The 51st Round
(NOTE: The “Q & A” passages in these reports, as well as the direct quotes, are a product of the deposition taken from Dr. Manuel Mediodia, dated October 25, 2002)
At some point during Dr. Manuel Mediodia's deposition, Doug Morris, an attorney for Greg Page, was addressing his suspension from the practice of medicine:
“Q – And you did not work in the medical field at all from 1992 and 1996?
A – Nothing except – I know you're going to get into this. I did some – I was – I worked as a ringside physician. In fact, I was doing that already since about 1990 or 1989, and I had been doing it all along, so I – and I got my license for that from an office in – I think in Springfield, Ohio at the time, and I had been doing nothing except that. To me, that was a kind of relaxation for me helping out at the boxing gyms. People who asked me – I never applied for any of this. They asked me to do a – to be the ringside physician in those places.”
Mediodia never saw the need to inform anyone that while he was attending to fighters, he was in a position where he no longer could practice medicine, and in fact, was considered a non-physician during that time.
Mediodia got his start as a ringside physician, in his words, “around 1989 or 1990” in and around Cincinnati.
Mostly, it was to work on amateur cards, put on by small gyms in the area – finding available physicians to work these shows is a constant problem.
At this time, supposedly, Mediodia received a card from USA Boxing, the governing body for amateur boxing in the United States, which authorized him to be a ringside physician.
Mediodia confirmed that during his period of suspension, he was able to be licensed as a ringside physician in the state of Ohio:
“Q – Did you – were you able to get such a license while you were suspended from practice from 1992 to 1996?
A – Yes, sir.
Q – Did the state of Ohio licensing – excuse me – did the boxing commission that issued this license know that you were suspended from practice?
A – No, I don't think so.”
He also confirmed that he had no licensing whatsoever in the state of Kentucky:
“Q – Do you hold a Kentucky medical license?
A – No, sir.
Q – Do you hold any kind of license from the Kentucky Athletic Commission?
A – No, sir.
Q – Have you, at anytime, ever held a Kentucky medical license?
A – No, sir.
Q – have you, at anytime, held any license from the Kentucky Boxing Association to serve as a – or the Kentucky Athletic Commission to serve as a ringside physician?
A – No, sir.”
It is his belief, apparently to this day, that the USA Boxing rule book, which he received at some point after getting his USA Boxing card, was the guidebook that pertained to his duties as a ringside physician, even on professional cards in Ohio and Kentucky, along with a couple of other rather interesting sources:
“Q – Other than obtaining and reading the USA Boxing rule book, have you read any other materials that you believe would be related to your performance as a ringside physician?
A – I read about as much as the ordinary person. I read Sports Illustrated. I read the encyclopedia. Encyclopedia is where I get most of my information. When I first learn how to watch football, I read the encyclopedia. The same thing as boxing.”
Mediodia says that Terry O'Brien, whom he described as a “good friend of mine”, contacted him originally about being the ringside physician for a show he was putting on, which featured Greg Page in the main event against local favorite Dale Crowe. He was to be paid $200, which was double the fee Mediodia usually received.
It is important to point out that Mediodia doesn't seem to be able to make the distinction between that which governs a pro fight and what governs amateur boxing in these states; however, regarding the show O'Brien was plugging him into, “When I heard the word Greg Page, I was excited, because I know him as one of the heavyweights from Louisville.”
He didn't have any problem at all – and in fact has never had a problem – with the fact that he was crossing the line into a state where he may not have been authorized. “The USA Boxing certificate apparently has jurisdiction even in Kentucky for those fights.”
Mediodia testified that someone named Gloria Morgan, an official at a recreation center in the Cincinnati area, told him so.
He also says he never discussed the subject of licensing with O'Brien, who was to be the promoter for the Page-Crowe card.
His testimony is that he never bothered to find out on his own whether there were any licensing requirements in the state of Kentucky for ringside physicians at professional boxing shows. He did not know anything about it, and in fact, did not realize that he needed a license to practice medicine in the state in which he would be performing these duties, as outlined both in Kentucky state law and the federal Professional Boxer Safety Act.
Of course, Mediodia didn't have the presence of mind to realize that in performing unauthorized medical services in a state in which he was not licensed, he was also violating the terms of his probation in Ohio, which was still very much in effect at the time of the Page-Crowe fight.
Ironically, when asked, he couldn't even produce a current certificate from USA Boxing – the certificate he was leaning on so heavily for his “authorization”.
According to his testimony, Mediodia says he did not perform a physical examination of Greg Page until 9:15 PM – interesting in that this was while the fight card was taking place, and Mediodia, the only ringside physician in attendance at the show that evening, was supposed to be “continuously present at ringside”, as per the section governing “Safety Standards” in the Professional Boxer Safety Act. The exam, in his words, involved “medical history, blood pressure, heart and lung examination, pupillary reflexes.”
“Q – How about any history of injuries prior to the fight?
A – I knew all about his injuries and history.
Q – How did you know about that?
A – Reading up on them, and Terry O'Brien practically told me about his medical history for the last two fights.
Q – All right. And what did Terry O'Brien tell you about Greg Page's medical history?
A – Well, his –
Q – – before his last two fights?
A – His exact words were, Doc, you know this guy just takes too many punches. That was important, and that was in my mind.”
Later in the deposition, Morris expanded upon his line of questioning:
“Q – So you suspected, even before seeing Greg, that he might have some pre-existing brain injury from previous fights?
A – Yes, sir.
Q – Did you do anything to obtain results of any CAT scans or other tests of the head or brain prior to approving him for this fight?
A – I didn't even try, because I was on my way over to the Peel (Peel's Palace, the site of the event) when I learned that he was going to be in it.
Q – When had you been contacted by Terry O'Brien to serve –
A – The day before the fight.”
In the end, Mediodia okayed Page to fight, after marking everything down as “normal”. He said he saw nothing that gave rise to any concern over Page's previous ring injuries.
The fact is, at least according to Mediodia, he performed a lot of pre-fight physicals in a short period of time. he says he arrived at 8 PM, and examined fifteen boxers.
He seemed to be in a hurry – too much of a hurry, apparently, to check on some very essential things at the site:
“Q – Are you familiar with the rules of the Kentucky Athletic Commission requiring certain equipment to be available at the fight?
A – No.
Q – Have you ever reviewed the rules of the Kentucky Athletic Commission regarding what equipment is to be present at the fight?
A – No, sir.
Q – Have you ever reviewed the rules set forth in the federal legislation regarding the equipment and safety equipment that's to be available for a fight?
A – No, sir.”
As it turns out, however, Mediodia was in no hurry to get into the ring when Greg Page was lying there, within an inch of his life. You'll read some of those astonishing revelations in the next chapter.
Copyright 2003 Total Action Inc.