The 80th Round
As part of the process of “investigating” the tragic injury suffered by Greg Page on March 9, 2001, the Kentucky Athletic Commission took statements from just about everyone under their jurisdiction who was connected to the fight. This constituted the entire “investigation” of the incident, which was internal only.
As we pointed out in Part Three of “Horse Manure Isn't the Only Thing That Stinks in Kentucky”, the commission didn't take statements from anyone else – not Patricia Love, Page's fiancee at the time; not Brian Walsh, the representative and friend of Page; not James Doolin, Page's trainer. Not even Dr. Manuel Mediodia. Nor did they compile any findings on what the physical condition of Greg Page was.
Sure, it was an attempt to keep everything under their control. But there were some people present who weren't about to be controlled.
One of them was Emmitt Igo, a member of the commission who probably delivered the most revealing commentary on how the Kentucky Athletic Commission should deal with the aftermath of Page's injury. The following written statement, reproduced in its entirety, was submitted just three days after the Greg Page-Dale Crowe fight. Please pay special attention to the final paragraph:
March 12, 2001
Nancy L. Black, Director
Division of Occupations and Professions
P.O. Box 1360
Frankfort, KY 40602
To Whom It May Concern,
On March 9, 2001, I, Emmitt L. Igo, was working as one of the commissioners for the boxing show held at Peel's Palace in Erlanger, Kentucky. This is my comments and accounts of the boxing show.
My wife and I arrived at the Howard Johnson Hotel at approximately 4:30 PM. I checked into my room there and waited for Jack Kerns/Chairman to arrive for weigh-in. He had asked that my room be used for the weigh-in. Jack and John Cooper arrived at approximately 5:15 PM. We set up the camera and scales. Jack told me that some of the boxer had already been weigh-in at the press conference. I assisted Jack and John with licensing of boxers, and seconds. There was not a bout card in advance to determine to weigh-in for the show. Who ever show up and said they were boxing got weigh. I instructed the boxers to go over to Peel's Palace to be checked by the doctor.
Tim Gonterman came to room with some concern that Mr. James Doolin had pass on to him in a conversation. Some of the concerns that Tim pas on to Jack was that the ring didn't have the proper padding and that the turnbuckle was not properly covered.
After the weigh-ins I went over to Peel's Palace which was located across from the hotel. Mr. Doolin approaches me and asks who approved the boxing ring, because the padding was not proper. I replied that I did not, Jack was in charge. I was approach by Jack and ask if I would go with Mike Cunningham to the boxer rooms and go over the rules for the Championship bout. Mr. Cunningham and I went to Mr. Page's room and then I was given an envelope with commission on the front. I read the rules and ask if there were any questions. I ask Mr. Doolin what do you want me to with this envelope? He replied give it back to me until after the fights. I gave the envelope back to Mr. Doolin. We went on to Mr. Crowe room and gave the pre-fight instruction. Tim and I were responsible for having boxer for the Championship fight over at ringside. I led Mr. Page over to ringside and Tim lead Mr. Crowe. Upon arrive at ringside I observed that I did not have a seat in the corner of Mr. Page. There was not room at ringside in the corner. I observed a lot of people at ringside whom should not have been there. I was able to find a seat in one of the neutral corners adjacent to Mr. Page corner. I observe the match from that spot. I felt it was a good match at no time did I see Mr. Crowe dominating Mr. Page. Mr. Page knocked Mr. Crowe mouthguard out a couple of time. At one point Mr. page throw a hard left hook that knock Mr. Crowe mouthguard clear across the ring and into my chest, I was unable to catch the mouthguard. Mr. Crowe was shoving Mr. page off most of the bout. The referee had warned Mr. Crowe several times but not take any points off until the last round. In the last round Mr. Crowe and Mr. page was working inside. When Mr. Crowe push Mr. Page, he fell back against the ropes with the upper part of his body hitting the rope first. He slide down the ropes into a half sitting/laying position. Mr. Cunningham counted to ten and Mr. Page didn't get up. Mr. page's eyes were open at the time of the count. He still had movement. The referee should have ensure that boxer was OK. The ringside physician did not appear to know what to do and how to do it.
