The Nevada Athletic Commission was in the spotlight once again when its surprise drug test at an Ultimate Fighting Championship press conference in March resulted in the eventual cancellation of one of the biggest heavyweight title fights in the promotion’s history.
Challenger Alistair Overeem’s urine sample showed a prohibited ratio of testosterone-to-epitestosterone: a metric that indicates an athlete has synthetic testosterone in his body that could give him unfair advantages in training, in recovery and in a fight. Overeem will appear before the commission on Tuesday to explain the T/E ratio, but, on Friday, it was announced that Frank Mir has replaced the Dutchman in his May 26 pay-per-view headliner against champion Junior dos Santos at UFC 146.
While Overeem will become the latest in a cast of top fighters to face such hearings, the face of the other side of the regulatory equation remains consistent. Keith Kizer, a former gaming attorney in Nevada, became director of the commission in 2006. Kizer replaced current UFC executive Marc Ratner, who was director in Nevada when MMA was sanctioned in the state and drug testing was introduced for fighters.
Kizer recently joined the Sherdog Radio Network “Rewind” program to discuss the larger frameworks at play in commission procedures, the history of drug testing fighters and his views on responsible and effective testing.
For the full interview, including Kizer’s comments about Internet message boards, Nick Diaz’s case, how commissioners are appointed, referee “Big John” John McCarthy, judging and brain health, download the full interview (it begins at the one-hour mark).
Sherdog.com: How, why and when did you take the helm in Nevada?
Kizer: I was the attorney for the commission for quite a few years. I also was the lead attorney for the Nevada Gaming Commission and Nevada State Gaming Control Board. And then, when Marc Ratner left to go to the UFC in May of 2006, he had asked if I was interested in replacing him here, and I said that I was.
Sherdog.com: Were you around when the commission began experimenting with drug testing for MMA fighters in 2001?
Kizer: Yes. I actually started working with the commission in late 1997 and got really involved starting in the spring of ’98. So, yeah, [I was] here, not just for the drug testing but, in fact, the whole creation of regulations for the sport of mixed martial arts.
Sherdog.com: What do you remember about those times? Initially, the commission was seeking to simply get an idea of what was in MMA fighters’ systems, more than to penalize them.
Kizer: Exactly. That was something I wasn’t too involved [in]; that was more of a medical thing. One of the commissioners at the time, Dr. Flip Homansky, was kind of taking the lead on that one and doing some testing of the fighters and seeing what kind of policy we could derive from that. At the beginning, actually, when they first started doing it, I believe there weren’t any penalties attached at all. It was basically kind of a fact find. Then it kind of got into what was called a period of leniency, where we had a situation where the suspensions, if any, would be short-term, and the fines, if any, would be a small percentage of the total purse. What they were looking for was … if [fighters] had a habit, they’re kicking the habit, or if they weren’t being vigilant, they were going to be vigilant. We were looking for some sort of remorse -- perhaps that’s too strong of a term -- and sometimes we got it and sometimes we didn’t get it, and that kind of dictated whether the leniency would sink in. But even then, it might be a situation where we might give a guy a nine-month suspension, but the fine would be zero percent or it would only be 10 percent or something like that; or, on the flip side, it might be a situation where the fine might be more than that, but the suspension might only be four or five or six months; or it might be a situation even where both those things were shortened a great deal, and that was kind of the case for a couple of years, maybe a few years. We kind of got any bugs out, if any, during that pre-period of leniency with the testing and then the period of leniency to kind of get the message out, and it’s worked fairly well. And now we’re at the point where things have ratcheted up as far as fine amounts or suspension lengths, but that is a situation where no one is to blame but the athlete.
Sherdog.com: Was there pushback from promoters who feared losing their main events over drug testing?
Kizer: Never had that. It was more of a money issue because [with] fight night drug tests, the promoters have to pay. It was more of a situation like that: “Well, wait, I got another $3,000 or $2,000 [to pay]?” Actually, back then it was much cheaper than that because we didn’t test as many people as you test now. It might be a situation where you have another $1,000 being sought from the promoter and for some of these smaller fights that’s a big deal, so that was it more so than anything else.
