An incident with a fighter who passed out between rounds but was allowed to continue at an RFA event this past Friday has drawn a ton of media attention. The Wyoming State Athletic Commission put out a statement yesterday and threw their support behind their officials, stating that (despite video evidence to the contrary) the ringside doctor checked the fighter before allowing the bout to continue.
The statement read:
Thank you for reaching out to the Board. As to your question regarding Mr. Maranhao, he was thoroughly examined by a licensed physician after he fell off his stool between the 4th and 5th round of the RFA event in Cheyenne on April 11. He was also examined by his corner men and the referee. All parties, including Mr.Maranhao, believed and stated unequivocally that Mr. Maranhao was medically safe to and capable of finishing the fight. In fact, he fought well in the last round and lost in a close split decision. He was examined by a licensed physician after the bout as well and again found to have no neurological or other medical issues of concern.
The Wyoming State Board of Mixed Martial Arts stands by our physicians and officials and has the utmost confidence in their ability to assess the medical status of Wyoming contestants. Safety is the Board’s number one priority and all necessary precautions were taken at the April 11 RFA event to ensure that Mr. Maranhao was safe to continue fighting.
Again, thank you for your interest in Wyoming MMA.
Again, the event was televised on AXS TV and the doctor's "thorough examination" amounted to asking the cornerman if the fighter was alright and then leaving the cage.
Nick Lembo of the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board is also the Chair of the Association of Boxing Commission's MMA Training and Officials Committee. He provided the following statement to Bloody Elbow:
As the Chair of the ABC's MMA Training and Officials Committee, I have already e-mailed articles, statements and video to the attention of the ABC President and several other Commissioners.
A loss of consciousness/stability as seen at RFA 14 should ALWAYS equate to the immediate termination of the contest.
The sport of MMA is not akin to Burmese Lefhwei in the sense that there are no timeouts or breaks in the contest subsequent to knockouts or loss of consciousness until such time that the contestant "recovers", chooses to continue, and action resumes.
The demand for accountability should continue from the MMA world, and Wyoming should be forced to address this in a much more thorough way than they have to this point.