA which will produce a MRSA bacterial death sooner than later regardless if it’s in boxing or mma, the doctors have the responsibility for everyones safety first, before financial concerns or who’s hired them.

    Ofcourse we know since the Doctors work for the commissions, they’ll just nix someone they can’t see eye to eye with.

    Fascinating read Zach.

    • The Gaijin says:

      “Couldn’t whats her face just simply get out her dirty tools and cut out his infection and send him on his merry way?”

      LOL – WHUT?

      • chris says:

        I’ll explain it better, couldn’t this doctor just have gone to her abortion clinic, get her dirty tools and then just cut the growth outta Matt and send him on his merry way with some antibiotics for tomorrow, like her clinic allegedly would any of their female clients.

        • The Gaijin says:

          Hahaha…sorry I’ve got to admit that by the gigantic mess of a comment you made, I honestly thought you were being serious!

          Fix those comments up sir!

  6. edub says:

    Jesus, it’s sad that nothing can be done about government appointed official, and illegal practices continue to run rampant thru commissions.

    It’s better to just forget about it, and not care rather than getting worked up over it.

    Nothing will ever get done.

    • chris says:

      I was thinking the same thing while taking a shower this morning after my posts. We have judges, circuit judges, not mma judges, like real court room judges, who openly use their own adgendas while using the bench as a platform. Fuck, the judge who ruled against Obama’s drilling ban in the gulf yesterday, it turns out his stock portfolio is FILLED with Oil drilling platforms stock and other oil based stocks. So even a judge on a national level uses their power and pull for their own benefit and obvious benefit to those that support him.
      The whole system is fucked, everyones out for themselves first and foremost. There’s no such thing as “We are all one” in this world as it should be and the more power you obtain it seems those who have it have greed as a motive behind it.

      On a side note, Boxing never had a union, or a compensation fund for retirement or healthcare. Why should MMA or the UFC create a support fund for guys who most of them work no more than a handful of days for them before they move on. MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing are temporary careers, like Football and other pro sports. It’s not the fans job to give a dollar to support a fund, sure it’s a novel idea but at the end of the if there was a “fighter’s union” inplace, taking mandatory yearly “dues” from their members for the unions profit, what would THEY DO, hypothetically in a situation like this when fighters safety is called into question? As far as I see it an mma union is a joke because I don’t see what kind of protection they could offer fighters in a situation like this, for guys who were on the card with Hammill without getting all the guys blacklisted for refusing to fight. MMA fighters on a health safety strike? lol.

  7. […] story to how and by whom he was cleared to fight. In a report this morning from Zach Arnold at, he runs down the nefarious background of the doctor that cleared Hamill to fight on Saturday, one […]

  8. edub says:

    Wand is out vs Akiyama.

    Leben looks like he’s gonna be the replacement.

    Leben by KO.

    • Oh Yeah says:

      If that happens, they might have to bring back Rosholt to stop him.

      People like to knock Leben’s tenure in the UFC, but he wins a decent % of his fights.

  9. […] Hamill’s manager now says the mark was never diagnosed as staph. “I’m not sure what the doctor’s name was. More than […]

  10. peraro says:

    The whole system is fucked, everyones out for themselves first and foremost. There’s no such thing as “We are all one” in this world as it should be and the more power you obtain it seems those who have it have greed as a motive behind it.

  11. Keith Harris says:

    Great article, Zach. Keep up the good work on this important issue.

  12. […] When I wrote a detailed article about the doctors who cleared Matt Hamill to fight with the mark on his back last Saturday, it was a revealing article in many ways. Some good things and some bad things. […]

  13. […] This is why I put up the label on our article on Wednesday that you needed to spend some time to read everything in it and to understand the context of what was being discussed along with all sides being presented. I made that labeld because I knew one of three things would happen: […]

  14. […] Matt Hamill fighting with his staph infection wound? In the article we wrote about this incident, Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports said that Dr. Davidson was one of three doctors who gave Hamill the […]


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