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What to expect at next Wednesday’s dog & pony show with Keith Kizer

By Zach Arnold | September 20, 2013

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The early estimates for the Floyd Mayweather/Canelo Alvarez PPV are extraordinary. 2.2 million PPV buys, a $20 million dollar gate at MGM, and over $2 million in closed circuit TV revenue. Plus, 22 million television viewers in Mexico watched the fight. In today’s languishing economy, these numbers are staggering and vindicate all the business decisions being made in Mayweather’s camp.

Which is why I highly suspect that Keith Kizer, the Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, will attempt to use the figures in an attempt to save his job by claiming that he somehow is partly responsible for the fight’s big business.

It’s time for Skip Avansino, Sig Rogich, Bill Brady, and Bob Arum to pick up the phone and make the call to get Kizer fired. Keith Kizer is a political liability. He’s not respected by any of the major fight promoters. They know it or are at least starting to come to the realization that he makes them look bad. If you’re a fight fan or industry insider and want to see Keith Kizer get fired, don’t make a case based on morality or superficial respect. Make the case to the powers-that-be that it’s in their best self-interests to remove him from power. Appeal to their id that it’s in their best interests to get rid of the guy.

Keith Kizer’s track record over the last seven years has been absolutely lousy. However, why is his job in jeopardy? Because he made the political fixers and the casino bosses look bad with the Cynthia Ross judge booking. The regulators in Las Vegas are always going to be accused, to a degree, of being corrupt. If you’re going to be accused of being corrupt, then at least make sure that your critics don’t accuse you of incompetence or the appearance of incompetence. By defending Cynthia Ross after the Mayweather/Canelo fight, Kizer put a big bright media spotlight on what we’ve known all along in terms of his incompetence & tone-deafness. He’s being accused of being corrupt and accused of incompetence. That’s the kind of double whammy that’s simply untenable to the power brokers. Kizer’s not very competent as a public relations spinster. He loves to pick fights and alienate potential allies. He’s also not competent in terms of recruiting and attracting business to his state. Most importantly to the powers-that-be, he’s not very good at making the commission look qualified with the officials he books for fights.

If you’re going to be a front man that pretends to be the Godfather of regulators, act more like Tom Hagen and less like Fredo Corleone.

Keith Kizer’s biggest blunder for maintaining job security was defending Cynthia Ross. He went a bridge too far and allowed his enemies the opportunity to go after him with vigor because it’s politically safe to do so. Kizer’s made many enemies over the years but lots of scribes bit their tongue because who is really interested in reading a bunch of anti-Kizer screeds? Once Kizer gave an opening, game on. In our article five days ago about Keith Kizer’s job security, we noted how he is prone to spending plenty of time on boxing & MMA message boards rather than, say, accomplishing productivity at the office.

Ask yourself the following: if Keith Kizer was fired tomorrow from the commission, would the amount of revenue the commission takes in from shows really change? Of course not. He has zero positive impact on business affairs. The way Marc Ratner molded Nevada’s commission basically makes it easy to run on auto-pilot as long as you don’t massively screw up paperwork. Why do you think Keith Kizer sits on his ass and goes on boxing & MMA message boards and web sites every day? He has time to kill while drawing a paycheck he simply doesn’t have to do much work for.

Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal just happened to make a similar point about Kizer in his latest column. Graney says that Kizer gave him a sermon about taking pleasure in writing negative things (about topics like UNLV football). Don’t worry, Ed, you’re not the only one wondering why Keith has so much free time. It’s easy to have free time when other states are poaching some shows from your calendar to fill their event calendars. What’s next, Kizer disguising his voice in order to be a regular caller on Steve Cofield’s excellent ESPN 1100 AM radio show?

Next Wednesday’s dog-and-pony show

The other day, I wrote an article stating that it was intervention time for Sig Rogich, Skip Avansino, and other politicos to step in and remove Keith Kizer from the commission. They have the power to make the call and it would self their best interests to do so. Every day that passes that Kizer remains in power, the worse they look to the general public. Kizer’s poor performance will be viewed as poor political performance on their behalf.

Next Wednesday in Las Vegas at 3 PM local time, Keith Kizer will assign officials to work the Tim Bradley/Juan Manuel Marquez fight. An award for great timing considering that Cynthia Ross, as a judge, scored the Bradley/Pacquiao fight in favor of TB and Marquez would go on to KO Pacquiao. The chickens are coming home to roost.

