The Best MMA Writing of 2011: Michael David Smith and the CSAC's Error in Licensing Jose Figueroa

Earlier this month Michael David Smith of MMAFighting peered into the familiar window of an athletic commission failing to do its job. Jose Figueroa (10-6) was knockout out by former foe Artiom Damkovsky just two minutes into the fight at M-1's Challenge 30 show, December 9th in California. The problem? Daniel Weichel had knocked Figueroa out 3 weeks prior less than two minutes into the bout at M-1 Global's Fedor vs. Monson event in Russia.

As to how this could have happened, well, Figueroa failed to notify the commission of his last bout. George Dodd, CSAC's executive officer, expressed remorse over the situation. The show of regret is a nice touch.

But it's only because Dodd's behavior is atypical of an official accepting responsibility that we feel the need to applaud his transparency. When Dodd considers disciplinary action against the fighter for failing to notify the commission of his last bout, we're left wondering why a fighter would ever be punished for failing to do the commission's job that could have been resolved with a quick trip to Sherdog's fight finder. As Smith notes:

But even if Figueroa failed to list his last fight on his paperwork, why didn't the CSAC do its own research? It's not like Figueroa's Moscow fight was a secret: It aired live on pay-per-view in the United States as the co-main event on the Fedor Emelianenko vs. Jeff Monson card, and Figueroa's loss was listed as part of his record on several online databases, and also mentioned in several news articles about the Fedor-Monson fight. (A Google News search of Jose Figueroa's name reveals more than 10 articles that referenced Figueroa's November 20 loss prior to his December 9 fight.)

'Two knockouts in three weeks': this is not a piece of medical history that can be readily dismissed, and it's something Dodd addresses in Smith's article. It certainly isn't for the NFL. The league dealt with public scrutiny earlier this month when Colt McCoy of the Cleveland Browns took a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit, and concussion tests weren't conducted until after the game (his dad would later report that Colt couldn't remember anything from the game following the hit).

Former NFL players Jamal Lewis, and Dorsey Levens are two among a growing number of players who are suing the league over brain related injuries.

And the NHL is dealing with its own demons following the death of Derek Boogaard (out of the four NHL players who have had their brains looked at for the degenerative disease known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, he is the fourth to have it). Unlike the big leagues, I'm not sure MMA can afford its own Terry Long story.

Check out the full article here (which contains videos of the bouts). Michael David Smith can be found on twitter @MichaelDavSmith.

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