Newly created and based on the Nevada Athletic Commission, the
Brazilian Athletic Commission faces challenges that go beyond
regulation and the standardization of rules and extend to the
dissemination and growth of mixed martial arts.
Chaired by Giovanni Biscardi and Rafael Favetti, the committee has
already taken its first steps and aligned itself with some
prominent experts. Referee Mario Yamasaki has been named director
of arbitration, and Marcio Tannure has been tapped as medical
In this interview, Favetti discussed the ongoing efforts of the
Brazilian athletic commission:
Sherdog.com: As a respected lawyer in Brasilia, the federal
capital of Brazil, you served as vice minister of justice under
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. How did you get connected to
MMA and how did you become involved with the Brazilian Athletic
Favetti: I was born in Curitiba and grew up and lived there when
Chute Boxe was at its height in Pride [Fighting Championships]. I
think MMA is a part of any person who is born in Rio [de Janeiro]
or Curitiba. The idea of the commission first came up when I met
with Biscardi, a lawyer from Rio. We agreed that the sport needed a
commission to regulate it in Brazil, just like it has in the United
States, so we founded the Brazilian Athletic Commission and modeled
it after the commissions in the U.S., particularly the Nevada
Athletic Commission. We have a legal framework in Brazil, a
framework of laws that’s a bit different than the U.S. structure.
In Brazil, the organizations and associations responsible for
regulating the sport are much closer to the event organizers than
the athletic commission. As a result, we’re the first athletic
commission to be created in Brazil, and with guidelines that mirror
those of the Nevada Athletic Commission, our objective is to
inspect and audit events. We feel we’re extremely prepared because
our model is based on the Nevada commission, so there’s not going
to be much difference between the inspection and professionalism of
the events here and the events in the U.S. The basic difference is
that the Nevada commission is an agency of the state, while we’re a
national agency. Aside from that, the level of professionalism and
transparency are basically the same.
Sherdog.com: How will you work on doping and on the
problems with judging?
Favetti: We have two things in place to deal with the issue of
doping: the commission in Nevada and the IMMAF (International Mixed
Martial Arts Federation), the international organization to which
we are affiliated. Both dictate the rules of doping for MMA, and we
also have the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency), which dictates the
rules for all Olympic sports. We always keep an eye on both; never
differing from the Nevada Athletic Commission and especially the
IMMAF on doping is one of the most important things we can do in
relation to our sport. MMA has a greater level of unpredictability
than any other sport; it’s different from boxing, karate and other
sports. Sometimes you have a guy who’s an expert on the ground, and
he can lose a fight because of takedown attempts or he can lose the
fight standing. A lack of predictability is one of MMA’s defining
traits, so the concern over doping is even greater. As far as
judging goes, we are concerned with having a better selection
process and doing a better job in terms of backgrounds. The sport
of MMA is still in its formative stages. The more traditional
judges do not have MMA backgrounds, and I can see how they make the
mistakes they make. Those mistakes will certainly decrease when our
commission starts training our judges in MMA. Maybe we’ll no longer
see the gap that exists with judges who move to MMA without proper
training because our graduates will be here. I think we have the
right conditions with MMA in Brazil, and I think we can export
referees from Brazil in a short time.
Sherdog.com: Can you discuss what the Brazilian commission
has already implemented?
Favetti: Our major concern was putting the proper structure in
place to get started and to develop all protocols: protocols for
working UFC events, inspector protocols, medical protocols and
referee protocols. In addition, were trying to perfect what would
be most suitable for Brazil because I’m sure some of the things
that work in the U.S. and other countries would not work here.
We’ll have to adjust and tailor things for what’s best for Brazil.
We’ve been able to shadow these past UFC events and just watch the
way they work without getting our hands dirty. We started out
shadowing in Belo Horizonte and have already begun designing our
protocols; in Rio de Janeiro, we put together a team of inspectors
and did all the training. Marcio Tannure handled the medical side
of it -- which included doping and safety -- along with the cutmen,
for whom we had to make some adjustments because when you’re
sterilizing material within the law, some problems can arise.
Marcio can speak to the technical issues better than I can. We’ll
improve slightly with each new event, step by step, and by the end
of the year, we’ll have our team formed. We’re developing referee
courses with Mario, training for those who are not yet referees and
improvement classes for those who are. Mario knows exactly how they
work. We want to transform this into a national structure. We will
not be exclusive to the UFC. Because we have a structure very
similar to Nevada, we want to absorb as much knowledge about the
way they do things and implement it in our country.
Bisping argued that Vitor
Belfort won their fight at UFC on FX 7 because it took place in
Brazil, outside of where the Nevada commission could intervene on
hormone replacement. What do you think about this?
Favetti: It’s a baseless comment. Here in Brazil, we have a
committee that regulates doping. Vitor followed the rules. The UFC
follows the rules of the Nevada commission -- the Unified Rules --
as do we. There may have been a delay in reporting the results, but
there was no failure.
Sherdog.com: How many professionals are on staff with the
Favetti: I don’t have the exact number, but the more we get the
better. We want to build teams in various regions of Brazil, so we
don’t have to move a team from one region to the next. It’s better
logistically and helps promote MMA.