Adrienne Simmons Deserves Justice
By Mike LNg
In the past week much has been written about Adrienne Simmons passing; some of it accurate, some of it quite a bit less than accurate and quite a bit of it consisting of heavy hyperbole. The International Kickboxing Federation (IKF) has finally responded in what can best be called damage control. When I decided I needed to take on this topic I was reluctant to say anything more than what I had already written. The reasons for this reluctance are many:
- The facts are emerging and should serve to tell the story on their own to anyone who pays attention.
- This event is being used as leverage for organizations already for their assorted personal agendas that I regard as at minimum inappropriate at maximum completely devoid of moral basis.
- In general the main stream press has done little in the way of due diligence to find the facts and report them accordingly.
- Too often people use a person’s death to attack their character post-mortem or in general talk inappropriately about the person with a lack of respect, a practice that frankly revolts me utterly.
- Lyndsay Scheer and her coach Eric Haycraft have made their separate statements about this event.
There is however a point that I want to make clear to any readers of my blog. The truth will become transparent to everyone whether by willing organizational transparency or by investigation as required by law. Personally, I think it will be ultimately the latter. I’ve made no shortcuts in reporting and commentating on events in Muay Thai that are controversial and I will continue not to. But truth be said I wish there was no need for it at all. However, its been proven that in some degree Muay Thai cannot police itself. Adrienne Simmons needs and deserves justice.
Could IKF have elected to have an ambulance on site? In a prepared statement on IKF’s site they said the following in regards to a lack of an ambulance on site.
There was no ambulance at the event.
The State of Florida Athletic Commission’s rule for all amateur kickboxing / muay thai events is that if there is a hospital within 5 miles of the event venue, no ambulance is required. This rule is followed by all amateur sanctioning bodies in the state of Florida which include ISKA, USMTA and other Florida approved amateur kickboxing and or muay thai sanctioning bodies. This was not just a decision made by the IKF.
In nearly all USA States, an ambulance is required to be parked at an event for Pro and Amateur MMA & Pro Kickboxing. However, nearly all State Athletic and Boxing commissions do not require an ambulance present for amateur Kickboxing and even USA Boxing does not require an ambulance present for amateur boxing events.
IKF wanted an ambulance for the 2 full days (8:30 AM to 6:+ PM) but was informed that since the event was so close to a hospital that there was no need to take an ambulance out of rotation service to be parked at the event. Instead, the general medical necessities were present at ringside such as oxygen and other medical gear.
There are other statements regarding medical treatment and I have no doubt the doctors were qualified general practitioners but were not prepared to treat the trauma Adrienne Simmons had experienced. By IKF’s own account a call was made to 911 to airlift Adrienne to the hospital where she died. While IKF is insistent that it did not take an hour for Adrienne Simmons to arrive at the hospital they never clarified the amount of time it really did take for Adrienne to arrive at the hospital.
I have been a part of tiny smokers with less than 70 people in the audience and 4 fights and there was always an ambulance on site. While IKF accurately states that most of the time it isn’t required, I will say most of the time an ambulance is on site by choice in the largest events and smallest events of Muay Thai I have attended. Why wasn’t it on site for the biggest amateur event for kickboxing and Muay Thai in the United States? Especially with amateurs competing, one courts disaster without it. And especially with well over 200 fighters present? Meeting requirements of a state commission is one thing but perhaps exceeding the requirements may have made the difference. In every amateur event I have seen this requirement was exceeded.
The scrutiny is increasing on Muay Thai in the United States and for good reason. Have no doubt the antics typical of alarmists willing and ready to hang Muay Thai as a barbaric and cruel sport are standing by to damage Muay Thai further. On the other end there have been efforts to build fiefdoms on Muay Thai’s amateur fighters under a smoke screen of regulation. I have no doubt this event will be cheaply used as leverage towards further personal kingdom building by people who should know better. The state of California and everyone in Muay Thai there, consider this your early notice: its coming.
There are some that believe a low quality event can be marketed into relevance or that Muay Thai can be marketed into something worth attention. There are some that believe you can only move forward when our own integrity in Muay Thai is intact. Things are in motion now both for professional and amateur fighters and these sides are going to be easier to identify. The coming months will prove where United States Muay Thai stands in whatever makes up our community. I’ve often said it but it bears repeating: The only people that can change Muay Thai for the better are the people in it. When this stops being a slogan and becomes a belief we all share maybe some more good can come forward and Muay Thai can begin policing itself correctly and become something the general public pays attention to.
Questions still remain following Adrienne’s tragic death. Was a representative present for the Florida State Athletic Commission? And if not, why? If so what was their take on the proceedings of the IKF tournament? Answers in the coming days will follow I am sure but at what a terrible cost.
Adrienne Simmons was a positive force for Muay Thai. She represented the best of us and embodied a competitive and positive spirit for the sport. Adrienne never quit and always believed that the best in people can be developed. Adrienne said as much on her own site regarding her career choice as an educator. Please remember Adrienne when you make your own choices in the sport.
I do think on a positive note, change will be implemented across the board for the better because of this. But I cannot help but ask myself: ”‘Did someone really have to die for it?” Please remember and be sensitive to the personal struggles of all parties involved including Lyndsay Scheer, Eric Haycraft, Chike Andjua, and all in Adrienne’s family and friends. And please support Adrienne’s fund that will go towards her family and help cover their costs.
Thanks for reading.