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Ratner to regulate UFC card in England

Marc Ratner, the former executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission, is returning to the regulatory side of the fight game — for one night, at least.

Ratner, who made big news when he resigned his long-time commission post in 2006 to accept a job as a vice president with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, will handle regulatory issues for the UFC card in Manchester, England, on Saturday since the British Boxing Board of Control does not regulate mixed martial arts.

Ratner said his goal is to make the fight card, which will be shown live on Spike TV in the United States, just like it would be if it were held in Nevada. He will appoint the referees and judges, require the same medical clearances that are used here and conduct the card with the unified MMA rules that govern all UFC fights in the United States.

He plans to bring two inspectors from the Nevada commission, Jack Lazzarotto and Chuck Anzalone, to Manchester to assist.

“One of my goals is to form an MMA commission in the U.K.,” Ratner said. “I’ve invited Simon Block (the secretary of the BBBC) to come and observe. It’s important for the sport to have the same rules and the same standards everywhere.

“They obviously do a great job handling boxing, but MMA isn’t under their jurisdiction. It’s a new sport everywhere, but it’s particularly new there. These are the growing pains you see. This show will maybe help advance things over there and maybe lead to the creation of some sort of governing body fairly quickly.”

Even though he is a UFC employee, Ratner doesn’t believe regulating the bouts creates a conflict of interest for him. He said his primary issue, as it was when he was with the Nevada commission, is fighter safety. Secondarily, he said he wants to make certain the fights are fair and handled in accordance with widely accepted unified rules.

Ratner said he’s appointed John McCarthy and Herb Dean to serve as referees for the card, which is led by a main event between heavyweights Mirko Cro Cop and Gabriel Gonzaga. The winner is expected to land a July title bout against champion Randy Couture. Ratner has hired two British judges but said he will import most of the judges who will work the show.

• NOTE — UFC lightweight Melvin Guillard tested positive for cocaine in his urinalysis following his April 5 loss to Joe Stevenson at the Palms. The commission placed Guillard on temporary suspension, and he’ll face a disciplinary hearing, where he could be fined and/or suspended. Guillard had accused Stevenson of using human growth hormone prior to the fight. Stevenson, and all other fighters on that card, passed the drug screen.

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