A MESSAGE to ALL MMA ADMINISTRATORS

 

-Do you license cornermen to judge fights?

 

 

 

 

 

 

....Does HE?

 

 

-Do you do "Ice-Bucket Challenges" with fighters on Twitter?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.....Does HE?

 

 

-Do you leak information to journalists in exchange for softball treatment?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

....Does HE?

 

 

-Do you spend your time doing interviews and then emailing them to every MMA Administrator?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 ....Does HE?

 

 

 

-Do you dictate policy and aggressively pursue an agenda of control with Commissions in other states?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

....Does HE?

 

 

-Do you attend functions financed by MMA Promoters and Equipment/Apparel companies?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...Does HE?

 

 

 

 

-Do you sell tickets to events financed by MMA Promoters and Equipment/Apparel companies, and pocket a percentage of the $?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...Does HE?

 

 

 

-Does Larry Hazzard Sr. run NJ's MMA program, or....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

....DOES HE???

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Has Nick Lembo, Counsel, and Administrator of NJ's MMA program, fulfilled that obligation
to the fighters, the sport, the fans, the people, or the state?

 

JANUARY 2015 UPDATE

Good morning, Governor Christie and Attorney General Hoffman!

-Here's a little article you might enjoy over coffee.

It came out a few months ago.

I'm sure the Democratic National Committee will be glad to oblige you with a question or two concerning it, sometime soon; as long as they can get through all that traffic up by the GWB....

 

Oh, and by the way...

On January 18th, the UFC will be holding an event at the TD Center in Boston, Massachussetts.

Former UFC fighter, and current UFC Judge Ricardo Almeida will, in all probability, be cornering MMA fighter Frankie Perez Jr., also known as "DJ Frankie P". He's the house DJ for Dead Serious Productions, an MMA equipment and apparel company; a company his father, Frankie Perez Sr, owns. Last time he was spinning tunes was at the 3rd Annual NJ MMA Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, in December. (Dead Serious was the title sponsor of the event).

 

One of the guests of honor, was, rather predictably, Nick Lembo.

 

Enjoy the article!

 

NJ MMA CREDIBILITY:

AN OBITUARY

Post-mortem of a state agency in ruins

 

On November 22nd, in Austin, Texas, the UFC will be presenting the Frankie Edgar vs Cub Swanson fight; which promises to be an action-packed affair featuring two of the elite fighters in the always-exciting 145-lb weight class.

 

Although the outcome of that fight is anyone's guess, the only safe prediction is that the sport, and its credibility in an increasingly diversifying marketplace, will suffer. 

 

Walking Frankie Edgar to the ring, bedecked in sponsor's logo'd merchandise, will, in all probability, be one Mr. Ricardo Almeida, former MMA fighter and UFC combatant.

 

He will doubtlessly do a fine job offering support, encouragement, and advice to Mr. Edgar, as he has for years. But in doing so, he will also be hammering one of the final nails into the coffin of the credibility of the MMA program of the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board.

 

And although it certainly is common for former fighters to train, and corner, current fighters, the circumstances that lie at the heart of why Mr. Almeida's involvement in the untimely death of NJ MMA's credibility are rooted in the kind of arrogant, glad-handing political cronyism for which the "Soprano State" is notorious.

 

If conventional MMA business practices can be relied upon, then in Mr. Almeida's wallet, on November 22nd, in all probability nestled between a check from a sponsor and cash generated by owning an MMA Academy, is a license to Judge MMA fights in the state of New Jersey. As he carries a banner full of logos advertising MMA merchandise, and various other goods and services associated with the sport, and the fighters he is cornering; as he shouts advice and encouragement to Frankie Edgar, as he makes sure his own T-shirt and hat are on and available to the advertisers and the audience; as he puts a sponsor's hat on his fighter, and helps him pull a t-shirt on post-fight, as helps his fighter earn money, from sponsors, it is reasonable to surmise that he is, in fact, benefitting financially from his involvement with both Mr. Edgar, and Mr. Edgar's sponsors.