Sherdog.com: You said early on commissioners were looking for remorse from athletes. Is remorse still an important thing for a fighter to show when they appear before the commission?
Kizer: I think it helps. I’m not sure if it necessarily would translate into a lesser fine or a lesser suspension, but I think it does translate into, I think, some sort of good will and forgiveness from the fans, which may be more important. I think it also translates into good will from the officials going forward, be it the Nevada commission or another commission going forward, when the athlete has done his or her time and is coming back to the sport.
Sherdog.com: As fighters have been able to afford higher-profile attorneys, has it gotten more difficult to get admissions and remorse like that out of fighters?
Kizer: Hard to know. It’s a situation where we had, probably at the beginning of all this, we kind of had three different defenses, and it’s still the three you probably see most often anywhere. One is, “Hey, look, I’m completely innocent, and this test must be wrong.” That was seen a lot more in the earlier days when people were trying to challenge the tests and took the approach of, “Hey, look, he’s completely clean. This test is wrong. We want to investigate the tests. We want to have a B sample tested; we want this, we want that.” And the tests were always verified. It was a situation where that’s not … the cause of the positive test, that the test itself messed up. It’s so slim it’s almost not even worth checking on, so then, it really comes down to the other two arguments; either a “Yeah, I did it. You caught me. I’m sorry. I’m here to take my punishment” or kind of the middle ground, which is probably the most common one still, and that is, “Well, it somehow got in my system, but I don’t know how. I must have taken something I shouldn’t have taken. I didn’t know. I still don’t know what it could have been” or “I do know now what it is, though I didn’t tell you about it before.”
Sherdog.com: How is the Nevada Athletic Commission funded?
Kizer: We’re funded from the general fund. The state itself gives us money from the general fund in our budget for every fiscal year.
Sherdog.com: You’re not also funded by taxes on live gates and pay-per-views and things like that?
Kizer: That’s the funding we collect and send to the state. None of that money goes to us directly. The amount of money we raise makes no difference on the amount of money we get. There’s no direct correlation there.
Sherdog.com: What’s the budget roughly every year?
Kizer: Probably about $600,000 to $700,000, somewhere around there, give or take $50K.
Sherdog.com: How much are different commission personnel paid?
Kizer: Inspectors, unfortunately, are by far the lowest-paid. They get paid $75 an event. It doesn’t matter if this event is a 10-hour event or a three-hour event. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pay-per-view from the Mandalay Bay Events Center or if it’s some club show in a ballroom in a smaller casino. And that’s something we’ve tried over the years to get the pay increased for them, and it just isn’t going to happen or hasn’t happened. And it’s going to be tough in this economy for it to happen any time soon. It’s unfortunate. It’s almost like a hobby, a labor of love for them. And with the judges, referees and timekeepers … we have our smaller shows, and they get about $200, $250 for smaller shows. Now, for the bigger shows in MMA, a pay-per-view of a UFC caliber, all the refs would get $1,200 and judges I believe get $950 and timekeepers about $600. So there’s a little bit more money in those situations, and, of course, [with] shows in-between, the pay would be somewhere in between. But, yeah, compared to what an NFL referee makes, it’s very little in that regard. In boxing, the pay structure’s a little different. It’s a little more widespread, where the ref at the top of the card might make $8,000, while the refs on the bottom of the card are only making $600, say for a [Floyd] Mayweather [Jr.] card. So there’s a bigger gap there, disparity, as opposed to UFC, where everybody’s making $1,200.
Sherdog.com: Take us through a typical drug testing routine on a fight weekend.
