by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
As questions arose in the past 24 hours about the validity of former heavyweight boxing champion Tommy Morrison’s negative HIV-test results, the media swirl hasn’t dissuaded John Stover from participating in a bout with Morrison tonight at Cliff Castle Casino on a reservation in Camp Verde, Arizona. The bout is advertised as Morrison’s mixed martial arts debut under the promotional banner of Worldwide Fighting Championship.
Morrison tested positive for HIV prior to a boxing match in Nevada 11 years ago, a test that he believes was a false positive, and for all intents and purposes, his career as a professional boxer was over. The recent negative tests allowed him to resume his boxing career earlier this year in West Virginia.
In comments to Sherdog.com, Stover stated that although there are a lot of people questioning the test results, no proof has been disclosed, but he has been shown paperwork that verifies the negative test result claims of Morrison’s team. So it appears that he is moving forward with the bout.
In comments to MMAWeekly, promoter Peter McKinn, who is a partner with Worldwide Fighting Championship owner Gino Carlucci for tonight’s event, stated, “I know that all the paperwork that I have seen is zero-negative.”
In reference to Randy Lang, the man who is Morrison’s former agent and brought the claims of falsified tests to light, McKinn said, “He did all the research, all the paperwork, to get the blood work and licensing done.”
According to McKinn, it was Lang that handled the licensing process for Morrison, but all the while misrepresented himself as an attorney. “He presented it and did a great job and did everything properly. It’s just sad that this guy turned out to not be an attorney.”
A report by Norm Frauenheim of The Arizona Republic indicated Lang, McKinn, and John Montano of the Arizona State Boxing Commission witnessed the HIV-tests.
Skimmed over by all of the controversy surrounding the HIV testing is the fact that this bout is being promoted as Morrison’s mixed martial arts debut, but MMAWeekly sources indicate that the rules more closely resemble kickboxing than mixed martial arts.
Sources told MMAWeekly that Stover’s contract states in large, bold print that “THIS IS A STRIKING MATCH ONLY, NO GROUND.” An integral part of mixed martial arts that separates it from both boxing and kickboxing is the aspect of the ground game being included. With takedowns and submissions (otherwise known as “the ground”) removed from the rules, the bout can hardly be considered mixed martial arts.
When questioned about the rules of the bout McKinn stated, “I don’t know anything about those contracts at all. I don’t know anything about MMA. I told Gino [Carlucci] that I’d never question MMA because I don’t really know anything about it.”
Worldwide Fighting Championship owner Gino Carlucci had not returned phone calls at the time of publication.