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Nevada Athletic Commission expected to hire new executive director Saturday

By the time boxers Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley arrive at the MGM Grand Garden Saturday for their world welterweight title rematch, the Nevada Athletic Commission should have a new executive director.

Four finalists are scheduled to be interviewed this morning by the commission and from those four, one will be selected to replace Keith Kizer, who resigned Jan. 10 after six years on the job.

“I’m beyond excited,” NAC chairman Francisco Aguilar said Friday. “We have a tremendous opportunity to move forward and we’ve got four excellent choices to pick from.

“To me, it is one of the most important decisions the commission will make.”

Interviewing this morning will be:

— Bob Bennett of Las Vegas, a former FBI agent and current boxing judge;

— Michael Martino of Reno, currently an NAC inspector and former interim executive director of USA Boxing.

— Andrew Foster of Sacramento, Calif., the current executive officer for the California State Athletic Commission;

— Jeffery Mullen of Germantown, Tenn., the current executive director of the Tennessee Athletic Commission and has a strong mixed martial arts background as a judge and referee.

Mark Smith of Las Vegas, was also scheduled to be interviewed but withdrew his candidacy Monday for personal reasons.

The meeting, which will be held in room 1100 at the Grant Sawyer State Office Building (555 East Washington Ave.) begins at 10:30 a.m. and is open to the public.

Aguilar said the four finalists, who were in the initial pool of 350 candidates, share some common threads.

“I see experience in dealing with external groups,” Aguilar said of the similarities. “I see personalities that are even keeled and people with tremendous integrity.

“I also see four people who are independently strong yet have an ability to work with others. That’s very important. I’m looking for someone who can take different individuals with different personalities and can blend them together and work with them.”

The NAC has also been changing its staff in recent months, with a new chief inspector, new inspectors, new MMA judges and referees. Aguilar said the new executive director needs to work with the staff and lead them.

“I want to see someone who is proactive with the commission staff, someone who will motivate them and help them achieve the greatest amount of success,” Aguilar said. “Whether it’s setting up clinics and seminars or being willing to be open-minded and try different things, we need the next executive director to be creative and make our officials the best they can be.”

Aguilar said the commissioners must also do a better job of communicating and working with whoever they hire.

“It is our responsibility to work with the hire and help that person adjust,” he said.

Aguilar said he has reached out to several boxing, MMA and kickboxing promoters regarding the four finalists and he has not had a word of dissent on any of the candidates.

“The feedback I have received has been positive and I’m confident that we will have a new executive director at the end of our meeting,” he said.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

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