Kizer: The day of the fight, that’s when the drug testing usually is done, though we do, of course, do out-of-competition testing, as well. But in that situation, what would happen is the inspectors or a representative from the lab that acts as our agent will come to the athlete [and conduct] the pre-fight test when they get there at the arena that night. And usually fighters get there about anywhere from 90 minutes to maybe three hours before their fight, depending when they’re fighting on the card and when they’re there. But they’re usually there no later than 90 minutes before their fight. They’ll get there, and then, if they have a urine test they have to provide, they’ll provide it at that time to either the inspector or the drug testing collector. We try to do that as soon as they can, so not only can we check it off our list but also the fighter can then get ready for his fight. There will actually be two post-fight exams. The doctor will then decide in the dressing room whether or not to give the fighter any type of medical suspension or medical requirement. The fighter gets paid and then also the fighter has to do a post-fight drug test. We try to get that done as soon as they’re ready to urinate and can get done with that test so they can go shower and get ready for the press conference.
Sherdog.com: How long does it take to get a sample back?
Kizer: The lab usually comes out [and] picks them up directly from the fights. So they’ll send a courier out, they’ll come get the stuff [and] go back to the lab. It usually depends on how many samples there are and how many fights we have that weekend. Sometimes, we’re testing upwards of 50 people, depending if we have three fights or something that weekend. But, usually, about a week is general rule of thumb. Sometimes, it might take a couple days. Sometimes, I’ve gotten them early. Sometimes, on Monday, I have some results coming back rather quickly, but, usually, it’s about a week out.
Sherdog.com: How many folks does the commission have to collect samples?
Kizer: Well, inspectors, we have probably about ... [at] any given show, there’s probably about 10 inspectors working the show. And like I said, a lot of times now, starting last September, we now have a professional drug collecting agency or company that comes out. And they usually send one or two people out to do the testing or do the collecting on that, too.
Sherdog.com: Why doesn’t the commission do blood tests along with urine tests?
Kizer: Well, it depends. Sometimes, we have done blood tests. It just depends on what we’re looking for.
Sherdog.com: Why not do blood tests as a matter of course, as you do urine?
Kizer: Well, the testing that we’re basically doing fight night, especially with the steroids, the urine test is the one that’s going to catch you.
Sherdog.com: But you can’t get an absolute concentration of testosterone from a urine sample. Only blood will tell you if an athlete is within normal testosterone range for someone his age, and there’s a whole lot more you can tell only from blood, such as EPO and other types of doping.
Kizer: Oh, yeah, that’s why I said it depends on what you’re testing for, but steroids is, generally ... you’re wrong. Urine is the preferred method of testing for steroids; it stays in your system a lot longer, a lot longer. But there are certain things, yeah, if we’re looking for someone’s total testosterone, we’ll test them for blood, and we’ve done that.
Sherdog.com: Why not all the time? Why not always know what someone’s total testosterone is? That seems to me to be a very consistent indicator of whether someone’s fighting clean.
Kizer: Right. I can tell you the urine testing is what we do as a matter of course. Again, we’re not just looking for testosterone. You don’t want to just test somebody for testosterone. You want to test them for steroids, masking agents, diuretics, and, so, you need urine for that. So that kind of gives you the whole ball of wax. So that helps a lot. But, you know, if there was a need to test for total testosterone, we could do that, as well. But, as a matter of course, that’s something that makes it going beyond a matter of course, having guys give blood. I personally don’t think it’s necessarily a good idea to jab a needle in a guy’s arm just before he gets in the ring.
Sherdog.com: Is that really what it comes down to?
Kizer: I think it’s part of it, yeah … I think the first thing might be the fact that the risk to the athlete’s greater by jabbing the needle in his arm. We actually had this discussion in a public meeting about two years ago, and that was definitely one of the concerns raised. What happens if you knick a vein, or you get some kind of hematoma in the guy’s arm as you’re testing them for blood? So there’s a concern there on the safety thing. That’s probably one of the bigger things but also the fact that there’s so much more you can get from the urine. Yeah, you could do both, as well, but that doesn’t lessen the safety risks. But blood is always an option.
Sherdog.com: I understand the state recently upped your budget to pay for out-of-competition drug tests?
