The controversial three-year tenure of California State Athletic Commission executive director Armando Garcia appears to be at an end.
According to a public notice on CSAC’s website, the commission is scheduled to accept Garcia’s resignation when it convenes for its next meeting on Nov. 18.
A posted agenda for the meeting reveals that in addition to accepting Garcia’s resignation, an appointment of an interim executive officer will take place along with the appointment of a search committee to help determine who Garcia’s long-term replacement will be.
Following 20 years of experience as a judge and referee for the state of California, Garcia was named the commission’s executive director in 2005. Up until his appointment as executive director, MMA had been unregulated in California. Garcia was not only a driving force in getting legislation passed that would allow for regulated MMA events in the state, but presided over the California’s first regulated event in 2006, a Strikeforce-promoted event in March featuring a bout involving Frank Shamrock and Cesar Gracie.
Despite helping bring MMA to the state, Garcia was not universally accepted by the MMA community. Critics have been vocal in their claims that Garcia favored boxing over MMA and that he was not a true supporter of the sport. He also became a central figure in several high-profile drug test failures in the state, including those of Sean Sherk and Phil Baroni. During the appeals of both fighters, issues over the timeliness of when their appeals were heard as well as chain of custody issues of the contaminated samples were often raised.
Garcia also found himself embroiled in controversy after the commission’s refusal to license Nick Diaz prior to a scheduled fight on March 29 during a co-promoted event between EliteXC and Strikeforce in San Jose. Despite having not even been tested, Diaz was not allowed to fight after he disclosed to licensing officials that he was taking marijuana on a prescription basis in order to treat attention deficit disorder.