Bryan Pedersen Wyoming MMA Board Treasurer Responds to Maranhão Controversy

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"If we thought there was something done that was negligent or malicious obviously we would penalize that"

Bryan Pedersen 
Wyoming State Board of Mixed Martial Arts

Cheyenne, WY (KGWN)- RFA 14 was held in Cheyenne, Wyoming on April, 11, 2014, as one of the biggest fight promotions in MMA came to town.

The night ended with Cheyenne native Matt Manzanares winning the RFA flyweight title in a split-decision against Junior Maranhão.

The controversy started after people began to see what happened between the 4th and 5th rounds of the main event.

While Maranhão's corner team was arguing with the ref, claiming Manzanares had landed illegal punches to the back of Maranhão's head, Maranhão fell off his stool seemingly unconscious for a moment before his team picked him up and put him back on his stool.

Bryan Pedersen co-sponsored Wyoming House Bill 87 which established the Wyoming State Board of Mixed Martial Arts on March 8, 2012, when Wyoming Governor Matt Mead signed the bill into law.

Pederson currently serves as the Secretary/Treasurer of the board.

"Manzanares is the local fighter and had his opponent in a triangle choke, and that's a choke with legs around his head but it doesn't appear as if he has it very tight but he's [Maranhão] still there for 40 seconds," Pedersen said.

"Bell goes off," Pedersen continued. "Fighter stands up, pops up quickly, runs over to his corner, they throw down a stool for him. And then his two coaches in his corner go to talk to the ref and as they're sitting there, he [Maranhão] falls out of his chair and tips over to the left side of his body."

The time elapsed from when Maranhão fell off his stool to the time he was back on his stool was about 10 seconds.

"When we reviewed the tapes one of the things that was out of place was that our inspector and our doctor were out of sight of where that was," Pedersen said. "Their sightline was the corner and the ref who were discussing what was happening in the prior round."

Eventually the ringside physician did enter the ring, and asked Maranhão's corner if he was all right.

"The doc comes up," Pedersen said. "By this time he's [Maranhão] already back in his stool, the fighter is already talking to his corner in Portuguese saying, 'I'm fine, let's fight'... he goes back with the knowledge that he has and says 'he's talking to his corner, his corner's talking, says he got dizzy and tipped over in his stool.'"

What many in the MMA community are taking offense to, is whether or not the ring physician did enough to ensure that Maranhão was fit to continue fighting.

Maranhão has claimed that he did, in an interview with he had this to say:

"They came in between the rounds and asked if I was okay," Maranhao said. "And right after the event, the commission and the doctors did all the exams as well.

"I saw that some people are trying to blame the commission, the promoters or even my coaches, so I’m really upset about it," Maranhão said. "I want to make clear that nothing happened. It’s a mistake (to blame them), and it can hurt us."

In that same interview Maranhão seemed confused about whether or not the doctor did enter the ring, and had to check with his team if that did in fact happen. The full article is linked in the side bar.

The biggest question, is why did the ringside physician not conduct a full examination of Maranhão and rely on what Maranhão's corner told him?

"Near as we can tell he was out of sightline," Pedersen said. "It looked as if to him he didn't see the fighter fall off the stool, he only saw him climbing back onto the stool and so he gets there they [Maranhão's corner team] said, 'he fell off the stool, he's dizzy.'

"He [physician] didn't see it, out of his line of sight. So therefore, our goal is to hopefully better the process by splitting our inspectors and physician's up."

The Wyoming State Board of Mixed Martial Arts says it's just bad placement of personal around the ring. The ring physician and fight inspector were seated next to each other during the night of fights.

Pedersen said that won't happen in the future and they will be placed on opposite sides of the ring.

He also said that the inspector will be required to enter the ring with the physician in the future.

As far as the officials involved, would there be any consequences?

"If we thought there was something done that was negligent or malicious obviously we would penalize that," Pedersen said.

"We're always looking for new ways to train and we're working with the association of boxing commissions to look at better ways of training our physicians and better ways to take care of fighter safety. There's always an opportunity to improve and we look forward to that."

News Channel 5 wanted a more specific answer, 'So, there are no repercussions coming for anyone involved?'

"There are no current penalties, fines, or repercussions coming to those officials at this time," Pedersen said.

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