The Association of Boxing Commissionsn has denounced as “unwarranted and illegal” a boxing match scheduled to be held in Birmingham, Alabama this coming Saturday between former UFC champion Tim Silva (boxing debut) and former WBO world boxing heavyweight champion Ray Mercer (now, 48 years old). In the absence of a currently operating boxing / athletic commission in Alabama, the boxing match was to be regulated by a representative of the River Cree Combative Sports Commission, a tribal boxing commission located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; and the bout was to be refereed by John McCarthy, a renowned MMA referee who, it is believed, to date, has not been licensed as a boxing referee.
Tim Lueckenhoff, the President of the ABC, noted that the contest between Silva and Mercer had been turned down by the New Jersey Athletic Control Board as an MMA contest and as a boxing match in March, 2009; however, when it later was proposed as an MMA contest, as opposed to a boxing match, in Alabama, the ABC did not have the authority to stop it. Yesterday, when it was learned that the Silva – Mercer contest would be conducted as a boxing match (in a cage) in Alabama, Mr. Lueckenhoff, noting that the federal law and its requirements then became applicable, said, “the ABC has not been requested to supervise, and it is not supervising, this boxing match.”
Bruce C. Spizler, the Chairman of the ABC Legal Committee, referencing provisions first enacted by Congress in 1996 as part of the Professional Boxing Safety Act, stated that no person may promote, or fight in, a professional boxing match held in a state that does not have a boxing commission unless the match is supervised (regulated) by a commission from another state or tribe in the U.S. which is authorized by state or tribal law to regulate professional boxing matches; and if no such commission is available to supervise the boxing match, the boxing match may not be held unless it is supervised by the ABC. “Canadian boxing commissions are not authorized to supervise boxing matches in the U.S.; and, patently, it is wholly inappropriate for one representative from a Canadian boxing commission, together with an MMA referee, to supervise a boxing match,” Mr. Spizler said.
Greg Sirb, Past President of the ABC, contacted the River Cree Combative Sports Commission and MMA referee John McCarthy to reiterate the illegalities and improprieties attendant to the Silva – Mercer boxing match. Last night, in the aftermath of the advisements and protestations of Mr. Sirb, the representative from the River Cree, as well as MMA referee John McCarthy, withdrew from the scheduled Silva – Mercer boxing match.