Keith Kizer: I welcome honest criticism


Keith Kizer doesn’t mind being a scapegoat. Truth be told, he kind of enjoys it.

As executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Kizer regularly absorbs the blame for perceived wrongdoings of every variety:
•Shoddy judging? Blame Kizer, who handpicks the cageside officials.
•Fight stopped too soon? Not soon enough? Blame Kizer, who screens and approves the referees.
•Was your favorite fighter deemed unfit to compete? That was probably Kizer.
•Drug testing too stringent? Not stringent enough? Testing for the wrong substances? Targeting the wrong fighters? Sure, blame Kizer for all those, too.

“I welcome criticism,” the chatty and chipper Kizer tells over the phone from his Las Vegas office. “None of us are above criticism. I welcome honest criticism – whether it is constructive or correct or not – as long as it’s honest.”

“Do I think that people over-criticize the refs? Yes, but that’s part of the fun,” he says.

“In every basketball game I’ve ever gone to, every time a foul is called, half the place is yelling about how bad the referee is. That’s part of what you do as a fan. After fights, everyone agrees that the judges are horrible, but they disagree on everything else when it’s close, which I find somewhat amusing.”

That’s not to say Kizer merely shrugs off criticism – he takes it seriously and continually reviews the way his office conducts its duties – but he’s realistic about how his role will continue to be perceived by fans and fighters alike.

“I take my job very seriously,” he says. “What we’re focusing on is making the sport as safe as possible, as legitimate as possible and as competitive as possible.”

Because Nevada is the de facto home of combat sports, Kizer’s commission is a kind of litmus test for how boxing and MMA are regulated throughout the rest of North America. This makes Kizer arguably the most influential governing authority in combat sports.

He has been an integral part of MMA’s evolution from what many critics perceived as a barbaric bloodbath to a closely-regulated, statistically-safe sport with mainstream respectability.

“I, like most people, am very happy when people fight clean,” he says. “I’m not hoping that people will fight dirty, just so I can catch them and make a case against them. We would much prefer to have a deterrent effect. Our biggest goal is to deter the use in the first place.”

Read entire article...


tags: Regulation   Keith Kizer   Nevada   NSAC   


Get the MMA Underground app. for iPhone and Andriod devices.
iPhone Application Andriod MMA Underground Application

Recent Comments »

tjmitchiscool site profile image  

1/20/13 10:41 AM by tjmitchiscool

Love how he had an ego trip for Chael, but mind you we have Cecil "kicks don't ko anyone" still as a judge...

Authority Figure site profile image  

1/19/13 11:48 PM by Authority Figure

The funny part of this whole thing is that I was reminded that testing is not mandatory in boxing. It ocurred to me that I have no idea how we arrived at this point. lol That glaring and obvious difference makes me wonder if Kizer risks anything in "cutting Nick some slack", but what do I know? It's funny, I'm more accustomed to commissioners that are much more professional, acutely sensitive to public perception and way more inclined to bring in experts - and listen to them. In my situation, I don't work with commissions that dole out any "punishment" or provide oversight over conduct. They dole out monies or work with gov't to improve public policy, encourage legislation. And they are way more effective, even at the snail's pace that most of them work, than sports commission appear to be. But, sports is its own world. And not only do their commissioners seem less intelligent, they seem to coping with a whole 'nother world of politics.  Sidebar: I wonder if any Mafia or ex-criminal types have ever been appointed to sports commissions? 

CindyO site profile image  

1/19/13 9:20 PM by CindyO

LOL!!! If Kirik can troll so can I=)   Cindy

UGSlapshot site profile image  

1/19/13 6:12 PM by UGSlapshot

Because the NSAC is full of incompetence and corruption.

