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Jan. 30, 2014

Referee's call reversed, DLI commissioner orders 'No Decision' in boxing match

In a response to a grievance filed after a professional boxing match in Minneapolis in early January, the Department of Labor and Industry's (DLI) Office of Combative Sports has ordered the match be called as "No Decision," reversing the call the referee made at the time.

Argenis Mendez and Rances Barthelemy fought each other for the Super Featherweight Title of the International Boxing Federation at Target Center on Jan. 3. After the bell rang signaling the end of the second round, Barthelemy threw a combination punch that resulted in Mendez being knocked out. Mendez filed a grievance with DLI on Jan. 9.

A punch that strikes at the same time as the bell is rung is a legal blow; a punch that strikes after the bell is a foul. Video from the event clearly shows the knock-out punch happened after the bell had sounded. No evidence shows Barthelemy intentionally threw the foul punches; they have been determined to be an accidental foul.

"The referee was in a bad position to see the sequence of events leading up to the knockout," said DLI Commissioner Ken Peterson. "I understand he's a good ref, he just had a bad night."

As Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner, Peterson is responsible for ensuring all professional boxing contests in Minnesota conform to Minnesota Statutes Chapter 341 and all rules adopted under this chapter. The referee is the decisionmaker of what is occurring in the ring during a boxing contest. However, in making these decisions, a referee cannot violate the clear meaning and intent of any of the rules. The law requires the commissioner overrule the referee and enforce the plain language of the law. This boxing contest is ruled "No Decision." The state of Minnesota has no jurisdiction over awarding fighter titles, so whether the title is transferred is up to the International Boxing Federation.

About DLI's Office of Combative Sports
DLI was directed by the Minnesota Legislature to take over the duties and authority of the Combative Sports Commission as of July 1, 2012. DLI's Office of Combative Sports regulates both boxing and martial arts (MMA) events. Visit www.mncombativesports.com for more information.

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James Honerman
(651) 284-5313

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