Armando Garcia

Report: Armando Garcia to Resign From CSAC (Updated)

Armando Garcia. Photo courtesy of

Armando Garcia will reportedly formally resign from his post as the head of the California State Athletic Commission at the group’s next meeting on November 18 in Los Angeles according to

Numerous commission-hired employees who asked not to be identified confirmed to on Saturday that Garcia had left the post, but were not given details of his exit. corresponded with Garcia via email as late as Thursday to discuss the CSAC’s decision to suspend the promoter licenses of Pro Elite and King of the Cage last Wednesday.

Commission representatives declined to comment on Garcia’s departure at a state-regulated MMA event on Saturday in Fresno, Calif. Representatives said an official statement from the Dept. of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the commission, would be issued shortly.

While the official reason behind his departure remains unknown, rumors are circulating regarding potential backlash that the CSAC received due to Garcia’s decision to suspend the promoter licenses of EliteXC and King of the Cage late last week. Garcia was involved in many controversial rulings during his three years as the head of the CSAC, including the suspension of Sean Sherk for a positive steroids test and not allowing Nick Diaz to fight because of a medical marijuana prescription. Fightlinker has a recap of Garcia’s past here.

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Goodridge Tapped to Face Buentello

Paul Buentello. Photo by Jon Swenson.

Longtime veteran and mixed martial arts pioneer Gary “Big Daddy” Goodridge has been cleared by the California State Athletic Comission as a replacement opponent for former UFC heavyweight title challenger Paul Buentello at tomorrow night’s Affliction: Banned show in Anaheim.

Greg Savage of was able to confirm Goodridge’s participation with CSAC Executive Officer Armando Garcia. The part-time K-1 kickboxer was in-shape and in California for an event in San Diego that ended up being cancelled. His bout against Buentello is not yet official however. Both fighters are required to weigh-in at 2 PM ET tomorrow.

Goodridge is currently riding a two-fight losing streak, most recently dropping a lackluster unanimous decision to Terroll Dees at an Iroquois MMA Championships event in June. His last victory was a TKO win over Jan Nortje at K-1 Hero’s 8 in March of last year.

Buentello’s original foe, Aleksander Emelianenko, was forced off the card earlier this evening after failing to receive medical clearance and meet licensing requirements. It’s also been confirmed that although Justin Levens and Ray Lizama are indeed slated to compete at a catch-weight of 187 lbs, Levens failed to make weight (he came in at 189 lbs) and will be docked part of his purse.

CSAC Close to Approving Amateur MMA

Photo by Jon Swenson.

The California State Athletic Commission is now moving closer to approving legislation that would make amateur mixed martial arts legal in the state.

The commission held their second-ever meeting concerning the non-professional side of the sport since the state began regulating it over two years ago. CSAC executive director Armando Garcia handed out a proposed set of rules that included quite a few changes compared to the regulations currently used by the state for professional events.

The amount of rounds during the course of a fight would be dependent on the experience of the competing fighters. There would be eighteen separate weight classes. Heel hooks, up-kicks, and neck cranks would all be prohibited as would slamming your opponent, hammer locks and elbows/forearms to the head of a grounded opponent.

If all goes well, the final draft of the rules could be submitted for approval as early as next week and if passed, amateur mixed martial arts events could start being held as soon as the end of this year. However Garcia points out that the legislation could have been passed long ago if it wasn’t for the lack of enthusiasm of his fellow members.

From MMA Weekly:

“It’s been slow in coming,” Garcia said in the report. “I’ve been pushing this thing left and right, and there’s little to no feedback at all. People just sit there and they look at me and hear me talking, and go ‘great, great, great,’ and I’m asking (for feedback) and nobody says anything.”

CSAC Causes Fickett to Replace Diaz

Photo by Esther Lin/ProElite.

The California State Athletic Commission has surprisingly ruled that Nick Diaz will not be permitted to fight at this weekend’s Elite Xtreme Combat and Strikeforce co-promoted “Shamrock vs Cung Le” show, which will take place at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.

