Nevada Commission Details Process for Hiring Permanent Kizer Replacement

Jeremy Botter@jeremybotterMMA Senior WriterJanuary 17, 2014

Photo by Jeremy Botter
Photo by Jeremy BotterPhoto by Jeremy Botter

LAS VEGAS — The Nevada Athletic Commission will seek to hire a permanent replacement to fill the role of executive director of the commission within the next two to three months.

Commissioners Pat Lundvall and Bill Brady—in addition to commission chairman Francisco Aguilar and commisioners T.J. Day and Skip Avansino, who dialed in via conference call—met in a small conference room at the Nevada Athletic Commission offices.

Also in attendance were Zuffa's Marc Ratner, who served in the executive director role prior to Keith Kizer's hiring. Bleacher Report also attended the meeting.

The commission opened the meeting by formally acknowleding the work Kizer had done in his thankless role over the years.

The panel then voted to forego the process of finding an interim candidate to fill the job left by Kizer on a temporary basis. Lundvall stated that she wasn't interested in adding more work to her or any of the other commissioner's plates and felt that going through the process of hiring an interim director, only to have to turn around and do it again for a permanent director, was not an optimal solution.

The commission decided that they wanted to have an idea candidate in place within six weeks to two months, but that time frame was later amended. The application process for discovering candidates will remain open until February 7, though that is not a hard-and-fast date as the commission is allowing themselves some leeway in case a golden prospective candidate falls into their laps after the deadline.

The application process will be handled by the Nevada Business and Industry department, headed by director Bill Breslow. Breslow will be joined by one of his deputy directors, two commissioners and one person, ideally from the world of mixed martial arts and boxing, to make up a council that will weed the hundreds of applicants down to "three to five" final applicants.

Ratner will not be considered for a spot on that council due to an obvious conflict of interest with his Zuffa role, but Lundvall and Aguilar told Bleacher Report after the conclusion of the meeting that prospective council members may potentially include media members or other current or former government officials who have worked in either boxing or mixed martial arts.

The initial application screening process will be held in private due to the commission's desire to protect the identities of those who are applying. Brady said he wanted to make sure applicants could seek the job without their current employers finding out they're looking for employment elsewhere and potentially seeking retribution.

Once the three to five candidates have been finalized, they will be publicly named. Because the entire commission must be involved in the naming of the next executive director, the final interviews will be held in public meetings.

The commission hopes to have the three to five candidates named by the week of March 17. They will then begin public interviews and hope to have an executive director named by the middle of April.

Ratner told Bleacher Report he was not in attendance on behalf of Zuffa.

"It has nothing to do with the UFC. This is Marc Ratner, former executive director, wanting to see the process. It's been a part of my life, and I just want them to hire the right person," Ratner said.

Kizer frequently came under fire for judging and refereeing issues. Ratner said that the next executive director will need to possess certain traits.

"We need somebody who is certainly familiar with both sports. Somebody that can have more seminars, more film. The more education you have, the better officiating you are going to have," he said.

Ratner also spoke fondly of his time in the role.

"For me, it was a labor of love. It can be fun. It can be exasperating," Ratner said. "I had a guy fly into the ring. There's nothing in the rule book that tells you what to do when a guy flys into the ring. I had the infamous bitee fight. And I had Floyd's uncle Roger jump into the ring.

"So I've had them all. But no, I loved doing this job. And I look forward to working with whomever is chosen."