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Georgia’s Andy Foster takes over paralyzed California State Athletic Commission, but with a twist…

By Zach Arnold | October 23, 2012

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The media headlines today (here and here) about former Georgia Athletic Board boss Andy Foster taking over as the Executive Officer of the California State Athletic Commission fail to address the back story on how this move happened and what it means for California’s combat sports scene.

Let’s start off with an introduction of who Andy Foster is. From his Georgia profile:

Director Foster was appointed by Secretary of State Karen Handel in 2008 and was retained by Secretary of State Brian Kemp in 2010. Before his appointment, Director Foster served the Commission as Head Mixed Martial Arts Referee. Director Foster is a former mixed martial artist with a professional record of 9-2 and an amateur record of 8-0. Director Foster has also participated in amateur boxing, amateur kickboxing, and amateur grappling. In addition, Director Foster was a martial arts instructor between 2001 and 2008. Director Foster promoted five mixed martial arts bouts and two professional boxing cards between 1999 and 2003. Director Foster currently serves the Association of Boxing Commissions as Chairman of the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts Committee, member of the Unified Rules of Professional Mixed Martial Arts Committee, member of the Mixed Martial Arts Judging Committee, member of the Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Matchmaking Committee, and as a member of Mixed martial Arts Training Committee. Director Foster has a vast knowledge of combative sports regulation and serves as Region 2 Director of the Association of Boxing Commissions.

Andy is a former MMA fighter and is extremely active as a regulator. Greg Savage profiled Andy’s appearance at the latest Association of Boxing Commissions meeting this year in Tampa:

Another point of concern for the ABC members in attendance was the future appointment of George Dodd’s successor as executive director of the CSAC. Pennsylvania Director Greg Sirb spoke up in open session to lobby for a role, either directly or indirectly, for the ABC in helping California choose a suitable replacement.

Sirb called Dodd a “nice guy who was in over his head,” and opined that he was not given the tools or budget to run a successful operation. It was clear he was hoping for an experienced regulator to take his place.

Georgia Executive Director Andy Foster gave an impassioned presentation imploring his colleagues to use the best officials at their disposal. His Southern drawl in full effect, Foster hammered away at his anonymous targets, both in attendance as well as in absentia about the use of boxing officials to referee and judge MMA. New Jersey Commission chief Aaron Davis voiced his support for Foster’s comments.

Foster also asked the assembled state commission representatives to either regulate amateur MMA or ban it in their states. This drew a rousing chorus of applause from a number of the members. It is a hotly-contested issue but Foster and his supporters believe that the health and welfare of amateur fighters is best served by athletic commissions who have the safety of the athletes in mind.

The irony of ABC’s MMA man taking over the role as E.O. at CSAC while Kirik Jenness is sending a deadbeat letter to Che Guevara for the MMA LLC database is not lost on me.

On paper, and in a vacuum, the announcement of Andy Foster taking over as E.O. of CSAC is a really good move. If you were starting the commission over with a clean slate, it’s exactly the right move.

However, there’s a twist to this story that may change your tune about today’s announcement.

DCA vs. CSAC civil war continues

While there were four finalists for the interview round at the CSAC meeting in Los Angeles to determine who the Commission body (John Frierson, Gene Hernandez, Dr. VanBuren Ross Lemons, Chris Giza, Dean Grafilo) would like to see as the next Executive Officer, the truth is that the parasitic Department of Consumer Affairs maintained control of the process in picking the next Executive Officer.

Take a look at section 18613 of the state’s Business & Professions Code:

18613. (a) (1) The commission shall appoint a person exempt from civil service who shall be designated as an executive officer and who shall exercise the powers and perform the duties delegated by the commission and vested in him or her by this chapter. The appointment of the executive officer is subject to the approval of the Director of Consumer Affairs.

(2) The commission may employ in accordance with Section 154 other personnel as may be necessary for the administration of this chapter.

154. Any and all matters relating to employment, tenure or discipline of employees of any board, agency or commission, shall be initiated by said board, agency or commission, but all such actions shall, before reference to the State Personnel Board, receive the approval of the appointing power.

