Ratner to join Ultimate Fighting Championship group

Updated: March 24, 2006, 3:21 PM ET
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS -- The longtime executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission said Friday that he is resigning to take an administrative post with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Marc Ratner, 61, a former inspector for the influential Nevada boxing oversight board and its director since 1992, called his three-year contract with the mixed martial arts fight promoter "a wonderful opportunity for myself and my family."

"It's the right time," Ratner said. His last day with the athletic commission will be May 13.

Ratner said he will start May 15 as a vice president of Las Vegas-based Zuffa LLC, owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and producer of televised pay-per-view mixed martial arts events. He declined to say how much he'll be paid.

Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC owner and president of Las Vegas-based Station Casinos Inc., did not immediately respond Friday to requests for comment. Fertitta worked with Ratner when Fertitta served on the Nevada Athletic Commission from 1996 to 2000.

The UFC was recently sanctioned in California, making it the 20th state to regulate mixed martial arts fights.

Dana White, UFC president, issued a statement Friday emphasizing Ratner's experience in writing and enforcing regulations covering "combat sports."

Ratner helped write state rules that in 2001 let the UFC begin promoting in Nevada -- a step toward legitimizing the previously no-holds-barred bouts that had drawn criticism as barbaric. Ratner also worked with the Association of Boxing Commissions to develop standards and rules that now govern UFC events.

Ratner will deal with other state athletic commissions in his new role.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press