 

If that is the case, then Mr. Almeida's brazen disregard for the integrity of the sport, and its credibility, is only partially his own property.

 

A time-honored, and all too tragically accurate culinary aphorism is..

 

"A fish rots from the head down". 

 

The catastrophic indiscretion that constitutes Mr. Almeida's involvement at the highest levels of officiating, while simultaneously cornering and training active fighters on the UFC roster, (and potentially having financial arrangements with sponsors and active fighters), is one of many examples of an Athletic Commission so out of touch with its own regulations, and so unconcerned with the image it presents to the taxpayers of the state, that it assigned Mr. Almeida to judge a fight between two of Edgar's direct competitors, Jose Aldo and Ricardo Lamas.

 

Ignoring the almost comically obvious conflicts of interest in assigning a judge to render an impartial decision in a fight between one individual whom one of his students had already fought, and been beaten by, and both fighters whom his student could conceivably fight again in the near future, Mr. Almeida was assigned, and judged, the Jose' Aldo vs Ricardo Lamas fight in front of a national MMA audience from the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ on February 1 of 2014, at UFC 169.

 

HOW, one might ask, could the NJ State Athletic Control Board, whose mission statement, whose very existence, is based on the premise of its being able to: "Promote the PUBLIC CONFIDENCE and TRUST in the regulatory process", (a quote taken directly from the NJSACB's official website), possibly assign Ricardo Almeida, who owns MMA Academies in the state of NJ, trains and corners NJ fighters, to judge a fight in NJ featuring two combatants in his most famous (and, one could reasonably assume, highest revenue-producing) fighter's weight-class, in the main event of a UFC fight broadcast worldwide to millions of fans?

 

Knowledgeable insiders point to the year 2010 as the year when NJ first began showing signs of the moral decay that wound up eroding the status of what was once one of the most progressive, insightful MMA administrative bodies in the sport.

 

"Things began unravelling in 2010" an insider told me recently. He asked, as all of my sources for this story did, to remain anonymous; citing concerns not only for their careers, but for their personal security as well. "There used to be an atmosphere of collaboration, of inclusion. Everyone associated with NJ's MMA program supported each other, and did our best to give the sport excellent regulation, and keep the fighters safe. But things changed towards the end of 2010. We would get to events, and there would be people there who had been licensed and working the event, in positions not only of administration, but inspectors, judges, people whom nobody knew, hadn't been in the system, just suddenly appeared and were given assignments and responsibilities that we had been told took years of training and and experience to be worthy of..."

 

"...Ricardo Almeida is just one example. But he's a good one. Nick Lembo, who is in charge of the MMA program, would drone on endlessly to us, or any reporter willing to listen, about how it took years to become an MMA Judge in NJ. There was an entire system in place, there were people who'd been judging amateur shows for free or  for less money than the gas it cost to drive to the event, for years. Those people put in the work, and believed in the system. Then Nick Lembo awarded Ricardo Almeida a judge's license, and allowed him to corner fighters at events, then judge fights, at the same event. And other judges, who'd worked in the system, would sit at events, judging prelims or not even assigned, after  working for years inside the system, and here's someone cornering fighters, wearing sponsor's merchandise, then sitting down at the judge's seat and judging the main events. I left rather than be associated with that type of program."

 

I asked another source to elaborate on the term "awarded" when the subject of Almeida came up.

"There's a big difference between earning a license, and being awarded one. Nick Lembo put Ricardo Almeida on 3rd base, and expects everyone to act like he hit a triple. In the grand scheme of things, believe it or not, it doesn't even help Almeida. It damages his chances of having any genuine credibility as a judge. The ridiculous conflict of interest with him being Edgar's coach & cornerman notwithstanding, he never judged an amateur fight. He was never scrutinized or observed. He was given a license, and assigned to televised main events. You went from being proud to work for the NJSACB, to being ashamed to be associated with it."