To effect the purposes of Division 1 of this code and each agency of the department, employment of all personnel shall be in accord with Article XXIV of the Constitution, the law and rules and regulations of the State Personnel Board. Each board, agency or commission, shall select its employees from a list of eligibles obtained by the appointing power from the State Personnel Board. The person selected by the board, agency or commission to fill any position or vacancy shall thereafter be reported by the board, agency or commission, to the appointing power.

Did this happen? No. What happened is that the Commission body interviewed the four finalists, who were chosen by DCA in the first place, and then DCA top brass (Denise Brown, Awet Kidane, legal dummy Doreathea Johnson) made the decision as to who would be the next Executive Officer.

Just because Andy Foster (the right man) was picked does not mean that CSAC itself is being respected in terms of authority. They are eunuchs at this point because of the Department of Consumer Affairs. Sacramento is ignoring all the laws and is continuing the same kind of behavior that ran CSAC into the ground in the first place.

Anyone who thinks that Consumer Affairs is approaching the athletic commission with a clean slate may want to think again.

DCA’s planted pot in the interview round

You remember Kathi Burns, the DCA lifer who magically applied for the job of being George Dodd’s Assistant Executive Officer only to end up taking over the duties as E.O. at CSAC when Dodd got forced out? She had no interest in combat sports but was given the job because it was a pay raise. Within a couple of months, she was begging to get the hell out of the job and got a transfer to the California Highway Patrol. The damage she did at CSAC is in full effect today. Ask the fighters in Oxnard who got stiffed on cash all about that.

When the Department of Consumer Affairs did their final round of four candidates for the Executive Officer job, they pulled the same stunt here as they did when they had Kathi Burns as their spy on George Dodd. Che Guevara, the dangerous Chief Athletic Inspector in the Sacramento office, was the first pair of eyes for DCA in spying on Dodd and making Dodd’s life miserable. Burns was the second pair of eyes.

In the final interview round, DCA inserted one of their low-level employees into the interview process. His name is John Perry. While he is a fan of MMA, he has no experience in the sport itself. Take a look at this tax records:

As you’ll notice, Perry is the perfect kind of plant for DCA. DCA could move him to CSAC for a pay raise while being able to control everything he does. Similar to what they did with Bill Douglas when Armando Garcia got jettisoned out of Sacramento.

Even though Perry did not get picked as Executive Officer at CSAC, there are two completely plausible scenarios in which he now can surface when it comes to the athletic commission.

1. Play the Kathi Burns role.

It would not surprise me at all to see DCA ‘offer’ Andy Foster the services of John Perry as an Assistant Executive Officer. This would give DCA another pair of eyes to spy on Foster and keep him from being independent. Perry has been at various CSAC meetings before as an analyst, so this is a possibility.

2. Take over commission duties if CSAC gets sunset.

This is the much bigger issue at play here.

A source in the California Legislature has indicated to us that results of the Joint Audit Committee’s audit of CSAC will be released in March 2013. Around the same time, the state Senate’s Business & Professions Committee will have a hearing as to whether or not they will sunset the California State Athletic Commission. Sunsetting means that the commission body would be wiped out and that there would no longer be any sort of public transparency. No more meetings, nothing. CSAC would dissolve into a licensing agency for Consumer Affairs. People who you’ve never heard of before in Sacramento office cubicles would be making decisions about combat sports in California. Imagine having 20 or 30 different Che Guevaras running operations. That’s how bad it would be.

This is where Perry fits in perfectly. Since he’s already been interviewed as a finalist for the Executive Officer job, he fits the m.o. of DCA as the perfect candidate to take over their business affairs should CSAC get sunset in March.

And if CSAC gets sunset in March? Here’s the twist — it means Andy Foster is out of a job.

Che Guevara continues to build his power

It’s one thing to be stupid. It’s another to be arrogant. It’s a third thing to be a liar. If you happen to be a combination of all three factors, it makes you a dangerous person. That is Che Guevara in a nut shell.

This is a man who perjured himself over the Antonio Margarito illegal hand-wraps scandal. He got a job promotion for his incompetence. He was put in a position to teach other inspectors how to sport illegal hand-wraps & skinned gloves… and naturally, the inspectors he has ‘trained’ can’t do the job right. This is also a man whose office has instructed inspectors to manipulate fighter paperwork because the Sacramento office inexplicably loses medical records all the time. Where are these records going?

