Boxing promoter Chuck Horton has scored what he feels was KO victory in his battle with the Minnesota Combative Sports Commission.
“I was found innocent of all charges...... The Minnesota boxing commission ruled in my favor.” Horton posted on Facebook following the meeting on Monday night.
Horton, who was suspended in June for holding exhibition fights at Grandma’s Bar in Duluth without the approval of the commission, saw his suspension and fine upheld by the commission, but the commission voted unanimously to stay the suspension for two years baring anymore infractions.
The disciplinary action stemmed from an exhibition card on June 17 featuring Matt “The Predator” Vanda sparring with Andy “Kaos” Kolle, as well as four other matches.
In an e-mail exchange with the commission before the event, Horton’s matchmaker told the commission’s office administrator that they would be holding a “public workout showcase” without defining what that entailed.
State statue 341 gives the commission oversight of exhibition boxing matches, but no one from the commission ever clarified with Horton what he meant by a public workout and so he was not warned in advance he might run afoul of the commission.
Horton told the full commission he felt he never did anything wrong, that they had been informed of his intentions every step of the way before the event, and it was unfair to punish him because of a misunderstanding.
The commission voted 6-1 to stay the suspension based on the recommendation of the grievance subcommittee, which met with Horton for 45 minutes before the full commission meeting.
At the sub-committee meeting, Horton told Commissioners Terry Dempsey, Pat Fallon and Craig Gallop he never meant to break any laws.
“I’ve been in boxing my whole life. ... I would never have gone through with this if I knew I was in violation of any statute,” Horton said.
“We had no knowledge that we were doing anything wrong,” Horton told the committee.
Fallon told Horton he should have attended the previous meeting in June because it could have produced a different outcome.
“It seemed like you weren’t listening, that you didn’t care what we said,” Fallon said. It seemed like the promoter was “giving us the metaphorical finger,” he added.
“We felt you were thumbing your nose at the commission,” Gallop said.
Horton said he wanted to clear his name and asked the punishment be rescinded completely, but he was not able to sway the full commission.
“I have five kids, they read about me in the paper. I am doing this for them. I have to value my good name,” Horton said.
The commissioners present decided not to rescind the fine, telling Horton he might not have known he was running an illegal event, but what he had done was still against the rules.
“We need to understand that you know now what is an exhibition and what falls under us,” Gallop told Horton.
Horton thanked the commission for their understanding and said he looked forward to working with them in the future.
“There are a lot of bad feelings now, and I don’t want there to be, we have a lot of opportunity” to grow boxing in Duluth, Horton said.