 

Yet another insider articulated similar concerns.

"When officials within the system voiced questions regarding Ricardo Almeida being given a judge's license, they would find their own assignment-load diminishing immediately. Nick Lembo responded to the well-meaning criticisms of some of his longest-serving officials, who all told him Almeida was a bad idea: he owned an MMA school; he had fighters in the system; he had a very close relationship with Dead Serious, an MMA merchandise company. Nick Lembo reponded by offering a judging license to Tom DeBlass, another fighter from Almeida's gym."

 

"It's not Ricardo's fault", yet another source confirmed. "Ricardo's a nice guy and he was an excellent fighter. But if you're an administrator, and that's what the state of NJ pays Nick Lembo to be, you need to apply the regulations consistently, not just to the fighters, but to the officials. If Nick Lembo believed there was some pressing necessity to have a former fighter, or fighters, judge fights in NJ, then he could have put out a request for former fighters to apply for judging licenses during one of the multitude of interviews he does. He could have had plenty of fighters to choose from, put them all into the system we all have to learn, work with, and distinguish ourselves in. Disqualify the ones with obvious conflicts of interest. Then decide whom, if any, show skill, talent, promise, and initiative. Then have them judge fights. On its letterhead, the NJSACB proclaims itself to be an 'Equal Opportunity Employer'. I'm not sure that's accurate these days"

 

"Remember this", another well-placed administrator from another state in the NorthEast, speaking under conditions of anonymity, told me. "Nick Lembo is not, and never was, the Commissioner in NJ. He inherited the MMA program when Larry Hazzard left. Then, as soon as he had power, he became unbearable. MMA is progressing past the point where the type of behavior he displays has any place  in the way we want the public to perceive our efforts"

 

TRAGEDY BECOMES FARCE

 Mr. Lembo, along with Ricardo Almeida, Frank Perez, (the owner of DEAD SERIOUS,    an MMA apparel, equipment, and event-promotion company), and  Frankie Edgar, are all scheduled to be together, once again, at the NJ MMA "Hall of Fame"  award ceremony being held in NJ in early December. (Ricardo Almeida was the first judge inducted into the Hall of Fame, in his first year as a licensed judge). Tickets for the event are available online, or can be purchased from members of the NJ MMA community.

 

  (The event's title sponsor is, rather predictably, is DEAD SERIOUS PRODUCTIONS)

 

 Meanwhile, as gamblers take advantage of gaming opportunities online and in other states, and MMA fans turn away in disgust as Nick Lembo does "Ice Bucket Challenges" on TWITTER with fighters like Frankie Edgar, as websites pop up with names like LembomustGo.com, the future for MMA in NJ is uncertain.

 

The NJ Athletic Control Board continues to implode; it collapses under the moral and ethical weight of its own scandalous decisions, arrogance, impunity, and conflicts of interest.

 

 

EULOGY

 

The abandoned skyline in Atlantic City looms grimly over the harsh, cold, treacherous waters of the Atlantic Ocean on one side, and the harsher, colder, and even more treacherous landscape of NJ Government's scorched earth policy of failing its taxpayers on the other. The cold ruins of the promises it has failed to keep lay shattered in the ashy dust; they are the only witnesses as the thousands of laid-off casino employees trudge, in a devastated haze, toward their bleak futures. Over eight thousand laid-off workers long, the trail of tears begins here, and its long, painful road ends at the front door of the Governor's mansion. Will Chris Christie, far away at a Bruce Springsteen concert or Party Fundraiser,  hear them knocking on his door? 

One can reasonably suspect that Nick Lembo, embedded in his office in Trenton, a cigar lit and on the phone offering a job to another one of his cronies, will not.

 

_______________________________________________

OCTOBER UPDATE
NICK LEMBO CAVALCADE of SHAME & IMPROPRIETY ROLLS ON!