This is a man who has cost the state of California up to 7 figures because he and the inspectors he is supposed to train can’t manage a box office at a show.

These are conditions ripe for job termination. Instead, if you are Che Guevara, you continue to gain political power. Unless Che Guevara is fired immediately, no one can plausibly argue that the Department of Consumer Affairs is starting CSAC over with a clean slate by appointing Andy Foster to the job. In fact, DCA has continued to build Guevara’s political power structure even more in the front office once Kathi Burns left the commission.

Until Che Guevara is fired, Andy Foster will unfortunately have to be this guy’s part-time babysitter. He will have to spend his energy cleaning up this guy’s messes. He will also have to spend his energy watching his back because of Che Guevara’s behavior in the office and on the ground at shows. If Che Guevara is fired, Andy Foster may have a chance of doing some good things. If Che Guevara is not fired, Andy Foster’s tenure in California will end on a sour note.

Andy Foster is a good man taking a huge risk by making the move from Georgia to California. The pay increase is not significant enough to justify making the downgrade of moving from Atlanta to Sacramento. In addition to the increase in cost-of-living, Andy’s about to get swamped with about four times the show work and about 100 times the political & managerial headaches of dealing with Denise Brown and company in Sacramento.

He’s a brave man for taking the job. The task ahead is an enormous challenge.

The ghost of Bill Douglas

I mentioned Bill Douglas’ name here earlier. Remember him? He was the guy charged with 7 misdemeanors for allegedly trying to sabotage George Dodd and the CSAC front office.

A plea deal is in the works and the next court date is on November 20th. Bottom line, his days of state employment are over.

The track record of how former Executive Officers in California see their careers end is rather ugly.

Topics: CSAC, Media, MMA, Zach Arnold | 7 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

7 Responses to “Georgia’s Andy Foster takes over paralyzed California State Athletic Commission, but with a twist…”

  1. Tomer says:

    Still, nothing beats the Illinois governor post-office track record.

  2. John Lovell says:

    I am very enthusiastic about the appointment of Andy Foster as CSAC Executive Officer. He brings expertise, integrity, and excellent leadership skills. If Mr. Foster has portfolio to lead, combat sports in California will be wel served.

  3. Andy Foster is an experienced multi-disciplined fighter who has trained in Mixed Martial Arts since 1997. He is trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Taekwondo, Aikido, Judo, Hapkido,Muay Thai, Jeet Kune Do, Sambo, Kickboxing, and Boxing. Foster holds a MMA record of 17 – 2 (8-0 Amateur and 9-2 Professional – Pro- 2 KOs, 7 Submissions, 1 TKO, 1 Decision).[1] He has a 23-3 Amateur Boxing Record; 77-4-2 Sport Grappling Record; and 1-2 Amateur Kickboxing Record.

    This guy has trained in Muay Thai, MMA, Tae Kwon Do, and Kick Boxing but allows Muay Thai kids as young as five years old to strike the head. Also Tae Kwon Do/Karate fighters to kick the head with flying heel kicks and he says this sport is light contact and no need of CSAC regulation.

    He only requires Pro MMA fighters and Pro Boxers to get brain scanned. For there safety.

    Pro Kickboxers are not required to get brain scanned for there safety. They not only punch the head they Kick the head also. Way more damaging to the head.

    Amateur Kickboxers also do not get brain scanned.

    Amateur MMA fighters do not get scanned. They kick, punch, knee, elbow just as hard as a Pro MMA fighter and fight more times a year than a Pro MMA fighter. They also are subject to more knock outs than a Pro MMA fighter.

    He should know this is dangerous to continue.

    The worst thing he has ever done was put a cease and desist on Kids Pankration where no head strikes are allowed and all competitors wear protective gear. This cease and desist has been on Pankration since July 2013. He is allowing Muay Thai kids as young as 5 years old (November 9th in Sacramento) to continue, where they strike the head.

    Watch this video. This is a typical Muay Thai/Kickboxing Knockout and our State does not require a brain scan after the Knockout. This is why a Draka Kickboxer died in California at the Inglewood Forum.

    Greed before Safety in California

    This is what happens when you put an ex fighter in charge for the CSAC.

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