Why? Well it depends who you ask. While MMA Weekly first broke the news late last night, Sherdog has since learned that there is quite the discrepancy as to why Diaz will not be competing.

According to CSAC Executive Officer Armando Garcia, Diaz failed to submit medical papers in time.

“He did not turn in his medical information in time for the fight,” Garcia told Sherdog’s Josh Gross. “They were just turned in today.”

EliteXC Live Events President Gary Shaw says different. According to Shaw, the issue has nothing to do with a deadline for Diaz’s medical papers and everything to do with the fact that the Stockton, California native owns a medical marijuana card, stemming from Diaz’s case of Attention Deficit Disorder.

“He never mentioned anything about late medicals,” said Shaw. “And if there were late medicals it wasn’t because of Nick Diaz and it wasn’t because of EliteXC. Nick does what you ask him, and you punish him? It’s like if you have a Ferrari and a police officer gives you a speeding ticket before you turn the key.”

Diaz’s adventures with marijuana have gotten him in trouble before. After submitting former PRIDE lightweight champion Takanori Gomi in April of last year, Diaz’s enormous upset was changed to a no-contest after the Nevada State Athletic Commission found that the amount of marijuana in Diaz’s system during the fight gave him a competitive advantage.

Drew Fickett, who was originally slated to take on Jake Shields for the EliteXC welterweight title before Shields suffered a back injury during training, will now step in and take on Diaz’s scheduled opponent, Jae Suk Lim.

CSAC Cancels WCO: The Return

Mark Kerr grapples with Mike Whitehead at an IFL event in November 2006. Photo courtesy of IFL.

The California State Athletic Commission has announced that it has cancelled the World Cagefighting Organization event scheduled for tonight at the San Diego Sports Arena due to insufficent funds gathered by the promoters of the event.

According to CSAC executive director Armando Garcia, the commission was informed that the WCO and Valor Fighting, who were co-promoting the event together, would not have enough money to pay the fighters competing on the card.

Josh Gross of Sherdog reports that WCO officials attempted to apply for a promoter’s license but were denied since there would not be enough time before the event to complete the application process. A promoter’s license would have allowed the organization to pay the fighters at a later date.

Even more disturbing, Ken Pishna of MMA Weekly has learned that several fighters were approached and asked to sign a new contract that would have them being paid $100 and then the difference of what they were supposed to make at a later date.

The CSAC has stated that all fighters are guaranteed 20% of their set purse per the commission’s rules and must be paid by January 18th.

The show was set to feature a number of notable veterans of the sport, including Ricco Rodriguez, Mike Kyle, Joe Riggs, David Loiseau, and Wesley “Cabbage” Correira among others. Mark Kerr and Kauai Kupihea were set to clash in a heavyweight bout. The main event was scheduled to have Renato “Babalu” Sobral going up against Vernon White.

Penn vs Stevenson For Interim UFC Lightweight Title

Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Sean Sherk will not be stripped of his UFC lightweight title and B.J. Penn and Joe Stevenson will face off for an interim title at UFC 80 in January in Newcastle, England. UFC president Dana White stated that he was fed up with the way the California State Athletic Commission has handled the Sherk case and because of that he has opted not to strip Sherk.

White had vowed to strip Sherk of the title, but said Friday that he no longer plans to do so.

“The way this whole thing has been handled has been a mess,” White said.

He said Penn and Stevenson, who said he learned on Tuesday that he and his wife will have another son, will fight for the interim title as the main event of UFC 80 in Newcastle, England, likely on Jan. 19.

The winner of that bout would then presumably face Sherk once Sherk’s status is defined by the commission.

Sean Sherk appeared before the CSAC on Oct. 31 but his case was postponed to Nov. 13 after the commission released they had not received the 17-page brief from Sherk’s attorney Howard Jacobs.

