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ASK THE COMMISSION: Inspectors are one of the most important parts of regulation Print E-mail
Written by Matt Schowalter   
Friday, 13 June 2014 19:34

(EDITOR'S NOTE: During the weekly "Ask the Commission" feature, Matt Schowalter or someone else from the Minnesota Combative Sports Commission will tackle your questions. If you have questions for the commission, send them to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Enjoy!)


The role of an inspector is probably one of the most important aspects of regulation. It's not a position that is prominently in the spotlight, but one that carries a lot of responsibilities with it.

An inspector is there to ensure that both fighters have a level playing field, are following the rules, and are properly cared for when medical attention is needed. An inspector also ensures that the event flows smoothly from fight to fight, that corners aren't getting out of hand cageside, and that the locker rooms are a controlled environment where fighters can prepare for, and wind down after, a fight without having any unnecessary distractions.

I always say that being an inspector is like being in customer service. They need to make sure a fighter is focusing on their fight and nothing else. They should be an ear to vent on when a fighter is upset, an encouraging voice or pick-me-up when a fighter is nervous or feeling down, and a person to offer a well-deserved congratulations after a big win. Every fighter should feel as if the inspector is in their corner at all times and there for them whenever they need something.

While being all this, inspectors also have to remain neutral in the public eye. They can't treat one fighter, trainer or promoter differently than another. This

not only applies when they are on the clock, but also in their personal lives and on social media as well. As soon as someone believes an inspector isn't giving everyone fair treatment, they will attempt to use that as leverage when that person may want it.


Ask any inspector and they will tell you that one of my most common statements is, "Even when you think nobody's looking, they are."

There's far too many things that inspectors do for me to list them all, as most of what they do isn't necessarily in their job description. However, here are a few of the main points:

• Observe hand wrapping of all combatants assigned.

• Ensure the wrapping is within the guidelines adopted by DLI-OCS. If hand wraps do not meet regulations, the Inspector will request new wrapping and tape.

• Inspector shall monitor activities taking place in the dressing room. Only approved and/or licensed people shall be interacting with the combatants.

• Monitor that no alcohol, drugs or other inappropriate substances are present.

• Immediately notify DLI-OCS representatives of suspicious activities or problems.

• Responsible for keeping combatants on schedule including hands wrapped, gloves on and fighters warmed up.

• Inspector shall mark and initial tape on approved hand wraps and shall initial tape on wrists of gloves after checking out.

• Shall check combatants for mouthpiece and other protective equipment (protective cup for boxing).

• Escort combatants to ring or cage and escort combatants back to dressing room.

• Responsible for control of trainers and seconds in ring corners or at cage side. Including checking of licensing, limiting number of seconds per regulations, halting any improper actions, eliminating ice on mat and observing fighter in regard to safety issues.

• Inspector shall be aware of location of fight doctor and immediately report any unusual or distressful condition of the combatant.

• Check dressing room after event ends for any unusual activities.

Here's what one of our inspectors had to say about his job: "Fighter safety is our biggest responsibility. Making sure they are ready on time and in the right frame of mind going into their bout are things I take pride in doing. For example, if someone shows up with the wrong wraps, I help them get wraps so they can focus on their bout. Getting different size gloves for fighters after their hands have been wrapped is pretty common too. If a fighter has been injured in their bout, we are working with that fighter in the dressing rooms to make sure they are safe. Getting post-fight instructions on what to watch for from the fight doctor is important. We make sure the doctor is getting updates if the fighter is improving or getting worse. One of my biggest goals is making sure everyone makes it to work on Monday morning."

There are also a few inspectors on staff who have been on the other side of things as either a past fighter or trainer. Here's what one of them had to say: "I think that having a knowledgeable inspector can really help to ease the mind of the fighters and the coaches as well. If an inspector knows what they're doing and knows what their jobs are, it can help create much less confusion in the back locker room and help make things run more smoothly. Oftentimes fighters and coaches don't truly appreciate what the commission does, until something drastic happens. Like referees, I think that inspectors have a very important job that often goes unnoticed when they are doing everything that they are supposed to be doing."

Here's what a member of the ABC had to say about inspectors: "The inspectors are the eyes and ears of the commission and are the most important employees of the commission. Their main role is to monitor the actions that are occurring in the locker room and ringside. They have to be knowledgeable of the rules as well as techniques used by trainers to wrap hands, alter gloves and treat cuts. Inspectors must be able to recognize injuries, especially concussive head injuries and summons immediate medical attention. Being an inspector, while not glamorous, it is a much-needed role for the commission."

Even though the inspectors are usually the best-dressed people at the event, when they are doing their jobs, you may never even notice they are there. But they are the first ones to arrive and the last ones to leave. I make sure that everyone on staff does this job because they love the sport and the fighters, and not because they just want to make a few extra bucks on the weekends. They truly care about the people they work with and work very hard at ensuring that every bout, and every event, is a success.