Samjackson site profile image  

1/19/13 6:10 PM by Samjackson

There are a few problems that exist beyond where we are looking at this. It's not legal in NV to smoke, and is still federally illegal. As a state agency they tend to tow the line of what is legal in that state. Otherwise KK would lose his job, and the next one would just change it right back.Now as to the state of the NFL regulations, and doctor exemptions they still hold that should you get busted for pot under any cause you get hit as well. Being they are a multi-state agency their drug policy is in line with the federal government as the base line. A medical exemption card gets you the same treatment as toking up without one in the eyes of the NFL. The statement of the NFL is with, or without a medical use card you will be treated equally. You said that you work with commissions before, and so I wonder how much this is a manifestation of your overall frustrations with how they work. You know they won't do anything to risk a job especially if it goes against state law. You can be stricter than state laws in what you ask for certain things, but you cannot be less when operation within that agency. I have problems with the way we're treating this situation with Nick. The problem is I don't think he should be a poster boy for this movement of marijuana for mental health problems. Namely because I don't get the impression he wants to be used publicly like that given his dislike of public settings already. Beyond that I am pro-marijuana legalization, but I do understand the concern in professional sports. I think the main problem is the inability to test if they are currently under the influence reliably prior to a fight. We don't let people fight under the influence of anything because they are such a risk to themselves. When testing becomes such that we can tell general inebriation levels like that of alcohol I think we'll see the rulings change. Until that time however we have to be careful on the subject. If one kid gets badly injured right now while stoned you know the lobbyists will be all over that. So for now it needs to stay out just like popping for alcohol, vikes, or oxy. Less about it's validity as a medical tool, and more about it's inability to be tested in levels of inebriation prior to an event.

Authority Figure site profile image  

1/19/13 5:52 PM by Authority Figure

I'd like to see a full list of what they test for. I've never even checked to see if they have a website.

greenseed site profile image  

1/19/13 5:50 PM by greenseed

does anyone know if the Nsac tests every fighter for EPO? I would think with the endurance required for mma it might be widely used

Authority Figure site profile image  

1/19/13 5:50 PM by Authority Figure

You provided an excellent example. I appreciate it. I would like to hear Kizer share his context. I don't see how this thing with Nick really changes anything. He's got a medical use card. He carries himself in a way that would "suggest" that using marijuana would probably be a good thing. I'm no doctor, but hey, I'd believe him. I'd also be tempted to believe that he had good reason to not put it on his form, since he'd been suspended before.  The commission seems to lack any empathy for his obvious "condition" - whether we label it social anxiety or AHDD. Or both. They even seemed to lack a willingness to truly understand and learn when a medical expert and an attorney attempted to explain his situation. So he smokes in social settings. Hmm. Can person prescribed cough medicine, take it at the Thanksgiving table w/o negating the real purpose? Oh, well he got a little buzzed, he giggled. It made dinner pass time more quickly. So yeah, maybe it does negate his perscription. That's nonsensical.  Now, true social use - no card, no condition - just using to be using, which he had done before and accidently discovered like many - that it helped - is a little different. But the commission sounded like the guys that probably instituted prohibition. Rigid. Zealous. Hardened.    Now again, your example is good. But it's not quite apples to apples. Or did the NFL suspend and fine a player that was smoking marijuana at the advice of a doctor? 

Authority Figure site profile image  

1/19/13 5:43 PM by Authority Figure

Aren't you a case worker?  I have a lot of respect for social work, but let's be honest, you dunno what the hell Kizer is going through, what he does, what he faces on a daily basis. I work state department heads directly. I take meetings in D.C. with administrators. I've worked directly with 3 state commissions (none related to sports) and even I wouldn't assume I know what's going on. That said, I would gain a lot of respect for Kizer if he dropped in and answered even two questions posed by any of us. 

ChaosOverkill site profile image  

1/19/13 5:42 PM by ChaosOverkill

You held a special seminar for the Pac vs Marquez 4 judges. Yes I get that someone threatened you who has a a lot of money and sway but please stop being a complicit crook and hold one for MMA judges.