OAC being sued by the IFBL

On June 30th, 2010, International Fighting and Boxing League (IFBL) owner Brent Gambrel filed a lawsuit in the Court of Common Pleas in Mahoning County, Ohio, naming the Ohio Athletic Commission and Bernie Profato as official defendants. According to Mr. Gambrel’s attorney, Mr. Jonathan Schoenike, the case “involves an action, arising from the inappropriate, wrongful and intentional destruction of the IFBL and unprecedented permanent suspension of Brent Gambrel from every level of participation in all regulated athletic activities within the State of Ohio.”

What makes an athletic commission reach such conclusions when such a pronouncement is not even clearly stated in their rules and regulations?

Suspensions are fairly regular in MMA due to failed drug tests and incomplete paperwork, but permanent suspensions are a rarity in the sport. An athletic commission reserves the right to suspend any license for up to a year, in which case the suspended fighter/promoter will be unable to re-apply for a license for an entire year from the initial suspension date (unless otherwise stated by the commission).

The plantiff’s attorney Mr. Jonathan Schoenkie took the time to speak to The Flying Knee MMA on the matter:

“Suspensions are governed by Ohio Administrative Code sections 3773-1-09 and 3773-7-18. Please review these code sections to get a flavor of what the suspension process is designed to accomplish. Of those rules, I can only find one example of where a permanent suspension is authorized. 3773-7-18 (J) provides: “A contestant or promoter will be suspended indefinitely, until payment is made in full of any judgment awarded by a court of law that is presented to the Ohio athletic commission for any violation of rules bearing agency level 3773 of the Administrative Code.”

When asked about the pending lawsuit, Ohio State Assistant Attorney General John E. Patterson had this to say:

Litigation regarding the Ohio Athletic Commission and Mr. Gambrel is pending. The Commission and the Executive Director have no comment with regards to pending litigation.

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