Last weekend, the UFC touched down in Buffalo, New York with UFC 210. The event marked the promotion’s fourth show in the state, after stops in Manhattan, Albany, and Brooklyn. Nearly all of these shows have included some form of controversy, much of which can be attributed to the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC). The commission is experiencing serious growing pains as it learns to sanction mixed martial arts, which was only recently legalized in the state.
UFC lightweight Jim Miller has now fought twice in the state: first, against Thiago Alves at UFC 205 in Manhattan , then against Dustin Poirier at UFC 208 in Brooklyn. Both times he fought in the state, Miller has been seriously inconvenienced by the NYSAC. This, when coupled with the commissions many blunders at the recent UFC 210, have left him with little desire to fight in New York again. Miller shared his grievances on the latest episode of BJ Penn Radio.
“It’s a pain in the ass,” he said of fighting in New York. “I personally don’t want to fight in New York again, just because of the things I’ve had to deal with. I got sent to the hospital after I fought Alves, and you know, everything gets cleared and stuff like that, and New York suspended me, and they didn’t tell anybody. They didn’t tell the UFC, they didn’t tell me. I didn’t find out until about three weeks before the [Dustin Poirier] fight [in Brooklyn] that I needed to get an angiogram and have it get cleared by a neurologist and all this stuff. I’m like, ‘you’re expecting me to get into a neurologist in like a week? Come on.’ My fight was able to happen and all that stuff, but it just adds to the stress, having to jump through all these hoops and not even be told.”
Miller also experienced some inconveniences in the buildup to his fight with Alves. When Alves missed weight for the fight, Miller learned at the very last minute that, in order to the fight to go ahead as a catchweight, he would need to weigh within five pounds of his foe.
“Nobody knew about the five-pound difference for a catchweight,” he said. “Nobody knew about that. I didn’t find out about that until like 45 minutes or half an hour before weigh ins. One of the UFC reps comes and knocks on my door while I’m cutting weight and says ‘oh yeah, you’ve gotta be within five pounds of Thiago for the fight to be on.’ And I’m like ‘well, why didn’t we know this? It seems like a kind of important rule.’ And you know, you already had the one fight scrapped because of it, the [Donald Cerrone vs. Kelvin Gastelum] fight.”
Despite New York’s obvious issues with overseeing MMA, Miller believes the commission is doing their best.
“I think they’re just trying to re-invent the wheel,” he said. “It’s not that they’re doing things that are unsafe or anything like that. They’re trying to take really good care of the fighters. But they’re kind of being really overbearing with it, and a lot of these rules you don’t hear about.”
“It’s really weird because there are a lot of people involved in the commission, or close to the commission, particularly doctors and stuff like that, that also work New Jersey. [The New Jersey commission has] got it on point, they’ve got it locked down. But there are a lot of screw-ups [in New York], man.
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This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/13/2017.