Texas Authorities Respond to Strikeforce: Houston Controversies -- Nothing to See Here, Move Along

MMA Junkie reports:

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation believes no harm or foul got in the way of this past Saturday's "Strikeforce: Houston."

Susan Stanford, the TDLR's Public Information Officer, today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal and K.J. Noons were within their rights to use bottled oxygen prior to competition.

Additionally, the TDLR found no lapses in officiating with Noon's second-round TKO of Jorge Gurgel or Chad Griggs' second-round TKO of Bobby Lashley.

Mike Chiappetta talks to the ring side physician, Dr. Jorge Guerrero:

"Is there controversy about this?" Guerrero asked when reached by phone Monday morning. "The fighters didn't use anything against the rules. When it's something that's not overtly prohibited or limited, it's usually left up to the doctors at ringside, and we make the call on the spot. I think that's what happened here."

He also talks to New Jersey authorities who say it would NOT have been allowed in NJ:

"We wouldn't have a problem with the oxygen per se but the canister could contain most any type of vaporized substance in addition to oxygen that could include banned substances and it would be impossible to ascertain such at that point in time," said Nick Lembo, the legal counsel for the New Jersey state athletic control board.

I'm honestly not surprised at all.

In my mind the appalling refereeing of the Lashley and Noons fights were much bigger issues. I agree with Jorge Gurgel that there wasn't much the referee could have done to stop the late blow at the end of the first round. I also believe that Gurgel was still actively defending himself so it wasn't a true cheap shot. Nor did the illegal kick at the end impact the fight, which should have been stopped sooner. The Noons-Gurgel fight was poor reffing, but not exceptionally bad by MMA standards, sadly.

The biggest outrage of the night in the full entry.

That can't be said of the Bobby Lashley-Chad Griggs fight. Lashley had Griggs mounted when the ref stood them up to check on Lashley's cut, then restarted them on their feet. As a general rule, some positions in MMA are so dominant -- the mount, side mount, back mount and the mounted crucifix -- that IMO should never be stopped for inactivity. The position itself is inherently threatening and the furthest thing from a stalemate. If the cut had to be checked -- which is questionable since it was below the eye and NOT interfering with Lashley's vision, especially in that position -- the restart should have happened back in the mount.

I'll let Josh Gross finish:

Referees are allowed to intervene at any point they want in a fight. They're also allowed to restart bouts where they've been broken -- usually when a fighter is the mount he or she is given the courtesy of reclaiming it.

Not tonight. Not according to (Referee Jon) Schorle, whose poor choice directly influenced the outcome of the fight.

Griggs wasn't going to get Lashley off of him. Maybe he would have survived the round and found a stoppage in the third. We won't know. And that's the real point. Lashley isn't Lesnar. But even if he'll never become a great fighter, he's a fighter nonetheless. He deserved the attention of a competent official, which Schorle has proven time and time again he is not.

Our own Luke Thomas compiled the best one-post summary of Shorle's infamy yesterday. Read it and weep sports fans. 

The moral of the story is that as the sport expands, more fights are going to be held in more markets like Texas, Arizona, Florida, Australia, and the UK that have far less professional regulatory bodies than combat sports meccas like New Jersey and Nevada. These are growing pains that come with the new territories.

Don't forget the way Florida swept the Kimbo Slice-Seth Petruzelli "stand gate" fiasco under the rug with a cursory investigation. That was a far more serious situation with allegations of attempted fight fixing by a promoter and nothing was done.

Sadly, Strikeforce, as the smaller promotion, is having their own growing pains as an organization and can't really be expected to act as a de facto commission the way the UFC does in Texas or the UK. Nevertheless, Strikeforce should have drug tested at least a few of the fighters on the card. Texas has a track record of not drug testing and Strikeforce has handled drug testing its fighters before -- Alistair Overeem in Missouri.

Even under the best of circumstances, fighters are risking their health for our entertainment. As fans we really owe it to them that we insist on better work from the commissions and the promotions to ensure fights are as safe and fair as possible. 


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