The predictable move from politicos like Bill Brady & Skip Avansino is to put on a front for the media attending by making it look as if Keith Kizer will endure this horrible scrutiny that will force him to sweat a bit. A dog-and-pony show, in other words. It’ll give the commission members, who do not run the day-to-day operations, a chance to look tough in public. It would be easy to do. It would also not be a good long-term move in the self-interests of those who really wield power.

The correct move from the politicos would be to announce a vote of no-confidence for Keith Kizer and to grease the wheels for removal behind-the-scenes. When the meeting starts at 3 PM, it will start out with a session for public comment. That means anyone can show up, if they so desire, and basically have a couple of minutes to say what they want about commission affairs. Most people are not going to take time off of work to attend a commission meeting but all it takes is one person to actually show up and address the elephant in the room while pointing out why the guy is a political liability. Kizer is vulnerable right now and only one person needs to make the case in an eloquent manner to tell the politicians that the guy’s days should be numbered. It would have more impact if a fighter, active or retired, made such remarks.

Grant Sawyer State Office Building
555 East Washington Avenue, Suite 3200, 3rd Floor
Las Vegas, NV 89101

LAS VEGAS NV 89101-1066

I suspect at least one television camera will be at the meeting. If you’re a Vegas local, it’s now-or-never to push the weakened Kizer out of office. Showing up is half the battle. Convincing the powers-that-be that it’s in their best political interests to ditch the guy is the other half.

Prediction: Keith Kizer will announce what has already been reported, which is a seminar for officials next month in Las Vegas. Amusing that Kizer, who’s never worked as a judge, will find a way to remain the selector of officials. There will laughingly be a “sub-committee’ created amongst the 5 members to work with Kizer on picking officials and creating an unofficial list of criteria that officials must be compatible with. In other words, a bunch of public relations spin.

Topics: Boxing, Media, MMA, Zach Arnold | 8 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

8 Responses to “What to expect at next Wednesday’s dog & pony show with Keith Kizer”

  1. Territo says:

    Loved this article!

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    I bet every casino who had bets on this fight had to hand out a LOT of comps after the high rollers who bet that FMJ would win by UD. And when casinos are losing money on stuff like this, sh#t will hit the fan.

    Dana White has said that it feels like Kizer does stuff just to spite people. It finally caught up with him.

    I would be shocked if he was still there by the end of 2014.

  3. david m says:

    45 I am admittedly lacking knowledge on how Vegas operates, but why would casinos feel the need to pay gamblers who lose their bets? It wasn’t the fault of the casinos that it was a MD instead of a UD.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      The casinos have zero legal obligation to help somebody with a losing bet.

      But if you have a high roller who placed a good sized bet on the fight… And didn’t win because of the one bad judge (when the fight was not close)… The casinos are going to want to keep that big spender happy. Which means more comps. This comes directly out of their pockets. It is better to comp a rich guy then to lose him to another casino.

      Not to mention… Judges like this make it less likely for people to make bets in the future for fear of “corruption” or incompetence” ruining their bets.

      It means the casinos will put pressure on Kizer either cleaning things up or getting pushed out. He is potentially costing these casinos money… when he really should be creating an atmosphere that potentially maximizes their profits.

      • Zach Arnold says:

        45 is on the money. I had a veteran promoter/insider who has done business before in Vegas who told me today that the sportsbooks have been freaking out about Ross since her scorecard and that the casinos are supposedly not happy at all because they fear that less credibility will cost them money down the line on the local fights.

        This is why Kizer is in trouble. The same person remarked to me that a decade ago he was considered a golden boy at AG because he was involved in the gaming division and gaming handles all the background checks for NSAC, hence why Kizer got his foot in the door. The concern now is if Kizer gets replaced who ends up replacing him and if they’re any better.

      • david m says:

        Thanks for the explanation.

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    Bubba Jenkins lost on the Bellator prelims. Not good…

    • edub says:

      Yep, sad day in the wrestling world.

      Similar problems he’s had his whole wrestling career crept in (cardio). Also didn’t seem to respond well after Larue stood up to him so to speak.

      Might also want to consider 145. The weight drop might help his speed a little more, and possible help his cardio by keeping him in better shape.


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