Commission Doctors Examined Matt Hamill, Said Staph Was Healing

During Saturday night's Ultimate Fighter Finale, one question was asked over and over again by UFC fans in living rooms and sports bars, in chat rooms and on Twitter: What is that thing on Matt Hamill's back?

The answer, Hamill explained at his post-fight press conference, was that the red mark on his lower back was a staph infection. And that led to a new question: Why would the Nevada State Athletic Commission allow Hamill to fight with a staph infection?

I put that question to Duff Holmes, Hamill's manager, who said Sunday that the Commission was fully aware that Hamill had staph, that Commission doctors looked at the boil on his back, and that the medical opinion of those who examined him was that fighting with the boil on his back wouldn't pose any threat to either Hamill, opponent Keith Jardine, or anyone else.

"The doctors and the Commission were aware and repeatedly examined the red mark on Matt's back," Holmes told me. "They concluded that it was healing and hardened to the point that it posed no threat to Matt or anyone else inside the Octagon."

That medical conclusion doesn't sit well with some observers. Dr. Johnny Benjamin wrote that it was "a poor medical decision" for the Nevada Commission to allow Hamill to fight, and Zach Arnold pointed out that staph infections represent a major health and safety issue for fighters.

But everything related to a fighter's health is ultimately the decision of the Commission. And in the case of Hamill's staph infection, it was the Commission's decision that the fight could go on.

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