Update November 28, 2017 – Today I spoke with Bernie Profato, the Ohio Athletic Commission’s Executive Director, who confirmed his office has been investigating numerous fighters for submitting falsified bloodwork. Profato confirms a total 23 fighters have been suspended. These include 21 amateur MMA fighters and 2 professional.
Profato published the following list of fighters involved:
The investigation is ongoing however at this stage a matchmaker has come forward admitting to orchestrating this scheme of falsified blood work. Apparently he has provided the Ohio Athletic Commission an affidavit identifying the extent of the fraud. All 23 fighters have agreed to undergo proper blood work and I am advised that the tests came back negative meaning opponents who unwittingly competed against these fighters have not been exposed to physical harm from this unfortunate scheme.
BlugreassMMA.com reports that more than 20 fighters have been suspended by the Ohio State Athletic Commission “in conjunction with an investigation of falsified bloodwork“.
The State requires blood work as a precondition for combative sports licencing as a fundamental safety requirement to ensure that opponents are not exposed to diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.
The article is unclear as to exactly how the bloodwork was allegedly falsified however if there is proof of blood work falsification there can be widespread legal repercussions.
A case of falsified bloodwork can expose those involved in the scandal to regulatory consequences by the Athletic Commission. Criminal and civil repercussions are also not out of the scope of possibility.
If a competitor contracted a blood borne disease anyone involved in the falsification process can be targeted in civil proceedings seeking damages. There is even precedent that civil liability can flow to an Athletic Commission if they negligently expose an individual to risk of blood borne disease by allowing a competitor to fight without cleared medicals. In 2009 an appellate court in California ruled that the State is exposed to liability when they licensed a competitor who failed to provide a negative blood test for HIV. The Court of Appeal stated as follows in overturning a lower court judgement
The Commission has no discretion to issue a boxing license or authorize a boxer to participate in a match unless the boxer submits a negative HIV test. The Commission thus violated its mandatory duty when, as was alleged in the FAC, it granted the boxer in question a boxing license and allowed him to participate in the June 3, 2005, boxing match without submitting a negative HIV test.
I should note there is nothing in BluegrassMMA’s reporting indicating commission negligence however I point the above out to illustrate that legal implications can spread far and wide if the allegations prove true.