On this edition of NO HOLDS BARRED, host Eddie Goldman discusses the latest outrage in the combat sports: The firing of Larry Hazzard Sr., who had been the commissioner of the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, which regulates combat sports, for almost 22 years.
We discuss his firing, as well as his place in both boxing and mixed martial arts. Simply put, without Larry Hazzard's role in developing the unified rules of MMA and having MMA sanctioned in New Jersey in 2000, that sport would not have been anywhere near as developed as it is today in the U.S. – if even it would have existed.
His firing, which took place Wednesday, Nov. 14, came in the wake of a letter being sent on his behalf by attorney James Binns to New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine alleging numerous charges of “malfeasance” against officials regulating boxing and mixed martial arts events in New Jersey (http://www.adcombat.com/Article.asp?Author_ID=4&Article_ID=14295). Among the many bombshells in this letter, dated Oct. 23, 2007, included citing an official for allegedly “failing to suspend a combatant who tested non-negative for HIV”; “allowing MMA promoters to deviate from sanction protocols”; “permitting contestants to compete without submitting required medical documents”; and “accepting a CT Scan that revealed marked brain impairment (Stephan Johnson)”. Johnson died on Dec. 5, 1999, from injuries suffered in a fight in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Nov. 20, 1999, in which he was knocked out in the tenth round.
Instead of investigating these serious charges, the New Jersey politicians dismissed Larry Hazzard.
Larry Hazzard was in Atlantic City this past Saturday night, Nov. 17, for the Joan Guzman-Humberto Soto fight at the Borgata Casino, but only as a spectator. Before taking his first-row seat, he held an informal news conference with several members of the boxing media. He also then continued to answer more media questions right after that. We have both discussions for you on this show.
Among the many people who expressed their outrage at this firing and protested it was Bernard Hopkins, the light heavyweight boxing champion of the world, and the president of Golden Boy East, the lead promoter of the Guzman-Soto card (http://adcombat.com/Article.asp?Article_ID=14296). He spoke with the media as well, and we also have that discussion for you.
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Thanks, Eddie Goldman
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