Kizer: Yes, we did, just with this fiscal year, in fact. Last fiscal year we basically had nothing. It was definitely nothing I wanted to broadcast out there to let the athletes know that, but now our legislature was very kind and understood the concern and was able to fund it, not just this fiscal year but next fiscal year, as well.
Sherdog.com: Alistair Overeem was given a surprise, out-of-competition test on March 27 at the UFC press conference. Why did the commission do that?
Kizer: That’s just a situation that kind of came out of this. I had done that once before, I think in July, the beginning of the fiscal year, where we had a couple boxers here for a press conference. Starting in September, as I mentioned before, we now have an agency; I think it’s only 20 bucks extra a test, so it’s very cheap for the promoter. So I checked with the agency first to find out, “Can you come to the press conference at the MGM [Grand] on that day?” They said, “No problem.” I gave them a time to show up; actually, I thought the press conference was going to end about a half hour later than it did, but it was a shorter press conference than I thought. So the guys had to wait around a little bit, but not very long, 10 minutes or so, until the collector came. And then they were all kind of held in the back until the collector came. Then they all went up to the hotel room where he was based out of and gave their urine samples. We were going to have Overeem tested anyway because of the condition from his 2011 license, but it got to the point where I found out [about the press conference]. So that was the first thing, when I found out, “Oh, there’s going to be a press conference. Oh, Overeem’s going to be there. Oh, good, I can actually send ... instead of relying on him going to a lab and giving the urine sample, I can send the lab to him. Makes it easier on him, and it makes it easier on me.” But, then, it kind of begged the question to myself of, “Well, if he’s going to be there and there are five other guys there, why not have him do the other five?” So I let the chairman know that -- that that was my plan. He said that’s a great plan, go forward with it; and we got it done.
Sherdog.com: Overeem missed commission-imposed deadlines for his December drug test, yet he was granted a conditional license to face Brock Lesnar. Why wasn’t he simply denied a license?
Kizer: That was definitely an option. They made him come before the commission, be on the hearing via the telephone there and answer some very tough questions. That was definitely something where he needed to prove to them that they should still give him a license. And he actually did a very good job at that meeting, and the commission gave him a license but conditioned it. He had another test that was done even before the fight when he got here in Nevada. Of course, we did the normal [tests on fight night], but there was also two tests he needed to do within the six months after the fight. This one [at the press conference] was the first, so there’s still one pending, if it’s even necessary. So, yeah, that was something where … he had to go through the ringer for that one.
Sherdog.com: A bit of hay has been made about the fact that Overeem’s license to fight in Nevada expired Dec. 31, 2011, so he wasn’t a licensed fighter when you tested him in March. You’ve said the commission was within its right to test Overeem since he was being advertised as fighting in your jurisdiction. Why can a promoter promote someone as fighting in Nevada before that fighter is licensed?
Kizer: Well, it’s all contingent on getting the person licensed. Let’s say, for example, a promoter promoted somebody saying, “I know this guy’s not going to be available and I know he’s not going to come and fight here, but I’m going to put him on the marquee anyway.” And then five days before the fight or a week before the fight or something, [they] pull him off. And that’s prohibited. So they have to have some sort of agreement between the promoter and the fighter that he is going to appear on that card. Now, injuries do happen sometimes, and other things might get in the way. [The fighter] might have a personal tragedy where he needed to pull out of the fight, and that’s understandable with proof. But, for the most part, that’s an ongoing obligation on the promoter to make sure that that does not occur -- false advertising.
Sherdog.com: Why doesn’t a promoter make sure a guy is licensed before he’s promoted as fighting?
Kizer: Well, the licensing requirements, the medical requirements that come into play, as long as we get those before the weigh-in and in ample time to review them, that’s not a problem. So there’s no need to get licensed, let’s say, in February, when you’re fighting in May. If you want to -- you can get licensed that early -- you can, but, logistically, there’s no need to be licensed that early.
