Richard Cole, Head Of Texas Regulation Committee, Announces Retirement
Posted by Joseph Lee on 04.08.2014
After 21 years...
MMA Junkie reports that Richard "Dickie" Cole, head of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation's boxing commission for 21 years, has announced his retirement.
He oversaw several UFC events but had a controversial career due to claims of conflicts of interest and abuse of power. He was reprimanded twice in 2011 for unprofessionalism and put on disciplinary probation by the TDLR after he told a racist and anti-semitic joke to a Zuffa employee. Greg Alvarez, who was an administrator under Cole, is now the interim combative sports program manager. The retirement happens on April 30.
In a statement, the TDLR said: "He leaves behind a legacy of safe, successful, and well-organized combative sports events throughout Texas. We are proud to have worked with Dickie, and to have been recipients of his wisdom and knowledge."
The incident happened at Strikeforce: Overeem vs Werdum on June 18, 2011. A version of the incident, included in an official reprimand given to Cole on June 30 by a TDLR lawyer, reads: "Between bouts I was standing/squatting between Dick Cole and Brad Smuckler (UFC controller) when Dick asked Brad, ‘You're Jewish, right?' Brad replied that he is and Dick commenced into what I deemed to be an inappropriate ‘joke.' After hearing the words ‘O.J. Simpson, the ‘n' word, killed, Jew' I backed away. I did hear Brad say something about ‘killed a male and female.' I felt sick and wanted to disassociate myself from the situation."
Spokesperson Susan Stanford apologized to Smuckler and thanked him for the "gentlemanly" way he reacted. Smuckler later emailed Cole and said he wasn't offended.
During a community meeting in March, several members of the Texas fight community wanted to hold the commission accountable for misconduct. Boxing and MMA websites have also criticized the program for drug testing policies and Cole's ties to Laurence Cole, a highly-paid boxing referee who runs an insurance company that underwrite combat sports events in Texas.
Cole was later given another reprimand a day before the event for being unprofessional. A TDLR lawyer mentioned a conference call to discuss his behavior with a female co-worker, which involved an "erroneous, unprofessional and demeaning" email to a Zuffa employee with "derogatory" and "inappropriate" terms, then not responding to any attempts to contact him.
Cole was given a set of rules about talking to outside parties. He was asked to apologize to Smuckler, attend equal employment opportunity training, and to stop talking to Zuffa employees. He was put on probation for three months.