Editorial: Pennsylvania Athletic Commission Dropped The Ball At UFC Fight Night 83

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To those who have ever fought MMA in the north east of the USA know the headaches involved in the state of Pennsylvania. This was made public by Brian Stann this weekend via twitter. He was appalled enough to tweet some of the issues that UFC fighters had to endure this past weekend in Pittsburgh. The main culprit of the constant fiascos is the commissioner Greg Sirb.

As a fighter myself from the state of Pennsylvania but now resides in Florida, I have felt the wrath of this man and his absolute ridiculous power trip. This will allow me to shed some real light on the problems he has caused. I hold him personally responsible for ruining two weekends of my career.

I don’t want to make this personal but it surely is and when I saw those tweets from Brian Stann this weekend, it vindicated everything I felt and experienced dealing with Sirb. He can actually ruin the fighters entire experience and has done so many times hearing many promoters stories over the years. Stann’s comments ignited an anger in me that has sat for a few years. You try to forget but when you are “wronged”, it never goes away then infuriates me finding out he still is up to his old tricks.

Here is the way the process is supposed to take place during weigh-ins and this is consistent everywhere you go. There are no exceptions to this process and it’s pretty much set in stone. The fighters expect it to be run this way because they are the ones that have weight cuts and have to plan around the protocol. If things change they suffer and their process becomes more difficult and that could affect their performance on fight night that they have been preparing for 6 to 8 weeks. When big money is on the line and UFC contracts are in balance, this is serious business.

  • The fighters show up the night before the event for weigh-ins and physicals. At this time they fill out paper work and go through physicals. Most fighters are on weight at this time and just going thru the motions waiting for their time to step on the scale. It’s done every where the same and no state or commission makes their own rules. It’s the commissioner’s job to schedule and organize the entire process.
  • After the fighters weigh-in, they are free to eat , sleep and relax anyway they seem fit. It is also customary for the fighters to sleep in on fight day because of the exhaustion of making weight and traveling the days plus the long day of stress ahead. They usually do not have to be at the venue until that evening no earlier than 6pm for sign in and a meeting. This gives each and every fighter a fair shake to come away with a victory.

Brian Stann tweeted that the doctors were late and the fighters weight cut was interrupted when they finally showed as they were forced to stop thus stopping there sweat and then building back up again. Obviously Greg Sirb dropped the ball and mis-scheduled everything. You could call it a mistake but it’s happened repeatedly and it’s mostly because he makes his own rules. He holds himself and his way above protocol with no concern or respect for the participants or organization. This is the exact reason the UFC rarely comes to Pittsburgh and choose Newark,New Jersey over Philadelphia. The UFC grew tired of his antics and choose not to deal with the commission.

The second thing Brian Stann tweeted was the female fighters were subjected to last minute specific tests after their weigh in when they were ready to eat. So this is another example of doing things his way out of the ordinary and different from any other state or athletic commission on earth. Those female fighters were ready to leave and eat but were subjected to more unforeseen testing. That is WRONG !

Please realize the UFC puts events on all over the world and there has never been an issue of doctors being late or any protocol being interrupted. This is just gross example and proved exactly what I always thought.

In 2012 at a World Cagefighting Championship held in a Greensburg, Pennsylvania, I was scheduled for the main event. I expected a certain process just like my previous 10 plus pro fights but I was completely wrong. I showed up at weigh ins the evening before and Greg Sirb was not there nor were the doctors. This card was a professional/amateur combo event so there were only 3 pro fights scheduled and therefore Greg Sirb scheduled all of us to show up the next morning at 9AM. That meant other pro fighters had to drive in an hour leaving their house by 8am on fight day !!!! They are forced to wake up at 8am to drive to a physical that should have been done the night before when weighing in. That is obscene really.

As I stated earlier, this is completely wrong and not in the contract but Sirb scheduled the doctor to look at all of us at the same time. Since amateurs weigh in same day, the pros were thrown right in to that group. So basically I am an experienced Pro MMA fighter in the Main Event and my schedule, preparation and fight day wake up time is the same as the amateurs meaning I could be side by side with a debut amateur waiting for my turn. That is completely unfair but it got worse.

