The California State Athletic Commission has named a new chief executive.
Andy Foster was confirmed for the position this week. He has moved from the Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission, where he has built up an excellent reputation and increased revenues by 70 per cent.
Interestingly Foster is a former fighter himself and sport a 9-2 professional MMA record. He has a reputation for integrity and honest dealings, which is something that CSAC - usually headed by political appointments - badly needs.
“I'm very excited to be coming to California. It has a rich boxing and MMA presence with the largest number of shows in the nation, and I look forward to ensuring a regulatory environment that is consistent and fair based upon contestant safety, public protection, and economic growth,” says Foster.
CSAC chairman John Frierson says that the body hopes Foster can “do in California what he did in Georgia in terms of increasing both revenue and the number of shows”. He will also no doubt be hoping that Foster can do something to fix CSAC’s borderline shady reputation for mismanagement and financial improper.
In 2011, three-year CSAC chief executive Armando Garcia was forced to resign after various reports made his position untenable. These included sexual harassment claims, allegations that he was cancelling fights and events for personal motives and an instance where he was found in possession of $350,000 cash but could not offer a convincing explanation as to its source.
After an interval he was replaced by George Dodd, who was forced to resign in July this year after an audit by the District of California found that CSAC was in fact bankrupt. Of concern to the DCA were the enormous travel and travel-related expenses bills being put in by CSAC officials sent to cover events. They dwarfed the expenses of any other athletic commission.
Hopes are high that Foster can turn things around in what is the USA’s spiritual homeland for mixed martial arts. But if he cannot, we can be sure he at least will be better than the last two men to hold the position.