Sherdog.com: Overeem has, since the drug test, applied for a fight license in Nevada, correct? Or, the UFC applied on his behalf?
Kizer: Yes. The UFC usually collects all the materials for their fighters and then ships them to us. Sometimes, with smaller cards like club cards, the fighter might actually come in or mail it in or actually come in in-person and deliver the stuff himself. Sometimes, fighters get licensed even though they have no fights [and] they have no contractual obligations with promoters. They’ll get licensed so they’re ready to go. Most people probably get licensed the week of the fight.
Sherdog.com: Has Overeem applied for a Therapeutic Use Exemption from the commission?
Kizer: Has not.
Sherdog.com: If I want permission to use testosterone from Nevada, what do I have to do?
Kizer: Well, [with] any kind of therapeutic use exemption, not just limited to testosterone, you need to contact the commission; we need to get communications open with your treating physician. So that would be a situation where the fighter’s obligated through his or her physician to get us all the necessary documentation and the requests. In other words, Doctor X is saying, “I’m treating this athlete for this condition; here’s the treatment plan. This treatment plan would not put the fighter at undue risk, would not give him or her an unfair advantage. Here’s the labs that I’ve done to kind of confirm, that confirm the diagnosis.” [They] send it to us, we run it by our doctor, our doctor goes through it and sees that it might be a situation where he may say, “That seems like a very overly-aggressive treatment plan.” Or it might be a situation where the doctor will say, you know, “That drug is not safe enough to use in competition, so you need to change the plan that way.” Or again, you have to lower the levels, perhaps of the Adderall that you’re taking. Adderall is one that I know I’ve seen before, where in certain normal dosages it may be [an] unfair, not [an] unfair, undue risk for the fighter to use it during competition. So you have to lower [the dosage] or use a different drug during the competition phase. So all that stuff comes into play, and that’s kind of the starting point and it’s also kind of the important part -- is the medicals. And then our doctor, he might have the fighter do additional testing; he may have the fighter provide additional documentation; he’ll talk with the doctor, communicate with the doctor from the fighter, so all that comes into play. And then, sometimes, the TUE could be granted under some very specific conditions or it could be denied.
Sherdog.com: What kind of turnaround time is there in a fighter getting a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on a TUE request?
Kizer: I can’t talk specific to Alistair. But a fighter, in general, getting us all that information, I mean, it’s not a quick process. But it’s not something of, “Hey, we’ll let you know in 12 months or something.” Obviously, you don’t want to do that to a fighter, either, so it could depend. Depending on how quick the fighter’s doctor gets us all the information that our doctor needs, it could be something that takes a week, or it could be something where our doctor needs more information [and] might need to send the fighter out for additional testing, and it could take a couple months. So a lot just depends on what the diagnosis is, what the treatment plan is, what state the records are in. The key there on timing is the fighter’s doctor getting us everything we need.
Sherdog.com: We know about Nevada’s allowed limit of a 6:1 testosterone-to-epitestosterone level. Why don’t we know what the NAC considers allowable ranges for total testosterone?
Kizer: It’s pretty much between 300 and 1200 [nanograms per deciliter]. But even then, if your testosterone, let’s say, is 500, which is normal, but it’s there because you’re using synthetic testosterone and you don’t have a TUE, you’re breaking the rules. There’s no safe harbor. You could be 1:1, but if somehow there’s evidence of use of synthetic testosterone and you don’t have a TUE, you could be penalized for that. A better example: you have a prescription. You have a prescription for hydrocodone, but you’re using it during the fight and you test positive for hydrocodone -- and that’s happened -- you’re going to be facing a disciplinary complaint.
Sherdog.com: What strikes me is the possibility that a fighter could be using more testosterone in camp than is allowed, putting himself beyond the 1200-ng/dl limit, and if it clears the system before you take a urine test, you’d still show below 6:1 T/E on your urine test. The athlete knows he won’t get blood tested, and it’s easier to cycle use in a way that controls the T/E ratio in urine than it is to control the measurements a blood test gives you.
