September 14, 2010

by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com When things just can’t seem to get any worse, somehow life always seems to find a way to knock you just a little further down before you finally get back up. At least, that’s often times how it seems, and it must feel that way right now for Keith Jardine.

Not only did he suffer his fifth straight loss at Saturday night’s Shark Fights 13, Jardine was also indefinitely suspended by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation for “sportsmanship.”

“What happened, when Keith got through the crowd area, he was stopped and somebody was pulling on his shirt, out of reaction Keith pushed the guy to get him off and it happened to be (a Texas official),” explained John Madrid, Jardine’s manager.

Sounds simple enough, but the problem really started just prior to that when there was no escort from the backstage area out to the cage.

“There were no commission people or any security or anything to escort Keith out to the cage, and the TV guys are saying we gotta go. The crowd was really tight knit walking out, people reaching over the barriers grabbing at him and wanting to touch him,” Madrid recounted.

“He’s standing there … he’s being grabbed, he turns around in instinct and pushes the guy back, thinking its an over aggressive fan, but it happens to be (a Texas official).

“He’s very apologetic to that. (But) the only part that the commission saw was Keith pushing the commission guy.”

Madrid says he tried to explain the context of the situation to commission officials, but “they would have none of it.” They suspended Jardine on fight night, telling Madrid that it was indefinite until a hearing could be held.

Madrid then attempted to gain contact information so that he could stay on top of the situation as it developed, but says he was told by officials that “they would be in contact.”

Greg Alvarez, Assistant Combative Sports Program Manager for Texas, basically concurred with Madrid’s recap of the situation, telling MMAWeekly.com that Jardine was suspended because “he pushed one of my referees.”

He said that Jardine could have been suspended immediately and not allowed to fight, but that he felt the severity of the situation didn’t warrant such action. Instead, he decided to file an incident report that is then handed over to Texas’ enforcement department for processing.

“The complaint is open and enforcement will contact him. Once there’s a complaint it’s out of my hands,” explained Alvarez. “They call him in for the interview and he can give his side.”

As of Tuesday morning, Madrid had yet to receive any further contact from officials in Texas.

“Some take a couple weeks, some a couple months,” said Alvarez about the time frame of processing the complaint. “Our agency regulates 26 other (area), not just combative sports.”

Heading into the bout, which he lost to fellow UFC veteran Trevor Prangley, was hopefully going to be Jardine’s first step back to the Octagon after receiving his walking papers on the heels of a four-fight skid.

Now he’s left to continue the rebuilding process anew, and likely without the Shark Fights platform, at least until the situation with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation can be resolved. Shark Fights is based in Texas and has held all of its 13 events in the state.