The rich get richer. As all gyms, fight promoters, and fighters struggle to stay afloat during this pandemic, it has come to our attention that Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and the Office for Administration & Finance has taken $100,000 from a charity fund that has been established to financially help injured combatants within the state. Not only was 40% of the total amount of the fund taken from the account under Governor Baker's emergency order, but this all happened as Massachusetts legislators were approved a 6.5% wage increase for 2021.
The Boxer's Fund was established as an effort to financially help fighters in the state to pay for costs that are associated with an injury that they received while competing in a Massachusetts State Athletic Commission (MSAC) sanctioned event. It's purpose is to financially support a combatant who received a long term injury during competition that was overseen by the MSAC. The funds can be used for medical bills, house modifications, lost income...whatever the fighter needs it for. They obviously have to go through an application process and be approved by the MSAC for the funds though. The intent of the Boxer's Fund is to help these combatants when they need it most, and it is something that every state athletic commission should have written into their bylaws.
The fund is contributed to by ticket sales at events and other application fees that are generated when an MSAC event is held in Massachusetts. 1% of all revenues brought in by MSAC for an event get deposited into the fund. Before the account was looted by the Office for Administration & Finance there was $239,231.65 in the account, according to sources close to all parties. After taking their "cut" of $100,000 (40% of the fund's balance), the fund is now left with less than $150,000. The total amount held within the account is important, because when a former combatant requests assistance through the fund their benefits are limited to 5% of the total fund amount. This state directed debit of funds directly affects the amount that any beneficiary can now receive moving forward.
(You can see the details of the fund within this link: https://www.mass.gov/doc/529-cmr-2-administration-of-the-fund/download )
Not only was the fund pilfered by Governor Baker and the Office for Administration & Finance, but it came at a very precarious time, as "The Almighty" approved a 6.5% pay increase for the Massachusetts legislature this week. So what you're telling me is that a charity fund setup to help injured fighters was stolen from at the same time that these same lawmakers received hefty pay increases? Yes, that's exactly what I'm telling you.
I spoke with an anonymous source, we'll call them "Super Deep Throat", or "SDT" for short, and they said that no one was made aware that this large debit would be occurring from the account until the Office for Administration & Finance just took it. SDT confirmed the transactional amounts, as well as the authoritative nature in which the funds were debited from the Boxer's Fund. There was no prior discussion. No warning that the funds would be pilfered. It happened overnight in the cover of darkness.
I also was able to connect with Bryan Lambert, one of the four commissioners who oversees combat sports in the state of Massachusetts. Commissioner Lambert said, "We only recently learned of the $100k being withdrawn from the fund by the office of A & F. It was very upsetting since that fund is solely dedicated to help fighters in need. MSAC is trying to better promote the fund since now more than ever fighters need help."
Lambert also confirmed that one of their major agenda items for the MSAC this year was to better promote the fund, and create awareness so fighters dealing with long-term injuries could access it. Those plans have obviously been hampered, as state legislators' pay seems to have more importance.
They were able to take the funds because the Office for Administration & Finance has the authority to take unused monies from state departments at their discretion. They have been much more aggressive in this practice recently under the direction of Governor Baker, as the state has fallen on hard times due to decreased tax revenue, which can be directly attributed to the covid regulations that Baker and his administration has handed down. The MSAC falls under the jurisdiction of the Division of Professional Licensing (DPL), and it has been confirmed that all parties in the DPL and MSAC are extremely concerned about this action.
So let's wrap this all up with a bow, shall we? A fund was created to financially help fighters when they sustained injury while competing under the watchful eye of the state. Said fund had $239k+ in it's account a few weeks ago, and these funds were generated by fighters, promoters, and fans over the last several years. The state government falls on hard times because of THEIR regulations, and then they feel it's appropriate to steal money from a fund that is setup to help fighters in need. These are the same fighters who put their lives on the line and paid application fees to the state in order to compete. Now the state has the power to take money from this fund, because they aren't bringing in the revenue they used to with all of the covid regulations that they have put in place. Then the state decides to ransack the fund in order to give themselves a 6.5% pay increase.
This doesn't seem like real life, but unfortunately it is. I've reached out to the Office for Administration & Finance, but they have not returned my calls or emails for comment. This whole situation is extremely concerning on many levels, but I don't expect to hear back from the state on their position on all of this, unfortunately.
If you are a fighter residing in Massachusetts, and have long-term injuries received while competing in a MSAC sanctioned event, we urge you to reach out to the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission below, and speak with them about receiving funds that you are eligible for due to your injuries.