IT IS MY RECOMMENDATION THAT THE COMMISSION NOT APPROVE ANY MORE MATCH UNTIL SUCH TIME AS PROMOTER, DOCTOR, OFFICIAL AND COMMISSIONER ALL ATTEND A CLINIC. IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO ENFORCE THE RULES AND MAKE THE SPORT AS SAFE AS POSSIBLE FOR ALL.
Emmitt L. Igo
This is what Jack Kerns had to say about Igo, as he was questioned him deposition on December 10, 2002:
“Q: Have you ever reviewed the statement that Emmitt Igo gave to Nancy Black, the secretary of the commission and the director of Division of Occupations and Professions?
A: I don't know. If you would show it to me, I night be able to tell you.
Q: Well, I'll show it to you, and the last part of it I've got highlighted. Have you ever seen that statement before?
A: Yeah, I've seen this here.
Q: In this statement to the Kentucky Athletic Commission, Emmitt Igo said, quote, the ringside physician did not seem to know what to do and how to do it, close quote. Correct?
A: Yeah. Well, I don't know how he could say that. He's not a doctor.
Q: Have you ever discussed that statement by Mr. Igo with Mr. Igo?
Q: Is that something that would be important to know?
A: Mr. Igo has made statements that – you know, about different – referees should be able to watch things. And I asked different doctors since then, you know, what you can watch for and if there's any signs that a referee could see, and my answer that I got was, no you can't tell. If something is inside the brain, you can't tell.
Q: Did you consider Mr. Igo not to be a competent commissioner?
A: Oh no, he's a competent commissioner, but he's not a doctor.
Q: I understand he's not a doctor, but I want to know is – and you've already answered this – you've never discussed with Mr. Igo what he meant by that statement, the ringside physician did not appear to know what to do and how to do it. You've never discussed that with him?
In the statement of another commissioner, TIM GONTERMAN, he said he relayed all of the concerns of James Doolin to Kerns well in advance of the fight.
“I met with Mr. Doolin for about eight minutes………Mr. Kerns acknowledged my statements, then we left for the arena.”
In Gonterman's statement, there is no reference to anything Kerns did about Doolins' complaints or concerns.
According to JOHN COOPER, who was the timekeeper that night:
“The doctor went into the ring and when he came back out he said he thought Mr. Page was OK. Only exhausted. After Mr. Page didn't get up the doctor went back into the ring, and again saying Mr. Page was OK.”
This actually corroborates, to some extent, what Dr. Mediodia testified to, but seems to contradict Kerns' version of events, in which he said Mediodia was in the ring the entire time.
Did Kerns make his own version up as he went along?
And what was Kerns' role in this so-called “investigative” process?
MARVIN WHITTAMORE was a judge for the Page-Crowe fight. He says it was Kerns himself who contacted him about compiling a statement concerning the events that took place that particular evening.
Another judge, MIKE MARTIN, also said that Kerns asked him to write a statement. He submitted the statement back to Kerns through e-mail.
This scares me. What was Kerns – who should have been the subject of the investigation – doing taking any kind of authority whatsoever for CONDUCTING the probe? And why didn't the Attorney General's office in Kentucky issue a directive that Kerns not have any direct contact with other Kentucky officials regarding the evidence that was to be entered into this “investigation”.
A little post-script is in order. Do you remember how Michael Mudd had been jettisoned after making some independent comments to the press?
As was originally chronicled in Chapter 55 of “Operation Cleanup: A Blueprint for Boxing Reform”:
“Nancy Black called me, and honestly, I didn't even know who she was,” says Mudd. “She told me , 'Well, I'm with the athletic commission, and I don't want you to talk to the press'. I told her, 'I'm going to talk to whoever I want to. This is still America.
“Then she said, 'I'm telling you right now – I don't want you talking to ANYBODY'. And I said, 'Nancy Black, fuck you'. It was as simple as that.”
Shortly thereafter, Mudd was informed that he had been removed from the commission.
Well, Igo, whose statement for the Kentucky “investigation” was the most forthcoming; who suggested that everyone involved receive some proper training before endeavoring to oversee a fight again, is no longer a member of the Kentucky Athletic Commission. Let's just say it was not by choice.
That tells you about all you need to know.
Copyright 2003 Total Action Inc.