Drew Fickett file photo: Erin MacDonald | Sherdog.com
The Weekly Wrap walks readers through the last seven days in MMA, recapping and putting into context the week's top story, important news and notable quotes.
In a prime example of how complex a task running an MMA event can be, an exceptionally convoluted turn of events resulted in the first pay-per-view offering from Shine Fights taking place on unsanctioned turf Friday. The promotion hastily changed host states from Virginia to Oklahoma due to regulatory issues in an uprooting that cost the company a pay-per-view clearance and harmed its image among regulators.
Drew Fickett ran the field in the show’s eight-man tournament. He defeated Charles Bennett, Dennis Bermudez and Carlo Prater, all via submission.
The two first rounds of the tournament featured two five-minute rounds with a three-minute overtime round if the rounds split. The final fight was three five-minute rounds.
Instead of the tournament, the focus was on the promotion’s struggle to find a venue for the event after becoming promotion non grata among athletic commissions, in part because of their failed attempt to do a pay-per-view on May 15. Originally scheduled for the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va., the event was shifted to a casino on sovereign Native American territory in Newkirk, Okla., on the week of the card.
Virginia regulators did not sanction the event because of a series of concerns about the promotion’s application, which reportedly lacked some documents like medicals and fighter records as well as a surety bond that is required to ensure fighters get paid their contracted amount in the event of a cancellation. Several fighters remain disgruntled for their partial or complete lack of compensation after Shine Fights’ May 15 card in North Carolina fell through on the day of the event in large part because such a bond had not been secured.
Shine claimed in a news release that Virginia’s issues were rooted in the promotion’s plan to hold a one-night tournament with matchups chosen by fan votes on the Internet, and “members of the MMA community” pointing out issues with the May 15 card to commissions. MMASpot.com reported that the president of the Association of Boxing Commissions, the umbrella organization for state regulators, sent notice to all member commissions of issues surrounding Shine fights’ problems in North Carolina, which likely tripped greater scrutiny of the company.
Shine Fights CEO Devin Price told Sherdog.com that he had e-mailed a PDF of the requisite bond to the state, and had agreed to provide a cashier’s check the day of the event that would be held in escrow to ensure fighters, officials and the commission was paid. Price said the commission began to back off from sanctioning the event because it was “getting a lot of heat from the other commissions and had decided to change his mind.”
The unrest resulted in DirecTV dropping coverage of the pay-per-view out of fear that the event may not have gone off as planned. Shine Fights did not announce the actual tournament matchups until this past week. Falling out of the field was Marcus Aurelio, who said he suffered an elbow injury in training but still would seek to fight Shinya Aoki in Japan on Sept 25.
Aurelio may have been heeding a warning from Oklahoma’s athletic commission, which does not have jurisdiction over the territory where the card took place. Director Joe Miller said in several interviews that fighters who participated in the unsanctioned event would be prohibited from obtaining a license in the state for 60 days.
The suspension would likely be recognized by all state commissions, effectively shelving the fighters from competing for two months. Shine attempted to get sanctioned by Oklahoma for the event in Norman, but was denied based of the amount of time -- 41 minutes -- a tournament participant could have fought in one night, Miller told MMAJunkie.com.
The Florida-based Shine Fights, which sparked the legal ire of boxing promoter Don King when promoting a fight between boxer Ricardo Mayorga and Din Thomas in May, is still dogged by claims from fighters that they were not appropriately compensated for the cancelled event. A report in the Fayetteville Observer said the Crown Center, where the event was to be held, was owed some $42,000 in hotel, travel and staffing costs.