MONDAY, December 13th, 1999, 2:30 PM
Kickboxing Problems Of The California State Athletic Commission...
It was bout 3 at an event in Bakersfield, CA, USA on December 11th, 1999. An International Rules bout featuring 2 amateur fighters. In the bout, Jack Tousenkchian (142, 1-0/0, North Hollywood, CA, USA) defeated Luis Raya (138, 1-1/0, Wasco, CA, USA) by split decision, 29-27, 28-29 and 29-27. However, it was what happened BEFORE the bout that disrupted these fighters emotions that we here at the IKF are VERY ANGERED about.
The bout was delayed when the Representative of the California State Athletic Commission argued that according to California State Commission Rules, the two fighters should wear 10 ounce gloves since they were "AMATEUR KICKBOXERS". Despite protest from IKF President Steve Fossum, (who assured the Comm. Rep. that the fighters could wear 8 ounce gloves), the fight was delayed while the gloves were switched. After the bout, Fossum showed the Comm. Rep. in the California State Athletic Commission Rule Book where such a rule existed. True, it was ONCE a rule, long ago, but the GLOVE ruling for amateurs now falls under the same as PRO Kickboxing Regulations as supported some time ago by Commission head Rob Lynch. (Page 72, Chapter 2. Full Contact Martial Arts And Kickboxing. Cited as "Professional Full-Contact Martial arts and Kickboxing Rules". Article 2. Safety Standards, Section 514. Gloves: Contestants who weigh 147 pounds or less shall wear eight (8) ounce gloves. Contestants who weigh more than 147 pounds shall wear ten (10) ounce gloves. That fighters weighing 147 lbs. and below in both Amateur and Pro kickboxing may wear "8" ounce gloves).
The Commission Representative was going off the "OLD" regulations which also make notice of the foot attire for ALL Kickboxers which is ALSO no longer the rule. The "OLD" rules can "STILL" be found in the California State Athletic Commission Rule Book on Page 80, Chapter 4, Article 2. Safety Standards, Section 710 which says that all contestants shall wear (a) At least ten (10) ounce gloves. But this section ALSO says ALL fighters must wear (c) Padded shin guards that extend from the ankle or instep to the top of the shin, and a safety boot that covers the toes. As EVERY Amateur kickboxer, trainer, promoter, and official in California knows, nearly ALL leg kick and MuayThai fighters don't wear ANY shin pads let alone ANY such foot pads. So again, this is a long outdated rule. One can only wonder WHY it's still in the State Rule Book. From working close with the State Commission and Rob Lynch over the years with kickboxing, it was a rule that Fossum knew a lot about. However, the California State Commission Representative did not.
For YEARS, we here at the IKF have STRONGLY Supported the California State Athletic Commission. However we just keep getting too many complaints from those involved in kickboxing and especially MuayThai kickboxing. The incident Saturday night in Bakersfield was just one more reason why "MANY" have been questioning the authority of the California State Athletic Commission overseeing Amateur "AND" Pro KICKBOXING in the State of California.
The California Commission charges Amateur Promoters $500 or 5% of the gate (Whichever is Greater) and $1,000 or 5% of the gate (Which ever is Greater) on Pro Shows as a State TAX FEE. The commission also assigns ALL the event officials and requires the promoters to pay their set officials pay scale, mileage and expenses along with the Commissions required Insurance fees for event fighters which is the highest in the Nation. These fees are $68 per Amateur fighter "PER FIGHT" and $108 per Pro fighter "PER FIGHT". So you can see why the IKF was not able to have an IKF Amateur Regional Tournament in California last year. It would have cost "SOMEONE" $68 "PER FIGHT!"
However, the fees a promoter must pay are just one complaint. But it's not so much the fees the promoters are asked to pay, but "WHAT SERVICE" they get for those fee they pay. Keep in mind that the Commission DOES NOT take a dime from any Amateur Boxing events since USA Boxing oversees all amateur boxing in California. The IKF is trying to persuade the commission to allow the IKF to oversee Amateur Kickboxing in the State of California and if ever possible, Pro kickboxing as well. The reasons here are not financial, but JUSTIFIED in regards to rules and regulations of the sport. The California State Commission doesn't QUALIFY, CERTIFY or TRAIN "ANY" of their appointed officials how to JUDGE and or REFEREE KICKBOXING "AT ALL!" The worst is in MuayThai where very few California State LICENSED Judges even know HOW to judge a MuayThai bout. Many of the appointed "BOXING" referees that are appointed to judge kickboxing think it's just boxing with knees and feet...Hmmm. Yet the commission still has direct authority to appoint who "THEY" choose to work every kickboxing event in the State of California. The officials who "DO" know the sport of kickboxing have nearly "ALL" been self taught or had past martial arts and or kickboxing experience and have learned the sport on their own with no help of training from the State of California Athletic Commission.
A few weeks ago, the IKF was not happy when the California Commission assigned all "BOXING" Judges to an IKF "PRO World Title Bout" in Sacramento featuring Fernando Calleros and Juan Torres. The commission also had a "BOXING" referee scheduled for the event until IKF President Steve Fossum insisted that he have Dan Stell (TRULY one of The BEST Kickboxing Referees in the Nation!!) work the bout.
Several months back, the IKF had some Junior Amateur Bouts scheduled on an event in Fairfield, CA, but the California State Athletic Commission Representative assigned to the event insisted that no one under 16 can fight in kickboxing. The promoter didn't know where he stood since IKF President Steve Fossum wasn't at the event to back him up so he had to go along with the commission and cancel all the Junior Amateur bouts. However, it CLEARLY Says in the California State Athletic Commission Rule Book that the Commission has "NO" authority or jurisdiction over fighters under the age of 16, which fall into the IKF Junior Amateur.
AGAIN, the Commission made a COSTLY mistake. How many mistakes will the promoters, trainers and fighters in California allow the commission to CONTINUE to make? Does the California State Athletic Commission care about Kickboxing? If so, WHY don't they TRAIN their officials? They require MANDATORY Training for all Boxing officials! But offer "NO" training for "ANY FORM OF KICKBOXING!"
Several months back, ISKA Promoter Scott Coker of San Jose, CA had a referee assigned to his kickboxing event who had NEVER refereed a kickboxing bout on a State Athletic Commission show. What made this worse was that this event was FILMED for ESPN 2! Don't ask how this referee did, you can guess. Not to mention the addition now of San Shou style fighting. Only 4 Referees in the State of California even know how to referee San Shou, having been taught how during the DRAKA promotions a couple years ago, (Dan Stell who is the most qualified, Marcos Rosalas, Cecil Peoples and Nelson Hamilton) Worse yet, "Through no fault of their own", none of theCalifornia State Athletic Commission Judges have ever been properly taught how to JUDGE a San Shou style bout. The State Commission doesn't even offer any type of a kickboxing certification course for kickboxing judges or referees. It's lucky that bouts with fighters like Cung Le end in a KO so no one needs to go to the judges score cards.
So,,, Enough on the California Athletic Commission. Oh, but "1" more thing. In the last year or so, the Commission has been looking into overseeing another Fighting style they know nothing about, Submission and NHB Style fighting. The ONLY advantage the commission can offer these NHB groups as well as kickboxing is regulating the fighters safety. This is a STRONG POINT of having ANY State Commission involved. However, in the case of the IKF, their rules and regulations in regards to safety are just as strict if not more than the California State Athletic Commission. We suggest as we do with the IKF in kickboxing, that the State Commission allow a "Reputable" sanctioning organization or group that KNOWS Submission fighting to oversee it for it's rules, regulations and safety. Because if the Commission oversees it, Well, you get the picture.
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