Is MMA on the Ropes in California?


The California State Athletic Commission has been undergoing a massive amount of change over the past couple of years, and is currently in a state of disarray. From massive staff changeover to accusations ranging from incompetence to impropriety to, most recently, reports that the commission had been negligent in the basic responsibility of paying its bills to keep the Association of Boxing Commissions database up to date.

The ABC database is an official record of fight results and suspensions that a commission utilizes to make sure that the fights it sanctions do not include participants that are on suspension. This is especially important in regards to athletes that are under some sort of medical suspension and should not be fighting for reasons regarding their health and safety.

The California commission is currently so far in arrears for payment for the database upkeep for events held in its state that Mixed Martial Arts LLC, the company that ABC has contracted to maintain the database, threatened to cut off California’s access to the database. This would severely curtail the commission’s ability to determine if a fighter were under suspension, leaving the commission unable to approve bouts.

Each athletic commission that is contracted, via the ABC, to pay for database upkeep is required to either pay the fees outright or to direct the promotions under its jurisdiction to pay Mixed Martial Arts LLC directly.

The California commission has evidently neglected in doing either for several years, and is now thousands of dollars in arrears. CSAC access to the database was due to expire Nov. 1 and updating of events under its jurisdiction was to end on Nov. 11, according to a recent letter from Kirik Jenness, the president of Mixed Martial Arts, LLC, to the California commission.

Jenness and Tim Lueckenhoff, president of the ABC, both told MMAWeekly.com that they have since communicated with administrators at the California Department of Consumer Affairs, who were previously unaware of the issue. Both men indicated that DCA administrators seemed willing to rectify the situation and are due to meet with Jenness and Lueckenhoff on a conference call this week.

In the meantime, Jenness told MMAWeekly.com that he will not cut off CSAC’s access to the database on Nov. 1 as initially planned. He instead is hopeful that they can come to a resolution with DCA administrators.

Some California promoters are currently caught in the crossfire in this situation. The CSAC’s failure to either pay Mixed Martial Arts, LLC or inform some promoters that the payment for database upkeep is their responsibility has left the promoters befuddled when Mixed Martial Arts, LLC has contacted them for payment.

Such matters will surely be part of the discussions between DCA administrators, Jenness and Lueckenhoff when trying to work out a resolution.

In better times, a resolution might seem simple, but given the fact that CSAC is currently mired in controversy and the State of California is drowning in debt, a quick resolution to the matter is anything but a given.

If California is unable to work things out with Mixed Martial Arts LLC and the Association of Boxing Commissions, it could very well become a reality that the state would be unable to suitably regulate mixed martial arts events.

Stay tuned to MMAWeekly.com for all of your mixed martial arts news and updates.

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