November 7, 2008

Dear Friends:

This Tuesday, I sat at the end of a long table with DBPR's Florida State Boxing Commission staff, Tom Molloy, Christa Patterson, and Kathy Gentile, as they registered fighters for the big "cage fight" at the Seminole Hard Rock arena. Fighters gathered with their "camps," trainers and friends, some swishing water in their mouths and spitting it out while they waited, not wanting to gain an ounce before the official weigh-in.

This was my first taste of a Mixed Martial Arts event, which is regulated by our Florida State Boxing Commission. The weigh-in the day before the fight is an event in and of itself. In addition to the physicals the fighters have to have prior to the fight, which are scrutinized by doctors regulated by the Boxing Commission, they also have physicals before the weigh-in to make sure they’re in good health.

It was interesting to learn that the doctors deliberately converse with the fighters so they can get to know their personalities and speech patterns. That way, after the fight, the doctors can tell whether their speech and cognition has been impaired as a result of the fights.

From the weigh-in up until the match, the event is like the combination of a huge rock concert and a serious sporting event. The weigh-in takes place on a lighted stage with an announcer, music, fans, and media. Boxing Commission Executive Director Tom Molloy reads the weight of each fighter on a loud speaker. If a fighter comes in overweight, he has two hours to drop the extra pounds and meet the weight requirement. It was clear that some had fasted prior to weigh-in because as soon as they were done they thirstily gulped water and hungrily ate food.

The fans at the weigh-in were only a glimpse of the number of fans at the event on Wednesday. MMA fans packed the seats, booing and cheering for the fights. It was quite a spectacle with each fighter entering the arena with music blaring and a light show. To the audience, it was an exhilarating show. Behind the scenes, DBPR staff and those players who are regulated by the Boxing Commission, including the doctors and referee, worked tirelessly to ensure that the fighters were safe…well, as safe as they could be considering their profession. I was so impressed by the amount of work and level of professionalism by DBPR staff and also those that we regulate. They did a great job.

During the same trip to Ft. Lauderdale, I held an "On the Road to Better Business" to meet with licensees. It's truly remarkable how much I learn, and I've also realized that the feedback we get varies based on the area we're in. There are more than 500,000 condominium unit owners in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, and a lot of the consumers I met with shared concerns and information on condominium associations and community association managers.

This feedback is exactly what I'm looking for. By hearing from consumers and licensees, I get a firsthand account of the way regulation affects consumers. This insight provides me with the knowledge necessary to propose sound internal process changes, rule changes, and legislative changes. I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to meet with me.

Sincerely,

Chuck Drago's Signature

Charles W. Drago
Secretary

Department of Business and
Professional Regulation
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
Customer Contact Center:
850.487.1395

www.MyFloridaLicense.com

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Secretary Drago at MMA check-in
Secretary Drago, Deputy Secretary Olson and Boxing Commission staff registering fighters for the big "cage fight" at the Seminole Hard Rock arena
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MMA weigh-in
Boxing Commission Executive Director Tom Molloy (r) at the official weigh-in.

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