Wef Texas Event A Go Saturday;
WEF Texas Event a Go Saturday;
Owner Levine Still Under Scrutiny in Other States
By Loretta Hunt
After two event cancellations in eight weeks, World Extreme Fighting is scheduled to return this Saturday at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas — despite WEF Chief Executive Officer and owner Jamie Levine’s pending issues with MMA sanctioning bodies in New Jersey and Nevada, as well as speculation that he misrepresented a potential event in West Virginia.
According to a representative of Clutch City Sports & Entertainment (CCS&E), the management company for the Toyota Center and the promoters on record for this weekend’s event with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, their organization has rented the necessary materials to hold a WEF event at their venue, including the event’s name and marketing package, as well as the WEF cage.
The spokesman stipulated that Levine, WEF’s sole owner who recently applied for a co-promoter’s license for the event in New Jersey and was later rejected, is in no way involved with the running of Saturday night’s show and that their company was taking "full risk" for the event. The representative, who asked to remain anonymous, also stated that CCS&E had composed their fight card without Levine and with the assistance of a "local promoter" whose name they would not divulge.
On June 22nd, the New Jersey Athletic Control Board revoked a temporary license given co-promoter Levine to hold a WEF event in Atlantic City after Levine’s involvement with a May 20th WEF event in Las Vegas was left in question. Although not the licensed promoter for that event, Levine was identified (by numerous parties, which included the promoter) as matchmaker for the card in which he fought a championship bout on with an overmatched opponent.
Weeks following the May 20th event, the Nevada State Athletic Commission cited Levine for the alleged use of two non-approved stimulants after requisite drug testing. A formal hearing, in which Levine may state his case in front of the Commission board, is tentatively scheduled for August. In addition, Levine was arrested in Florida on June 8th for two felony counts of "Lewd or Lascivious Battery" and "Sexual Activity with a 16 or 17 Year Old Child," stemming from alleged events that took place on May 10th. Although Levine has not been formally charged with any crime at this time, FCF has been told legal action to do so is still pending.
In West Virginia, where written legislation states that MMA is illegal, a WEF event at the Big Sandy Super Store arena was cancelled by Levine, himself, mere days before its proposed June 25th date. Levine told FCF that a lawyer representing the WEF had approached the West Virginia Athletic Commission prior to the event and was given permission to hold an "open-hand" MMA event, but in fear that the fighters might accidentally throw closed fists instead, Levine says he postponed the event on his own accord.
"I did not give any permission for an open-hand MMA event and I do not have any knowledge of anyone else giving approval as well," responded West Virginia Athletic Commission Chairman Steve Allred to Levine’s explanation. Levine’s lawyer did not return numerous calls for comment.
In New Jersey, the NJSACB also denied Levine’s request for licensing after the promotion did not satisfy state requirements for the proposed July 3rd event within reasonable time, which included failure to produce a list of competitors, as well as failure to satisfy many regulatory requirements such as medical insurance, medical testing, and approved matchmaking. On June 29th, Levine met with NJSACB Commissioner Larry Hazzard, as well as Counsel Nick Lembo, in an attempt to rectify his licensing revocation.
"Actually the meeting, in my opinion, went very positive and I look forward to working with the New Jersey Commission in the very near future," Levine told FCF the next day.
"Everything that could have possibly been settled was in fact settled [that day]," commented Lembo of the meeting requested by Levine. "However, certain issues remain outstanding and were impossible to resolve [that day] through no fault of any party."
In Texas, the CCS&E said ticket sales for Saturday’s event were going "very well." Below is card they provided with this weekend’s line-up.
WEF July 16th’s 2005 Card
Nick Gonzales (22-20-1) vs. Lee King (4-3)
Co-Main Event WEF Flyweight Championship
Co-Main Event WEF Light-Heavyweight Championship