Sean Sherk Releases Statement

UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk has released a statement today stating that he has retained an attorney and plans to fight the allegations that he used anabolic agents leading up to his successful title defense at UFC 73.

“At the present time I cannot explain the positive drug test in Sacramento California.  I know I have never used any steroids or any other banned substances, I am investigating possible causes of my positive test with my attorney.  I have never cheated, all of my success has come from hard work and dedication to my sport!”

If the suspension stands, do you feel Sherk should be stripped of his lightweight title? Cast your vote now!

Sherk, Franca File Appeals With CSAC

Sean Sherk and Hermes Franca have both decided to file official appeals with the California State Athletic Commission less then one day after it was revealed that both had tested positive for steroids.

According to CSAC Executive Director Armando Garcia, Sherk and Franca will be scheduled to have their appeals heard on August 6th, the same day that Phil Baroni and all of the other fighters that have tested positive in recent months will also be in attendance to state their case.

Garcia also stated that he spoke to Sherk on the telephone yesterday afternoon and that Sherk told him he had never heard of the steroid Nandralone until now.

Franca has already admitted to taking drostanolone in order to heal an injured ankle before the fight even though he has filed an appeal. The appeal is most likely being submitted in order to have Franca’s suspension time possibly reduced.

Armando Garcia Talks Drugs in MMA

Last week the CSAC executive director Armando Garcia joined MMAWeekly’s SoundOff radio to discuss a wide array of topics including drugs in MMA, medicals, and more.

SoundOff host Damon Martin raised the question about drugs and steroids in MMA and Garcia responded with a very insightful answer.

“I’m very concerned. If I told you anything different it would essentially be a lie. I am very concerned, when you look at the high number of positives it’s really scary and steroids. This commission here which is the biggest commission in the country second only to Japan in the entire world - never did serious drug testing or basically any real drug testing until we started the program. I mean just think about that and that’s the State of California and money runs all of these operations. I went to my department of finance and I went and brought them shows and I explained the situation - we went and established a very detailed process for drug testing and they bought into it.

Now I’m using money from my support fund. That means my regular budget. I don’t have money. If I fine a guy $500 for a positive marijuana test - that money doesn’t go to me, that money goes into a special fund which I cannot touch. So the efforts that our commission is making is we’re cutting corners to do as many drug tests as possible. We did implement a very fair and equitable anti-doping process. But you know what, do I have the money to test everybody for steroids and everybody for drugs of abuse at every show when we had 186 events last year in California? No way.

I’m sending the message out, we’ve drug tested everybody across the board in multiple shows and these are the results. If the results don’t alarm you when we come out with them early next week from March 31st when we started this program to when you get the stats next week. You know what, people are using drugs. People unfortunately are uneducated that drugs will kill you and will greatly damage your quality of life as you get older and it’s cheating. I don’t care how much you candy coat it, it’s cheating. Performance enhancing or not, an athlete who is looked up to by kids should not be using drugs. They need to grow up a little you know?”

The point of recreational drugs was also raised and Garcia said:

“I’ve had several methamphetamine - talk about scary. If you look at it, put steroids out and you say ok what drugs are they abusing? They are abusing street drugs - cocaine, marijuana, pain killers and methamphetamine. These things are greatly damaging to athletes.”

In recent months there have been a slew of positive tests including the likes of:

Royce Gracie - Nandrolone; suspended 1 year.
Phil Baroni - Boldenone and Stanozolol; suspended 1 year.
Bas Rutten - Hydrocodone (painkiller), Morphine (painkiller), and Diphenhydramine (antihistamine); suspended 6 months.
Lodune Sincaid - Marijuana; suspended 3 months.
Cesar Gracie - Marijuana; suspended 3 months.
Ricco Rodriguez - Marijuana, and Cocaine; suspended 6 months.
Diego Sanchez - Marijuana; suspended 3 months.

These are just a few of the many fighters who have failed their drug tests in the past year.