The Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission has decided to
conditionally approve the remaining boxing and mixed martial arts
events submitted to the state for 2012.
The GAEC held its monthly meeting Nov. 5 in Atlanta and discussed
whether the commission could continue to approve fight cards before
Georgia Secretary of State Brian P. Kemp named the regulatory body
a new, permanent executive director who could competently oversee
the matchmaking in the state to protect fighter safety.
Though Secretary of State official Steve Lindsey was appointed to
fill Foster’s shoes temporarily, Vice Chairman Rick Thompson
expressed concern that Lindsey would be unable to perform the
executive director’s duty of overseeing the matchmaking and
preventing mismatches that could result in serious injury to
Foster, who was named GAEC executive director in 2008, tomorrow
begins his new position as the executive director of the California
State Athletic Commission. At yesterday’s GAEC meeting, Foster
expressed his desire to protect local promoters and fighters from
losing out on income during the commission’s ongoing transition. As
a result, Foster agreed to evaluate the matchmaking in the
remaining cards for 2012 and make sure that the events were
assigned staff before he departed for California.
As a stipulation of receiving Foster’s approval, promoters
attending the meeting agreed that no changes would be made to their
fight cards, meaning that if one participant withdraws from a bout
after Foster approves it, no replacement opponent will be allowed
to step in and the match will be canceled.
At this time, the commission decided against approving any events
scheduled for 2013, as many of those cards are not yet finalized
and would therefore be difficult to evaluate. The issue of
approving January and February events was tabled for the
commission’s December meeting.
Two promoters in attendance spoke up during the meeting’s public
comment section and expressed their concerns that they may not be
able to properly book and promote their January shows. Rory Singer,
UFC veteran and co-owner of the Hardcore Gym in Athens, Ga., also
spoke about the possibility of combat sports being halted in the
“How are we not saying that MMA, right now, is over?” Singer asked.
“Whether it is an interim thing or a long-lasting thing, for the
time being, everything that has just been tabled here states that
mixed martial arts in the state of Georgia has no future until
somebody comes into power who actually knows what they are doing.
Unfortunately, Mr. Lindsey has been put in a situation where he is
not that man.
“[The commissioners] are not going to approve matches where people
may die if those matches are not approved properly, and the man in
charge of approving that can’t make that decision, and the man who
appointed him doesn’t want to have anything to do with MMA or
boxing in the state of Georgia and therefore put someone in that
position that he is going to ignore.
“The bureaucracy of that is obscene. It makes my brain hurt to sit
here and have this conversation with a group of intelligent men and
women who don’t see this for what it is. It is a man who does not
care about the sport wanting it to go away, because it is one less
thing that he has to deal with. It is unacceptable for all that we
have grown over the past 10 years.”
Commissioner J.J. Biello disagreed with Singer’s assessment of the
situation, asserting that the commission was simply going through a
The exact date of the GAEC’s December meeting is not yet listed on
the state’s website.
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