Whether it was taking notes at a Nevada Athletic Commission meeting or making sure there was an ambulance to take a distressed boxer to the hospital, Sandy Johnson took care of it.
The longtime administrative assistant for the commission, who started in 1981 and worked for five executive directors and 30 commissioners, will retire Friday.
“I felt it was time to spend time with my family and smell the roses,” Johnson said. “I had a good run, but it’s time to do something else.”
Johnson watched boxing go through its ups and downs and witnessed the arrival of mixed martial arts and its phenomenal growth this decade. During the entire time, she was entrusted in guiding the commission through the inevitable red tape that comes with being a state agency.
“I’ve learned to be flexible, that the best laid plans go astray,” she said of dealing with the unpredictable world that is boxing. “Things fall out. Things change on short notice. But when you see the amount of dedication that goes into being a boxer or a mixed martial artist, you gain an appreciation for what they do.”
Commission executive director Keith Kizer said Johnson’s contributions have been invaluable.
“People sometimes forget we’re a state agency, and, with that, we have a responsibility to the public as a whole,” Kizer said. “Sandy has been able to make it function smoothly. There’s no question she’ll be missed.”
Former executive director Marc Ratner said of Johnson: “She understood how the commission worked. More important, she understood how the state process worked. She made everyone’s job easier, particularly mine when I was executive director.”
Johnson, who sat ringside for years, said going to the fights never will be the same.
“There’s nothing like being at the commission table,” she said.
• WORLDS COLLIDE — The third quarterfinal round of the $175,000 “Worlds Collide” boxing-mixed martial arts tournament will be Saturday at the Star of the Desert Arena in Primm.
The card will have four four-round boxing matches and five three-round MMA bouts. The first bell is scheduled for 7 p.m.
• BRINKLEY DATE CHANGE — Jesse Brinkley’s light heavyweight fight with Mike Paschall in Reno has been moved up a day to July 10.
The change was made because several of the card’s sponsors also are sponsors of the UFC 100 event July 11 at Mandalay Bay.
• FIELDS THE PROMOTER — The last time heavyweight Tye Fields fought, he was knocked out in the first round by Monte Barrett at Mandalay Bay. Now, almost a year later, Fields is returning as a fighter and promoter.
Fields (41-2, 37 knockouts) moved from Las Vegas to Edmonton, Alberta, and formed Big Sky Promotions. On June 20, he will headline his own card at the River Cree Resort and Casino, facing Nicolai Firtha (16-5-1, 7 KOs) in a 12-round bout for the NABF’s Native American Boxing Council vacant heavyweight title.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913.