MSAC Rules No Foreigners Can Fight in MA

Just saw this on

(Warning: Those of our readers who are accustomed to my usual style of old school writing may want to tie your shoe laces a bit tighter and make sure you’re sitting down.)

From Old School

I just got off the phone with one of the most high energy people that I know. Mike Polvere, the Titan behind Cage Titans, is generally an optimistic and positive person, one who is willing to jump through flaming hoops for another if he thinks it will help. But when I spoke with him last night, he had this to say; “Denny, I am a beaten man. I’m usually optimistic, but tonight I am a beaten man.”

Mike has put together a great night of fights for Cage Titans Invasion, which will be this Saturday Night, January 28th in Plymouth, MA. One of the fights on that card was to be an Amateur Bantamweight battle between Peggy Morgan and Fernanda Aruja. When I interviewed Fernanda last week, she explained to me that she was currently here in the United States on a student visa and attending Bunker Hill Community College. Fernanda was excited to be fighting in her first Amateur MMA event. (Her father arrived this week from Brazil to watch her compete.) With all their medicals in order and completed on time, the farthest thing from the ladies minds was that there may be another issue. Enter Mass State Official Todd Grossman.

According to the Cage Titans folks, Todd Grossman ruled that Fernanda cannot compete in an Amateur MMA event in the state of Massachusetts because she doesn’t have a social security number. Mike Polvere and his able bodied assistant Cage Titan Brandie stepped up to the plate on Tuesday morning. Both Brandie and Mike took time off from their jobs and lives for all of the day Tuesday and Wednesday. With Fernanda in tears and her family here from Brazil, Mike and Shelly bounced between the social security office and the commissioner’s office for the better part of two days, only to run up against that immovable object known as our tax payer funded government. Enter Dave George.

Like Mike Polvere, Dave George is a self employed business man; he owns and operates Combat Zone MMA. Like many small business owners he specializes in getting things done. Combat Zone 40 is planned for Friday night, January 27th, the night before Cage Titans Invasion. Dave George was able to fit the ladies on to his fight card so that they can compete. “We had a few fights that were scratched,” Dave told me. “We were happy to fit them on the card.” Thanks Dave!!! Oh yeah, Combat Zone operates an hour north of Boston in the great State of New Hampshire!

I am in regular contact with fighters, promoters, coaches, and commissioners. I have been self employed for more than 30 years. I have been in the martial arts more than 20 years. I have lived most of my adult life in New Hampshire, and the past two years in Massachusetts. I believe, based solely on my experience, that the commission in New Hampshire is very accommodating and helpful. New Hampshire Commissioners Art Nolan and John Hagopian seem to operate on the premise that they don’t know everything, but that they can still help the promoter accomplish his task; sort of a “What can we do to make your job easier?” approach to regulation. Both Art and John are and have been involved the fight game longer than most, but what I appreciate most is their appreciation for the game, love of the fighters, and their use of common sense when necessary.

Let’s look at some facts:
1. Mike Polvere told me that Todd Grossman ruled that an athlete who does not possess a SS# cannot have a license to compete as an Amateur MMA athlete in Mass.
2. Every Patriots Day, more than ten thousand Amateur and Pro runners from around the globe descend on Hopkinton, MA to compete in an event called the Boston Marathon. (I’m not going to do the research on this, but let us assume that they are not all checked for SS#.) Foreign athletes are permitted to compete as Amateurs and Pros in the Boston marathon.
3. When UFC 118 came to Boston back in August of 2010, Brazilians Amilcar Alves and Demian Maia were on that fight card; so were Brits Nick Osipczak and Andre Winner. These Pro MMA athletes were permitted to compete in the state of Massachusetts.
4. Professional Athletes, both foreign and American, can compete in the State of Mass via the NHL, NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball, but a foreign girl who is legally here on a student visa is not permitted compete in an Amateur MMA event?

Apparently there is a new law on the books in the state of Massachusetts that says in order to get a license of any kind one must have a SS#. (To have a SS# one must be an American citizen.) When ever there is a new law enacted, I think a public official in a position of authority needs to use some common sense.
If there is a new law in the State of Mass that says that states that one must need a SS# in order to obtain a license of any kind, each department head must:
1. Determine the intent of that law.
2. Decide if that law is applicable to his department.
3. Make the decision to either apply that law to his department or not apply that law.

I was told that this law applies to any and all licenses. This must include drivers licenses, fishing licenses, and fight licenses. I live on Cape Cod, where recreational fishing is a huge industry, but I expect the local fishing officials will exercise some common sense regarding this. Otherwise, no foreign vacationers can fish while on Cape Cod.
The State of Mass also requires fighters to have a license. So the first time that our elected/appointed officials decide to enforce that law is with an Amateur athlete. My point here is this; Todd Grossman needs to use some common sense.