Kizer: I’m not sure if that statement’s correct, but let’s assume it is -- I don’t know. We’ve caught a lot of guys with T/E ratios out of whack, so I’m not sure that it’s as easy as you say. You hear a lot of people saying how easy it is to pass a steroid test or any anabolic test, and I’m sure I could point to several dozen [fighters] who would disagree. And I’m sure other commissions could do the same. No test is foolproof, I agree with you there, but I don’t think we should overstate nor understate the effectiveness of testing.
Sherdog.com: It seems if you want to use testosterone there’s more incentive not to seek the commission’s permission and simply use it without telling anybody. If you tell the commission, you subject yourself to blood tests, which introduce a whole new way of getting caught using.
Kizer: Well, I guess you could say that about any [performance-enhancing drug]. If you’re going to take steroids, it’s better not to tell me you’re taking it than to tell me you’re taking it. If you’re going to commit murder, it’s probably best not to tell the police you’re going to commit murder. So yeah, that’s a self-evident truth, I think.
Sherdog.com: If a fighter wanted to use testosterone, I don’t see why he would tell the commission and seek a TUE.
Kizer: If they’re going to use it improperly or unlawfully or whatever term you want to say, you’re right. But again, that’s the same thing with steroids or anything else. Any other prohibited substance, yeah, why would you tell the commission you’re taking a prohibited substance? Unless you have a legitimate need and can prove it.
Sherdog.com: Are there still only three fighters for whom Nevada has approved an exemption to use testosterone?
Kizer: Yeah, only three fighters. They’re all MMA fighters, but, yeah, only three fighters have been granted for TRT. I think one thing that will come of all this media spotlight on it, I think you’ll have a lot more requests. Some will be illegitimate, someone saying, “Oh, OK, maybe I can trick the commission into giving me a TUE for TRT, get a doctor who can try to manipulate my labs or something.” But I think also there will be a lot more legitimate requests. I think there’s probably people out there not realizing that, “Hey, I’m 27 years old or I’m 32 years old or whatever my age is, why do I care about having my T checked?” And they’ll go and they’ll get their T checked and they’ll be abnormally low, be it from something genetic or it could be from something related to fighting. Weight cutting or getting hit in the head supposedly has some aspects of maybe lowering your T. So I think [for] a lot of fighters this may actually [be] a positive thing, as a lot of fighters who may not realize they’re suffering from this will get checked out and find that out. So good for them, but, of course, it makes it more difficult for us. But that’s alright; we’re up to the challenge to deal with both the legitimate and the illegitimate increases in requests.
Sherdog.com: Your predecessor, Marc Ratner, acts as the UFC’s de facto commission when they go international or to a place with no commission. When it comes to fighters, the UFC itself drug tests or screens medically, how would you know what they find and don’t find?
Kizer: Really, unless they tell us or you tell us via the press, I wouldn’t know. The fighter is obligated under penalty of perjury to inform us when he applies here whether he’s been subject to any sort of discipline elsewhere. So if there has been any discipline put on the fighter ... and we’ve had fighters who have not been quite so honest [and] they’ve had to deal with the consequences. Nowadays, though, especially with jurisdictions that are recognized, that would be in the fighter’s official record. In boxing, it’s a place called Fight Fax. With MMA, it’s mixedmartialarts.com. Both those entities do great work in that regard. And it’s easy to see a fighter’s history in that regard. But you’re right, on non-government-regulated events, be it UFC or anybody for that matter, if it a fighter tests positive, there’s no sort of official discipline. That’s more difficult to find out.
Sherdog.com: What if, say, the UFC approved a fighter to use testosterone on an international show? Would you have any way of knowing?
Kizer: When you do apply for a TUE [in Nevada], you do need to let us know whether you’ve ever applied for one -- whether you’re granted or not -- whether you’ve applied for one elsewhere. So that would be something that would come up there.
