Mitrione’s Eye Poke Appeal and a Problem With Jurisdiction

Update June 7, 2016Mitrione’s appeal was dismissed today by the MSAC.  For appeals like this to have any chance of success statutory overhaul is needed as commissions need to work within the statutory parameters of the rules and regulations creating and defining their authority.  You can watch the full hearing here:


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Mitrione Twitter Pic Screenshot

Earlier this week Matt Mitrione filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Athletic Commission following a TKO loss to Travis Browne in a fight which involved at least two unfortunate eye pokes.

In short Mitrione argues that the protocols following fouls were not properly followed by the referee and further that a foul was not spotted in a timely fashion.

Whether there is merit to Mitrione’s arguments his complaint will likely be stopped dead in its tracks for jurisdictional / procedural reasons.

As Francisco Rivera learned following a controversial loss which was precipitated by an eye poke, the Nevada State Athletic Commission ruled they have no regulatory jurisdiction to over-rule a bout in such circumstances. 

Massachusetts is modeled after the NSAC regulations which are very strict about when a bout result can be overturned (basically fraud, a math error in adding up the scorecards or a ref outright admitting that he did not understand the rules)

Section 14.21 of Massachusetts Regulations, which read identically to  their counterpart in Nevada, only allows a contest to be overturned in the following three circumstances

1.  The Commission determines that there was collusion affecting the result of the contest or exhibition;

2.  The compilation of the scorecards of the judges discloses an error which shows that the decision was given to the wrong unarmed combatant; or

3.  As the result of an error in interpreting a provision of this chapter, the referee has rendered an incorrect decision.

The only hope Mitrione has is the third ground but to date this ground of appeal has been interpreted very narrowly by Athletic Commissions and likely will be the undoing of Mitrione’s appeal.

If Mitrione’s appeal falls short he and other stakeholders not pleased with the limited statutory grounds in which bout results can be reviewed should consider approaching the Association of Boxing Commissions MMA Rules and Regulations Committee  with suggestions to broaden current appeal rights.

As recently discussed, New Jersey, and jurisdictions that model the State, allow bout results to be overturned where there is palpable error with Administrative Code Rule 13:46-8-30 reading ““The Commissioner may in his discretion change a referee’s decision if in his judgment a palpable and self-evident error has been committed“”.

Another model is Brazil’s who have a relevant rule reading as follows –

“The Executive Committee may, on an exceptional basis, revert a decision to “no contest” if it determines that a good faith judgment call of a referee was mistaken and therefore considered a self-evident error. Such decision may be taken provided (i) an appeal is filed with the commission within 72 hours of the relevant bout, (ii) the appeal is accompanied by a video (or link thereto) of the bout showing the challenged judgment call, (iii) upon request by the Executive Committee, the relevant referee presents a written justification of his judgment call and (iv) after analysis of the relevant video and justification, the Executive Committee determines that the judgment call was in good faith but considered a self-evident error.”

 

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