The next morning when I showed up to the “physical”, Greg Sirb brought the 6 pros up front and handed us a paper to sign and said, “Ok guys, see you at 4pm for the physical”. Sirb woke us up to sign a piece of paper only to cut our day even shorter telling us to come back way earlier than expected! I should have walked from the card at that point but had a lot of family and friends that I sold tickets to coming. My rest and prep was being severely interrupted as was my opponents but as an older fighter from out of state, I needed a smooth process. Couple this with the fact he barely approved the fight due to me being inactive for a year. My opponent had the same record and fights as myself and I had to call and plead to let me fight. I am in super shape and train all the time and this guy judges me from six states away not to mention I was 2-0 in PA at that point. Dealing with him was already exhausting.

Let’s not forget the other pro fighters that drove in for weigh ins then came back to sign a piece of paper to only be told to be back at 4pm. This is completely wrong.

He made his own rules and schedule to suit him. When I asked him why we were there to sign a piece of paper on fight day. He replied by saying he likes to see the fighters in the morning. That is pure disrespect and disregard for the fighters preparation and their time but it got worse.

If your sleep was interrupted to wake up after a restless night then you’re infuriated by the fact you are up to sign a piece of paper then told to return at 4pm, I ask all you fighters out there…. When do you eat your last meal before the fight ? If your packing any food or eating before, you probably have to leave the hotel at 2:30 to have to time to get the venue or you eat a quick lunch and starve they the doctors then rush off to eat right after.

The Doctors giving the physicals did not show until 5pm thus putting us all behind for out pre-fight meal. Not to mention he moved the show start time up to 7 from 7:30. He probably did that to allow him to get home sooner.

I could go on and on about my personal experience and the lack of sleep and meal time prep he caused me and others on that card that evening. It was my first fight back after a while and in my hometown. I surely did not need to feel like I was fighting Greg Sirb and his undermining ways that weekend. I was so upset and mad at him that few days on top of the other factors, I did not perform even close to my potential and that is upsetting.

But who do you appeal to or file a complaint to ? There is no one higher. The next year he would not approve a fight I was matched up with saying the guy was 3-4 and not good enough. That is laughable considering the money on the purse and the fact I was 40 years old and my opponent would have been younger than 30. Not to mention I was inactive that full year as well. Heaven forbid I have a builder fight to gain confidence or start a streak.

So if your keeping track, one year I am not active enough and the next I am too good for the opponent. It makes zero sense.

This what I mean by him holding back the PA fighters. He will not work with fighters to reach a bigger stage. He is there to crush your hopes and ruin your chances. I know a guy in Florida and many others who have fought 3-18 guys and another who fought a 3-8 guy in the WSOF card in Tampa but I am discouraged as many others on fighting anyone short of a future UFC bid for peanuts.

This is Greg Sirb’s way of control. He has zero fights and claims he was a good wrestling back in the day but who knows. He will surely fill you in. All I know is he does more bad than good and should be removed. The state of Delaware already ceased using him as the PA commission covered their events.

Now he most likely made the UFC brass have no desire to come back thus ruining many fighters chances of moving up. Take note of the lack of PA guys on the undercard and Pittsburgh guys in the UFC. They do not get the exposure due to this ego maniac blocking their progress.

Let me explain it more thoroughly for everyone. Greg Sirb does not care about MMA not does he endorse events across the state. He obviously wants to keep the sport down and make it difficult to “rise up” both individually and as a sport. He must know what people think of him and can read all the negative comments online. He just does not care and makes his own rules. He thinks he is a sheriff of a small town and the UFC is a visitor. I guarantee Dana White lost a lot of sleep concerning this event.

One more example would be forcing out of state fighters to do all their medicals in PA. He has demanded that fighters see his doctors to get cleared.

If you want more examples and don’t believe me, just Google “Greg Sirb”. You will find more than you bargained for. Maybe someone will be smart enough to start a petition soon to push him out. That would be the best news for PA and the northeast MMA allowing fighters a fair shake in climbing the ranks into bigger promotions. Otherwise as Connor McGregor would say, “This state is stuck in the mud.”

The views expressed in this editorial are solely those of the author, James Brasco. 

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