Several questions are just screaming to be asked here. Who is going to police the Boston Marathon this April, checking all 12,000 plus Amateur athletes for SS#? What happens the next time (if ever) the UFC comes to town? Will Todd Grossman go toe to toe with the UFC brass like Dana White the way he did with a 135 pound Brazilian girl who does not speak English as her first language?

Both Dave George and Mike Polvere are former MMA fighters. I know the business side of these young men and the game that they play. They work tirelessly to promote the game we all love and they float tens of thousands of dollars out there in the breeze every time they put on a show. There is also the other side of the cage that these two men know. They have each trained, cut weight, and walked up those three steps wearing nothing but a cup, mouth piece, and a pair of shorts so they could bare their bodies and souls in front of thousands. They know the game that Fernanda Aruja and Peggy Morgan play, and they know it from both sides of the cage.


I checked my resources and I can find no record of Todd Grossman ever being in an MMA fight or being a registered Fight Promoter. When our officials have absolutely no freaking experience in the area that they are appointed or elected, how can we expect anything but incompetence?

Back in June of last year I requested in writing, through e-mail, and via the telephone, numerous times, some information that I believed, as a tax payer, I am allowed access to via the Freedom of Information Act. (This was information that I was using for an article that I was writing about Mixed Martial Arts.) I finally gave up trying to obtain the information; the last return communication was in the form of an e-mail dated July 5th, 2011:

The Department of Public Safety has received your public records request, A response will be provided to you as soon as administratively possible.

Chris Caselden
Assistant to the Chief of Staff/General Counsel
Department of Public Safety
One Ashburton Place, Room 1301

I am still waiting for that information. I guess it has not been made administratively possible. Maybe that’s because our public officials are too busy running around throwing wrenches into the works of productive hard working citizens.

Why do we permit this level of stupidity into our lives? How is it possible that a person like Todd Grossman, with no documentable experience in a field, can be allowed to wield a HUGE volume of control? Is there a crow bar big enough to pry Todd Grossman’s head out of his hind end?

When Nick DiSalvo examined demographics and economics, he started his new promotion, Nick’s Fight Night, up in Maine. Yesterday, well before this story came to my attention, I actually spoke to several promoters from the state of Massachusetts who are considering starting up operation in other states. Reality Fighting is the #1 promotion for attendance in New England right now and they are operating out of Connecticut. Right behind is CES out of Rhode Island. It is only a matter of time before these state employed knuckle heads run this game right out of the Massachusetts.

Fighting is way too cool to allow these people to screw it up…
Old School

 This is some fucked up shit. Someone needs to mentally check this dude and get it sorted out. This could hurt the growth of MMA in MA very much...

 First off: Holy lurker batman!


2nd, I posted already on the thread on, but this is garbage man.

Glad to see NH picking up the fight!

This is such a shame. It's not even like it is a tax thing as they are talking about Amateur fights.

It will unfornately take time, but someone needs to challenge the law on the basis of equal protection, the supremacy clause (fed government has exclusive power on issues of immigration)and possibly the PI clause of the 5th and 14th amendments as well. Signed, Chappie, Esq.

this was posted by the promoter himself:

I do not want to get in to it a ton because I am still pretty upset over the ruling. It was actually 2 fighters, her and her teammate Ademario that did not get licensed. Fernanda was lucky enough to move her fight to Combat Zone but unfortunately Ademario was left with nothing after taking countless hours off of work preparing for this fight. (Yes, he works legally and pays taxes in this state using his federal tax ID number)

And second, here is the statute that they refered to when explaining why they could not be licensed. (Also, it is worth mentioning that both of them have drivers licenses in the state of MA which they aquired without a SSN)

G.L. c.30A, Section 13A. Agencies and political subdivisions of the commonwealth, that issue a license under section 13 shall require an applicant for issuance or renewal of such license to provide a social security number as a condition of issuing or renewing such license and shall record such social security number in the applicant’s record; provided, however, that the applicant may, on the face of the license, use a number other than his social security number as permitted under any other provision of law of the commonwealth; provided further, that the agency issuing the license shall provide information in its records, including the social security number of applicants, to the IV-D agency as set forth in chapter 119A, using the method and format required by said IV-D agency

Damn, that's ridiculous. Phone Post

that's not right.

  Looks like the commission’s Todd Grossman is at the root of controversy again.  It will be interesting to see when the UFC returns if Todd Grossman will tell the fighters without social security numbers that they can't fight in MA.   I am hoping that this is just not a selective enforcement of an obscure law by the commission for unknown political reasons... but the history of the MA commission is filled with inane things like this.  The commission's lack professionalism and selective enforcement of the rules and regulations has been great for promoters in New Hampshire, Connecticut,  and Rhode Island...