Georgia MMA in turmoil

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Last week former Executive Director of the Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission Andy Foster was announced as the new California State Athletic Commission Executive Director. Foster begins his new job today.

While the state of regulation in California is a shambles, under Foster’s direction, revenue increased by 70 percent in The Peach State, and the number of regulated fighting events went up by 40 percent.

“We are hoping he can do in California what he did in Georgia in terms of increasing both revenue and the number of shows,” stated CSAC chairman John Frierson.

However, in his absence, MMA in Georgia is in turmoil, as reported by MMAJunkie.

A commissioner with the Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission (GAEC) on Tuesday accused a top state official of appointing an unsuitable candidate, Steve Lindsey, to run the office.

Until a qualified person is found, GAEC commissioner Rick Thompson said, the future of combat sports in the state is in jeopardy.

“Our primary goal is to protect the fans and the fighters so that there are fair and competitive fights,” Thompson said Tuesday. “I cannot in good conscience vote for any event permits where someone who’s not qualified is matching fights.”

“The secretary of state (Brian Kemp) has appointed someone who does not have any experience in MMA, has no desire to learn it, and has stated they won’t go to any fights,” said Thompson.

Kemp, who’s responsible for filling the position of GAEC executive director, said appointee Lindsey is “more than qualified” to do the job having served 10 years as the secretary of state’s executive director.

Thompson and others counter that Lindsey alienated commissioners at the Monday meeting when he informed attendees via telephone that he wouldn’t be going to any events held in the state. Lindsey, they added, is overworked. He serves as the executive director on eight other administrative boards in Georgia, none of which serve in a regulatory capacity.

“(Match making) is a specialty and a full-time job,” said Thompson. “Secretary Kemp believes it’s an administrative job that can be done part time by somebody who is the executive director of eight other boards.”

Thompson said the commission will meet in the coming weeks to discuss possible solutions to the current situation.

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