After a brief investigation, Brandon Saling's license has been revoked by the Ohio Athletic Commission and New Jersey State Athletic Control Board.
OAC executive director Bernie Profato told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) that Saling (8-6 MMA, 0-1 SF) violated administrative statutes when he lied about his criminal background on an application for a fight license.
Saling can appeal the ruling at a OAC hearing planned for April 11.
"There's a dual thing there," Profato said. "He'll have to answer to the falsification, and two, if you read the law, it says they don't have to license you for a felony. Now, it will be whether they ever license him again because of being listed as a sexual predator."
Saling's status as a sex offender and felon came to light when he fought Roger Bowling (11-2 MMA, 4-2 SF) at this past weekend's "Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey." (He lost via second-round TKO.) Following the event, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said he wasn't aware of Saling's background and told reporters the OAC would launch a "full investigation" into the matter.
Profato said Saling marked "no" on the part of his application for a license that asks about previous convictions beyond traffic offenses. The fighter was sent notice this morning that his license had been revoked. The administrative action will be noted on a national database that tracks administrative and medical suspensions of fighters.
If Saling is unsuccessful in appealing the revocation, he must wait a year before he is eligible to reapply for a license in Ohio. Other commissions are not required to honor his administrative suspension, though they often do.
Fighters who seek a license are required to disclose their criminal past in several states that sanction MMA. But the sheer volume of licensees make it difficult to catch discrepancies such as in the case of Saling.
"I've got 4,000 fighters," he said. "I'm going to look at them, and if we catch something – I'm not saying we wouldn't have missed this. But once it's brought to your attention, you would take action.
"If it's homicide or sexual predator, or if you're applying for a promoter's license and it's fraud, or theft in office, you probably aren't going to get licensed."
Saling, who bears a tattoo of his nickname, "White Steel," declined comment when contacted today by MMAjunkie.com. He carries an 8-6 record and hadn't fought for Strikeforce prior to Saturday. He fought twice for the Ohio-based NAAFS promotion in January and February, winning both professional bouts.
Coker declined comment on today's ruling.