Dr. Tad Seifert, former KBWC member and chairman of the KBWC’s Medical Advisory Panel

For the second time this summer, a chairman of a regulatory body governing combat sports in Kentucky has left that position to join a boxing and wrestling promotion company.

According to Cindy Stinnett, the executive director of the Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Commission, Dr. Tad Seifert officially resigned last week from both the commission and that board’s Medical Advisory Panel, the latter of which he had chaired since being appointed by Gov. Matt Bevin in 2016.

Seifert told Insider Louisville in an email that he is “moving into the private industry side of things with Gladiator Sports,” but did not say what his role would be with the company.

Gladiator Sports Network is the company founded this summer by Chad Miller, just after he resigned as chairman of the Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Commission. Miller also acquired Ohio Valley Wrestling this summer, the regional wrestling league that holds dozens of events throughout the state each year.

In a news release from the Louisville Sports Commission on Wednesday, Gladiator Sports Network announced that Ohio Valley Wrestling and Top Knotch Boxing had merged under the new company, which will “oversee overall growth initiatives” for both.

ARGI Financial Group CEO Joe Reeves founded Top Knotch Boxing in 2017. The company co-promoted two boxing events with Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Promotions, which were also heavily promoted by the Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Commission and Gov. Bevin himself.

Al Snow, a former Ohio Valley Wrestling trainer and president and CEO of Gladiator Sports Network, tells Insider that the company is owned by himself, Miller and Reeves.

Stinnett of the Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Commission told Insider that Seifert actually submitted his resignation letter on Aug. 14, which was a day before he faced heated criticism in KBWC meeting from three mixed martial arts promoters.

These promoters — as well as one of their attorneys — asserted that Seifert and the commission were violating their own regulations when disqualifying several of their fighters at the last minute by requiring expensive MRIs and neurological exams, and doing so on an inconsistent basis.

The promoters also argued that such inconsistent regulation could threaten the future of MMA events in Kentucky, while an attorney for one later suggested that members or former members of the commission were financially benefiting from actions that would help the MMA promoters’ competitors.

Seifert — a nationally renown specialist on traumatic brain injuries — gave no indication during the meeting that he had already resigned, but defended his new policy of requiring all fighters over 35 years old to have such neurological testing in the name of fighter safety, saying “as long as I sit on this commission, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Editor’s note: a previous correction to this post regarding Top Knotch Boxing was in error. As reported, the LLC was formed in 2017.

Joe Sonka
Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]