Today, most within the MMA community — fighters, authority figures, and fans — are familiar with how MMA is presently sanctioned. UFC is probably at the forefront when it comes to sanctioned standards and compliance. From the incorporation of drug tests and weight classes to the banning of certain moves deemed too dangerous, UFC is doing all the can to be squeaky clean in a combat sport in which such a term does not fit. Needless to say, smaller MMA promotions will follow what UFC has done simply because the best are often emulated.
However, some in the MMA community still remember the violent days of limited rules and no weight classes, especially in the initial days of UFC. Such unnecessary brutality is still desired resulting in unsanctioned MMA events. Though most events got away by going under the radar, that may change due to a viral video of a ruthless knockout. Because of it, an investigation into unsanctioned MMA events is taking place in California.
The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) is launching an investigation into unsanctioned events in the light of said viral video, as reported by MMA Fighting. John Carvelli, the chairman of CSAC, claims they are considering sanctions against fighters who compete in unregulated shows, especially on Native American Reserves. Carvelli also claims they are investigating promoters for criminal acts.
“We have a lot of authority over our licensees and if we feel like they’re engaging in unsafe activities, we will look at that license very closely.”
John Carvelli did say CSAC would consider or revoking licenses of athletes who fight for such unsanctioned events on a “case-by-case basis.”
As for the viral video itself, most probably think it would be something out of Shootfighter or Bloodsport. Though the video is still brutal, it is good that is not the case. The video causing the investigation is when Ilima MacFarlane brutally knocked out Katie Castro for Xplode Fight Series (XFS).
Gregg Sharp, the owner of XFS, claims BJ Penn coining the term “soccer mom” for Katie Castro is what caused the video to go viral. And though Castro does look like such, Sharp also claims she is a legit MMA fighter, though not a good one.
“Katie’s not a great fighter, but she’s a street fighter. She’s far from a soccer mom. The reason why this has gone viral is because of that word. If they put ‘Street fighter loses to MMA fighter,’ this thing gets 12 hits on YouTube.”
In defense of XFS, they do have two CSAC-licensed referees as officials, and one of them says the promotion is comparable to others its size. XFS also makes sure to have doctors and an ambulance at their events just in case. Also, there are fight schools, including the San Diego Combat Academy, defending XFS for giving fighters a platform to start their MMA careers.
Summarized, it seems the only reason why XFS is being targeted is because of that one viral video. It should be noted professional fighters do understand what they are doing, and Katie Castro is a professional as shown in her three fight history on Sherdog. But if any good does come out of this, it is the threat CSAC has made may cause a decline in unsanctioned fights, either it be reported or not.
[Image via Screen Capture of Bloodsport]