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Dana White and U.F.C. 249 Face Big Hurdles in California Fight

  • April 09, 2020

Tachi Palace Casino Resort regularly hosted regional mixed martial arts events under the moniker Tachi Palace Fights from 2009 through 2018, when it stopped because of a reduced entertainment budget, according to Richard Goodman, the matchmaker for the fights. For several years those fights were unsanctioned, with Goodman hiring referees, judges and medical personnel as independent contractors, but beginning in 2016 he hired the California State Athletic Commission to administer the fights.

Many tribes have their own athletic commissions, but the Tachi-Yokut does not.

“The California commission started really coming down on us as far as not counting these fights on the professional record,” Goodman said, explaining why he began sanctioning the fights, even though it was an added cost.

The California athletic commission has said it will not approve any fight through at least May 31. But the U.F.C. — which commonly authorizes its own events in countries with limited combat-sports infrastructure — has its own referees, judges and medical personnel to hold fights. For years, the U.F.C. sought the legitimacy of state commissions; now, in many ways, that is immaterial as the company keeps its own records.

“It won’t matter to them as long as it is in their U.F.C. database,” said Goodman, who is now an executive at Valor Bare Knuckle boxing. “They are the top dog. Even if you say this fight doesn’t count for us, it is on TV, everyone knows it happened.”

Participants in unsanctioned fights have been punished in the past, and the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports has specifically warned that could happen again.

“All officials that decide to participate in the event, they may be sanctioned on a tribal/state level,” the association’s board of directors said in a statement to The MMA Report. Brian Dunn, the A.B.C.’s executive director and the deputy athletic commissioner of the Nebraska Athletic Commission, later said that he had discussed the event with the U.F.C. and that the A.B.C.’s official position on the event was neutral.

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