Roy Nelson Makes a Bid to Replace Keith Kizer as Head of NSAC

Scott HarrisMMA Lead WriterJanuary 27, 2014

Jun 15, 2013; Winnipeg, MB, Canada; Roy Nelson fights Stipe Miocic (not pictured) during their Heavyweight bout at UFC 161 at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

Roy Nelson has earned a reputation as a joker. But on Monday, word came that he has cast his hat in the ring for one of his profession's most serious positions.

The active UFC heavyweight, long known as a gadfly to MMA's power brokers, recently applied to be the executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. With so many events occurring in Las Vegas, leading the state's regulatory body is one of the most influential and challenging jobs in combat sports.

Nelson's application for the position went public Monday in a report from Steph Daniels of Bloody ElbowEarlier in January, Keith Kizer stepped down after nearly eight years in the position.

Though Nelson is known for a light-hearted personality, the Las Vegas native's comments seemed to hint that this bid is genuine.

"This is my hometown, it's where I was born and raised, so I feel it's a way for me to help further the sport," Nelson said in the interview with Daniels. "...Of course I want to help get the sport cleaned up, but helping Nevada financially and bringing more revenue in is one of the primary goals I have. The others involve making sure we have better officiating and better fighter safety."

Nelson's comments allude to some of the most persistent challenges facing the sport, including topics like brain injuries and inconsistent judging and refereeing.

It is anyone's guess whether Nelson is serious about the bid. But if it is serious, it is probably fair to say Nelson would enjoy the support of the general MMA public.

A constant fan favorite as a fighter, Nelson is now 37 years old and a loser of two consecutive contests. A heavyweight with an extremely powerful right hand, Nelson (19-9) appeared flat in each of the last two fights, decision losses to Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier.