OSAC: All Shine Fights Competitors Now IneligibleWhile the Shine Fights Grand Prix went ahead as planned last weekend, controversy continues to surround the promotion. Contrary to claims from Shine Fights COO Jason Chambers, all fighters who competed on the card now face 60-day ineligibility distinctions in Oklahoma, Ohio and elsewhere.

OSAC Inspector Leigh Brown confirmed to MMARising.com that all Shine Fights participants are now ineligible to compete on sanctioned MMA cards for 60 days from the date of the event. The one-night, eight-man lightweight tournament was won by former UFC welterweight contender Drew Fickett.

Following its decision to move the Lightweight Grand Prix from Fairfax, Virginia to the First Council Casino in Newkirk, Oklahoma, Shine Fights executives faced criticism for trying to deflect blame for the move to seemingly anyone and everyone. The promotion claimed that the Virginia commission, as well as that of North Carolina where Shine attempted to hold an event in May, was negligent and that it was responsible for having to move the one-night tournament. The Oklahoma State Athletic Commission refused to sanction the tournament, so it proceeded as an unsanctioned event on tribal land.

As first reported here, the OSAC maintains a policy that is designed to prevent fighters from competing in potentially unsafe events that forego sanctioning. This policy applies a 60-day ineligibility distinction, which is effectively a suspension of sorts, that prevents the fighter from obtaining a licence to compete in a sanctioned MMA event for the duration of the time period. In this sense, it differs from a standard suspension which applies to the fighter’s licence or record itself. This policy is also enforced in Ohio and is honoured by other nearby states in accordance with Association of Boxing Commission guidelines encouraging co-operation.

While the OSAC policy does not affect fighters who compete in events that are sanctioned by a tribal commission, there was no such commission present at the Shine Fights event. John Shotton, the Chairman of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe which oversees the land on which the First Council Casino sits, told SI.com’s Josh Gross that his tribe does not maintain an athletic commission of any sort. Oddly, Jason Chambers has attempted to dispute this by claiming that his promotion’s event was indeed overseen by a tribal commission, despite the fact that no such commission exists.

Chambers has extended blame to everyone from commission representatives to members of the MMA media, but his comments, as well as those of Shine Fights CEO Devin Price, have been rebutted or proven to be false on multiple occasions. Still, Chambers maintains that no fighters from the Shine tournament face any sort of suspension. The OSAC states otherwise and its policy, which has been in effect since last year, is clear.

While the Shine Fights Lightweight Grand Prix marked a resurgence of sorts for Drew Fickett, who has battled an alcohol addiction that threatened his career, the problems surrounding the promotion remain. Fighters competing at the event repeatedly fell out of the ring onto nearby tables and equipment, while other competitors were forced to withdraw after suffering cuts or injuries in the opening round. All fighters have reportedly been paid, but Chambers’s contradictory claims and inaccurate statements continue to paint the promotion in a negative light.

For fighters who did take part in the embattled Shine Fights event, they will be unable to compete in sanctioned MMA events in Oklahoma for 60 days. They will face an identical ineligibility distinction in the state of Ohio, though the duration may vary. Nearby states have honoured the disciplinary practice in the past and Wisconsin is reportedly considering doing so for fighters who were on the Shine card.

Update: Wisconsin has since opted not to uphold the ineligibility distinctions for fighters competing in the state within 60 days of the Shine Fights event.