The NYSAC would benefit greatly from commonsense changes

Chris Weidman is likely to file a formal complaint this week with the NYSAC, regarding his TKO loss that stems from the questionable usage of instant replay. Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

There's a very good chance that, by midweek, the New York State Athletic Commission will have two formal, written complaints on its desk.

UFC light heavyweight Anthony Johnson intends to take the commission to task for its handling of a controversial weigh-in with Daniel Cormier, whom Johnson fought at UFC 210 in Buffalo.

And former middleweight champion Chris Weidman will challenge the commission's actions during his TKO loss to Gegard Mousasi at the same event, specifically its use of instant replay.

Generally speaking, it's not a good sign when an athletic commission is in the headlines -- and the NYSAC has lived there regularly since the state lifted its ban on professional mixed martial arts last year.

To a certain extent, that's inevitable.

In terms of regulating MMA, the NYSAC is in its infancy -- and it's quickly learning that this sport is uniquely unpredictable. Although it might share similarities with boxing, for which essentially all of NYSAC's policies were written, it's also completely different. Adjusting to a brand-new sport will take NYSAC some time.

In the short term, however, the commission would greatly benefit from a handful of simple adjustments, proactive behavior and, frankly, common sense.

It should, for instance, share its rules with everyone else. One unfortunate reality about MMA is that it is subject to the rules and policies of the various state athletic commissions around the country. They are not all uniform, and New York has proved to have several quirky rules that have caught athletes off guard.

In the case of Cormier's recent weigh-in controversy, it was unknown to virtually everyone involved that New York would allow him to weigh in twice. The common perception is that once a fighter steps on a scale during an early weigh-in, that's his or her only shot.

So, when Cormier initially weighed-in 1.2 pounds overweight for his UFC title fight, the public believed he'd just officially missed -- when in fact, he technically had two more hours to cut.

When NYSAC executive officer Tony Giardina was asked to provide the specific language of this now-crucial policy, his response was that it definitely existed but that it is not included in New York's statutes. Maybe it was available online, Giardina said.

Of course, Giardina's answer, even though eventually proved accurate, made the commission look terrible. At best, it didn't know how to locate its own rules. At worst, it was making them up as it went.

And that chain of events was completely avoidable had the commission been even slightly proactive. It's no secret the UFC has had multiple title fights fall apart within the past four months. Two interim title fights, in fact, have been affected by weight cuts: Max Holloway vs. Anthony Pettis in December and Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson in March.

One would certainly think that the NYSAC would have the foresight to inform Cormier and Johnson of its two-hour, reweigh policy before their weight cut, right? I mean, right?

NYSAC is hopefully going to learn, quickly, the same lessons other state athletic commissions have learned in recent years. It pays off, greatly, to be proactive -- not reactive. And it pays to have buttoned-up, written policies that are easily accessible to the public.

The case of Mousasi's controversial TKO victory over Weidman will come down to the commission's interpretation of having no policy whatsoever on the use of instant replay.

We're all familiar with the circumstances of the fight by now. Mousasi landed a knee to Weidman's head that referee Dan Miragliotta initially ruled illegal, leading him to halt the fight. Based on the use of instant replay, Miragliotta then changed his ruling on the spot and declared the blows were legal, which ultimately resulted in a TKO win for Mousasi.

Should the NYSAC have had the foresight, again, to write a policy on the use of instant replay, as Nevada did eight years ago, before hosting a major event? Should it write a policy on judges' use of cageside monitors, as Nevada did in 2011? Might be a good idea.

Even before the legalization of MMA in New York, the state knew it was getting big fights. The UFC and Bellator MMA promised as much. Of course, these promotions were going to put their best foot forward. Bellator will do so this summer, when it hosts its second pay-per-view event ever, inside Madison Square Garden.

Major MMA events are going to continue to take place in New York. That's not going to stop any time soon. Millions of dollars will be on the line for the sport's biggest stars, and it will all fall under the NYSAC.

Right now, the commission is stuck in a time warp. As UFC president Dana White put it Saturday, it's as if the UFC is back "in 2001" when it enters New York.

It's up to the commission to make up that time quickly -- or risk more headlines, more formal complaints and far more criticism.