-Did Nick Lembo attack a CREDENTIALED MEMBER of the PRESS at a Muay Thai show the 2nd week of September, resulting in the destruction of a photographer's camera?
-Will even the most cursory internet search uncover numerous interviews of Mr. Lembo gravely describing the 3-to-5 year process an individual must undergo before being granted a license to Judge MMA in NJ?
-Is Mr. Lembo doing these interviews on the TAXPAYER'S DIME?
-Does Mr. Lembo do more interviews than Truman Capote and Quentin Crisp?
-Did Mr. Lembo OFFER a JUDGING LICENSE to Tom DeBlass, ANOTHER MEMBER of RICARDO ALMEIDA'S GYM???
-Does Mr. Lembo engage in TWITTER banter with fighters like Frankie Edgar, doing "Ice Bucket Challenges" with FIGHTERS, and TRAINERS, and GYM OWNERS, while selectively forbidding other members of his staff from any contact with fighters in professional capacities outside MMA?
-Does NJ MMA need an individual with obvious biases, clear favorites, ASTONISHINGLY INAPPROPRIATE RELATIONSHIPS with fighters, trainers, cornermen, and promoters he is being paid by the state to SUPERVISE, NOT befriend, and who doesn't live up to the standards he selectively applies to officials?

If the answer to any, some, or ALL of these questions is "YES", then...
LEMBO
MUST
GO!!!



CONTACTS FOR CHANGE

Governor, Chris Christie, via twitter @ChrisChristie , or at (609) 292 6000

  

Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno c/o Elizabeth.vouk@nj.gov

 

NJ State Ethics Commission at ethics@eces.state.nj.us

 

NJ State Attorney General John Hoffman at citizens.services@lps.state.nj.us

 

 

 

-In 2011, Did Lembo offer an MMA Judging license to former fighter Ricardo Almeida?

 

-Did Mr. Almeida go through the same training process as every Judge in the NJ MMA Judging system?

 

-Did Mr. Almeida Judge any amateur shows, shadow existing Judges, and work within the system?

 

-Or was he assigned immediately to main event fights for the largest promotions, including the UFC?

 

-Was Mr. Almeida allowed to maintain ownership of an MMA academy, and train fighters that competed in NJ, and other states?

 

-Was Mr. Almeida allowed to CORNER FIGHTERS, then JUDGE FIGHTS, at the SAME EVENT, while WEARING SPONSOR'S LOGO'ED MERCHANDISE?

 

-Did Mr. Almeida appear for an ENTIRE SEASON'S TELEVISED EPISODES of "The Ultimate Fighter", as Frankie Edgar's Trainer and cornerman?

 

-Was Mr. Almeida given the Judging assignment on 02/01/14, in Newark, NJ, for the Jose Aldo vs Ricardo Lamas fight, one of whom (Aldo) his student Frankie Edgar had already fought, and both of whom are in Edgar's weight-class and whom he conceiveably could fight again?

 

 -Did Mr. Almeida appear on national television in sponsor's clothing cornering Frankie Edgar in his fight against BJ Penn on July 6th, 2014, while holding a VALID LICENSE as a JUDGE in the state of New Jersey?

 

-Did the first, second, and third-order implications of having a FIGHTER'S CORNERMAN and COACH Judge a fight between two of that fighter's POTENTIAL FUTURE OPPONENTS not give Nick Lembo any reservations about assigning him?

 

-Does Mr. Almeida also train a fighter named Frankie Perez Jr?

 

-Is Frankie Perez Jr. The son of Frankie Perez, who owns MMA equipment & apparel company DEAD SERIOUS?

 

-Does DEAD SERIOUS have any connection to NJ MMA HALL of FAME events, and does Mr. Lembo have any involvement or input at these events, including collaborating on the selection of the awardees and inductees?

 

-Does local NJ fighter Frankie Perez Jr, trained by Ricardo Almeida, function as the DJ at these events?

 

-Is an event of this type planned for December 5th, and is Frankie Perez Jr. scheduled to entertain at it, and is his presence being advertised in the email invitation to the event?

