Former pro fighter, current MMA promoter/referee speaks out against TDLR

Former pro fighter, current MMA promoter/referee speaks out against TDLR

Chris Reed is a former pro MMA fighter who also promotes with the MMA organization IXFA. Reed also started officiating fights. He has recently written a letter to the Texas Attorney General about the Texas Deptartment of Licensing and Regulation - Combative Sports.

Reed has also started a petition for change:

"I am writing to ask you to investigate the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), specifically the Combative Sports Division. The State is losing potentially millions of dollars in revenue each year because of poor management and relationships.

Mixed Martial Arts is one of America’s fastest growing sports in terms of viewership, and revenue. It’s estimated that that MMA alone potentially brings in $135 Million in economic revenue to a state. A UFC event single-handedly is estimated to bring in $7 Million per event. With the amount of money involved in this industry oversight of the Combative Sports Division is crucial as the potential for corruption and lost revenue exists. Currently the Combative Sports Division is headed by Dick Cole, and his assistant Greg Alverez. Mr. Cole is appointed by the TDLR Commission who are appointed by the Texas Governor. Both of these individuals have a reputation of bullying, and creating a network of “good ole boys”. Don’t take my word for it, just Google search. Dana White, the CEO of the UFC has criticized the Combative Sports Division in Texas, most recently after an event in Houston, quoted as saying they need to “do their jobs”. Just last week, Houston based Legacy Fighting Promotions, a nationally televised promotion announced they are now moving some shows to Oklahoma. Just 2 years ago I moved my own promotion (IXFA, LLC) to Louisiana because of difficulty with TDLR. Example of Specific Problems: • Promotions around the State complain of unclear or unwritten rules and policies, and more often than not favoritism.

• Often promotions are turned down for dates with TDLR stating there are too many shows on that date. Even though there is plenty of staff to work these events. Each show that is turned down is loss revenue for the State. This is their way to “punish” promotions.

• Fees paid by promotions are not “set”, they are “negotiated”, again favoritism.

• Dick Cole, who is also a boxing referee and the son of Dick Cole (same name), the “program manager” for TDLR Combative Sports (commissioner), happens to own the ONLY insurance company (Dick Cole insurance of Dallas) in the state that will insure combative events.

• There is no policy in place on hiring and assigning officials for an event (i.e. referee, judge, time keeper). Often time’s unfavorable promotions get assigned the “undesirable” staff.

• There is no training regiment program or succession planning in place.

• Upon licensing and employment by TDLR as an official (referee, time keeper, judge, etc) there is no communication or policy given on how the rotation works, how much they are paid, or any other relevant employment information.

• Lack of standards and poor execution of provisions by TDLR has led to criticism that fighters have been put at risk.

• I suspect numerous violations of the Fair Labor and Standards Act are violated. Unfortunately the employees and promoters aren’t in a position to complain because of obvious and legitimate fear of retaliation. Solution:

I recognize it wouldn’t be fair to complain or ask for the investigation without at least an offer of resolution. First a brief about my background, I am currently a 24 year government employee. I have retired as the Assistant Police Chief and later the City Manager in one Texas municipality, and I am currently the City Manager in another Texas municipality. I have supervised over 500 employees and managed multi-million dollar budgets. I have an undergrad business degree from LeTourneau University, and a Master’s of Science degree from Sam Houston State. I have experience working with TDLR as an amateur competitor, professional competitor, manager, promotion owner (IXFA, LLC), and most recently as a referee and judge.

Option A: Create an internal investigation office of governmental affairs, with minimal personnel that reports directly to the Commission. This person needs to have investigative experience and the upmost integrity. Their duty would be to investigate complaints involving both licensed personnel, and TDLR Combative Sports in general. They would be responsible for creating the policy and procedure that is severely lacking in this division. This would create a manageable and fair working environment for both internal employees and customers of TDLR.

Option B: Remove the Program Manager Dick Cole from his very long time position and replace him with someone who is more progressive and understanding of customer service and leadership.

Option C: Most states have an actual Boxing Commission that regulates both Boxing and MMA. Texas could do the same, the Governor appoints a Commission and they hire a Commissioner. This would be a clean way to start over, and send a message that our State is making changes to be more user friendly and ethical. The Commission would be made up of Texas residents who know the sports. This is one of the major problems with the current Combative Sports Division; no one in that office has ANY experience with MMA. I would also like to make it clear that I am not a disgruntled employee or customer; I am speaking for those in the sport who are afraid to speak up.

Thank you for your consideration, and I am available to help in any way you see fit. Sincerely, Chris Reed"



Packing bags and headed to

Packing bags and headed to Costa Rica. I'm not taking the fall for what we've been doing. Hell to the no.


Comments crease me up.. Awesome for tdlr to log in to comment

Fact check what?

The Fact is that TDLR is run by the good ol' boy boxing crooks and they make it difficult for MMA to grow beyond what THEY think it should be. It's time that people who understand, love and care for the sport have a say in how it is run.

fact check

It appears no-one fact checked this letter. I think someone needs to retract and rewrite.

Hi Dickie. You mad bro?

Hi Dickie. You mad bro?


What Illegal activity are you talking about? I see this letter going in the garbage.

I am so glad someone finally

I am so glad someone finally is standing up to these crooks, but he didn't mention the illegal activity that I am sure will come out! Good Job Chris Reed

Totally Agree!

I am a MMA fight coach and rules are always unclear and they technically "punish" MMA fighters with mismatches when an MMA Fighters wants to Box.

For instance, I had an amateur fighter with only 1 amateur MMA fight under his belt. He wanted to compete in Golden Gloves so they told him he couldn't compete in the Sub-novice division, in fact he would have to fight some one who had more than 10 fights because of his "MMA Experience". Let's take a minute to think about that. Boxers "should" have a clear advantage in a boxing match because that's what they train all the time. MMA fighters, many times, don't have the luxury to working a singular discipline because we have other things to train as well ie Grappling, Wrestling, Kicks etc. The average MMA Fighters trains boxing probably 3 times a week compared to the boxer who probably trains it 5-6 times a week. So how is this fair? I talked to Mark Coloy and he told me that an MMA guy competed against a boxer and the boxer got hurt so now they are requiring all MMA fighters to compete at higher levels than what their experience would suggest.

I also had am MMA fighter compete on a mixed card (Boxing and MMA) in Houston and the Boxers were treated like royalty by TDLR and the promotion while the MMA fighters were literally talked about negatively and in come cases made fun of by some of the TDLR people.

These are only a couple of things in a long list of gripes. I have alot of pormoter friends who hate dealing with the TDLR and talk about the same things mentioned in the article. Hope it get's worked out.

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