Sherdog.com: Do you ever see a time when a commission like yours puts athletes in Olympic-style 24/7 monitoring programs, where they could be tested at any time and have to report their whereabouts to the commission?
Kizer: Maybe. It would be much tougher for a state agency to deal with that than an international agency, but that could be. In a way, that’s kind of what we’re doing to the extent we can. A situation where I can call up a fighter and say, “Look, you need to go get tested right now, or you need to get tested within a certain amount of timeframe,” or in the case of what happened [with Overeem at the press conference], “You’re being tested right now, right here.” So there are aspects of that, but we’re never going to have jurisdiction beyond our borders. That’s true of any state commission or city commission; also true of certain national bodies, as well, of course. So that makes it more difficult, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t do things. So, you know, adding the steroid testing back roughly 10 years ago, a little more than 10 years ago, increasing the amount of guys getting tested fight night and then having this out-of-competition testing, as well; every time you add. You could look at it as, well, OK, great, you’re doing this, but you’re still not doing that. OK, now you’re doing that, but you’re not doing this. You could always look at what else could be done. I don’t know any, any, any agency, anti-doping agency, be it a state commission, be it a national commission, [the World Anti-Doping Agency], [the United States Anti-Doping Agency], the Canadian [Anti-Doping Agency], whoever, that tests every athlete every day, blood and urine. But you can easily say why not? Don’t you care? Why wouldn’t you test this guy more than less? So, yeah, you can always say that. Well, you tested him on Thursday and Friday, but you didn’t test them on Saturday. You don’t care if he did something on Saturday? Well, no, that’s not a fair criticism. So you got to do what you can with what you have, and that’s kind of the issue. And hopefully we’ve done that, but, nonetheless, it doesn’t mean that, hey, this is exactly how the program’s going to look two years from now or even two months from now. Hopefully, it gets better every year and we get more resources, and [with] the resources we have, we find better ways to spend them, more effective ways and that comes into play. There’s always going to be crime. There’s never going to be a time where you’re not going to have any murders or any robberies, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a police force.
Sherdog.com: Since you disputed Chael Sonnen’s testifying to the California commission that he’d consulted with you on a TRT exemption, he has yet to fight in Nevada. In fact, I believe he was denied a corner license by Nevada to participate as a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter.” Kizer: Not quite the case. No, he never pursued the application. It actually kind of became moot when the California commission reinstated the remainder of his suspension, and that was basically during the part of the show. So there was no denial of it, because he kind of was forced to withdraw due to the California commission’s additional suspension.
Sherdog.com: What’s your sense around Sonnen’s ability to get licensed in Nevada again? Kizer: I’ve seen Chael. I’ve talked to Chael at fights. Chael is now being quite clear with people that he and I never talked. He’s making that quite clear, and that any comments made before that we had talked were untrue. Dana White even came to me and said, “Keith, I know he lied about you. He lied about me. He lied about Marc Ratner. He lied about [UFC doctor] Jeff Davidson; but that’s who he is.” I said, “Well, that’s not good enough for me, you know, Dana. So, well, Dana, I appreciate that, but that’s not good enough for me.” Those guys want to deal with it, it’s fine, but I’m in my position; we have to deal with these fighters and we have to trust what they tell us, especially on health and safety stuff. So, you know, the good news is, yeah, he’s done his time, he’s made quite clear that any misinterpretation of his words that he and I had spoken is incorrect. And I appreciate that. I appreciate that he was very conciliatory and honorable to me when we talked after all those hearings happened and things like that. And I give the guy props for stepping up and doing that, so good for him. So, yeah, I don’t think there would be any issues with respect to him getting licensed here, be it as a corner man or a fighter. The question becomes one of competition, with him or anybody, if they plan to use TRT, they have to go through and get the exemption granted. And I can’t speak to any fighter, be it [Sonnen] or anyone else who’s not been granted the exemption -- who’s never applied for one, in fact -- to know what the outcome would be. The standards would be the same as they were for the fighters we’ve OK’d.