 

-If there was a need for former fighters as Judges that Mr. Lembo felt compelled to fill, would it not have been wiser to post a notice, accept applications, and screen, vet, and try out a number of former fighters as part of an honest selection process, rather than award a license to someone with glaring conflicts of interest, and clear financial connections to fighters and sponsors?

 

-Has Mr. Almeida ever accepted money from DEAD SERIOUS or Frank Perez?

 

-Does Mr. Perez have a Promoter's License issued by the NJSACB?

 

-Has Mr. Lembo offered any other former fighters positions as Judges and allowed them to bypass the qualification criteria all other NJ Judges are held to, except Mr. Almeida?

 

-Does these circumstances constitute a conflict of interest, or double standard?

 

-Do any of Mr. Lembo's other officials have conflicts of interest or overlapping loyalties that could potentially erode the public trust in the Commission?

 

WHAT IS BEING ALLOWED TO HAPPEN TO THE INTEGRITY OF NJ MMA???

 

IF ANY OF THESE QUESTIONS GIVE YOU PAUSE....

 

If you are:

 

 

-a fighter;

 

-a cornerman;

 

-a fan of MMA;

 

 

-or if you simply believe the people of the state of NJ deserve answers to the questions listed above, and if you believe that the officials of the state of NJ, most notably Mr. Lembo, who selects, assigns, and oversees officials for MMA events in NJ, should be held accountable for answering questions regarding conflict of interest, contact:

 

Governor, Chris Christie, via twitter @ChrisChristie , or at (609) 292 6000

  

Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno c/o Elizabeth.vouk@nj.gov

 

NJ State Ethics Commission at ethics@eces.state.nj.us

 

NJ State Attorney General John Hoffman at citizens.services@lps.state.nj.us

 

Things won't get better until good people say ENOUGH

And if any of the above questions cannot be answered satisfactorally, in a timely, honest fashion, then....

 

LEMBO

MUST

GO!!!


Stay tuned to this website for more information


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE!!!!

3 Casinos CLOSE in Atlantic City
5,000 NJ workers lose their jobs
Gambling Revenue down over a BILLION dollars

Does the continued erosion of the revenue-base in NJ need to be accelerated by Athletic Commission unethical behavior that wouldn't be acceptable on a company softball team, much less a STATE AGENCY?

Ask yourself this....
-If the Nevada Athletic Commission assigned Freddie Roach to judge one of Floyd Mayweather Jr's fights, when he TRAINS and CORNERS one of Mayweather's OPPONENTS, bettors would destroy the casino sportsbook and have the entire Commission taken away in strait-jackets.
Why is that EXACT SAME SCENARIO acceptable in NJ?
Do the fans, the fighters, the public, the state, and the bettors in NJ deserve a lower standard of moral accountablity than those in Nevada?
Or are they just not aware that's what they are getting?
If you care about NJ MMA;
If you care about accountability in government;
If you care about the catastrophic loss of jobs and state revenue as bettors seek venues and events in states that offer alternatives;
Then

LEMBO
MUST
GO!!!

CONTACTS FOR CHANGE

Governor, Chris Christie, via twitter @ChrisChristie , or at (609) 292 6000

  

Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno c/o Elizabeth.vouk@nj.gov

 

NJ State Ethics Commission at ethics@eces.state.nj.us

 

NJ State Attorney General John Hoffman at citizens.services@lps.state.nj.us



NJ MMA DESERVES BETTER!!!

 

The New Jersey State Athletic Control Board's MAIN PURPOSE is...

 

"To protect the safety and well being of all participants and...

 

PROMOTE THE PUBLIC CONFIDENCE AND TRUST

IN THE REGULATORY PROCESS..."

Is this man smiling because he's available for TAXPAYER FUNDED Interviews, Photo Ops, Twitter Banter w/Fighters, and Photographer Assaults?

Was this Bowling Shirt paid for by laid-off casino employee's taxes?