Jose Figueroa fought in Moscow on November 20 and was knocked out in the first round. Then he fought in California on December 9 and was knocked out in the first round again. Now the California State Athletic Commission says it regrets allowing Figueroa into the ring for that second knockout loss -- but the Commission says it was Figueroa who failed to disclose his prior knockout loss when he filled out the Commission's paperwork at the weigh-in on December 8.
"Prior to the bout, Mr. Figueroa was required to fill out a pre-fight questionnaire indicating his last bout and the outcome of that bout. Mr. Figueroa did not list that fight nor did he list that he lost by KO," CSAC Executive Officer George Dodd told MMAFighting.com. "If CSAC would have known that Mr. Figueroa had fought in Russia three weeks prior to this event and lost by KO, we would not have allowed this fight to occur. We take health and safety of combative athletes very seriously, but the athlete also has a responsibility as well."
Dodd says he is looking into the possibility that Figueroa may face disciplinary action from the California Commission, something that Dodd says he hasn't had to do before.
"I haven't taken any type of disciplinary action since I've been here against a fighter not stating his previous fight," Dodd said.
But even if Figueroa failed to list his last fight on his paperwork, why didn't the CSAC do its own research? It's not like Figueroa's Moscow fight was a secret: It aired live on pay-per-view in the United States as the co-main event on the Fedor Emelianenko vs. Jeff Monson card, and Figueroa's loss was listed as part of his record on several online databases, and also mentioned in several news articles about the Fedor-Monson fight. (A Google News search of Jose Figueroa's name reveals more than 10 articles that referenced Figueroa's November 20 loss prior to his December 9 fight.)
Dodd says the California Commission was relying on a database that had not been updated with Figueroa's November 20 fight.
"The California State Athletic Commission reviews the Association of Boxing Commission (ABC) mixed martial arts website to review past fights and suspensions of fighters," Dodd told MMAFighting.com. "They did not list Jose Figueroa's previous fight in Russia nor did it list that he was on any type of suspension."
Dodd acknowledges that allowing a fighter to get knocked out twice in less than three weeks can have potentially serious health consequences.
"I think with any type of fighter that's been knocked out, a rush into the ring is the same thing as a football player who's been knocked out -- the secondary concussions are just as traumatic or more traumatic than the first one," Dodd said. "The brain and the body haven't healed themselves. So I take that seriously. In light of that, the fighter is at a greater risk when his body isn't able to recover after a KO loss. I'm not a medical doctor but in my experience and from what I've read about post-secondary concussions, yeah, it's definitely dangerous."
Ultimately, the responsibility to prevent a fighter from getting knocked out twice in rapid succession is on everyone involved, Dodd says.
"A fighter has the responsibility as well to ensure that he takes care of himself and doesn't put information down that could lead to disciplinary action against him," Dodd said. "They have a responsibility -- I think there's a lot of people that have the responsibility."