I wouldn't have known it by watching two over-muscled and under-clothed men pummel each other senseless, in a cage no less, but mixed martial arts has rules. Surprising, too, that one of the rules is that you can't have too much testosterone in your system. I learned these things from an article that appeared in the Austin American-Statesman on Saturday that explored Texas regulation of professional fighting. Case in point: In 2010, the state OK'd a 2010 bout between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito at Cowboys Stadium shortly after California and Nevada barred Margarito from the ring because plaster inserts had been discovered in his gloves at a recent fight.
The bulk of the article, however, focuses on Irving-based doctor Hector Oscar Molina. Molina admitted at an April hearing in Nevada that he had injected Dutch fighter Alistair Overeem with a four-drug cocktail, including testosterone, in the run-up to May's Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight title. Regulators, after finding that Overeem's testosterone levels were four times what they should have been, suspended Overeem for nine months while Molina returned to Texas.
You might think that injecting an athlete with a banned drug would have some impact on Molina's ability to practice medicine, but it hasn't.
Leigh Hopper, a spokeswoman for the Texas Medical Board, "said her agency, like the licensing and regulation department, opens investigations into physician misbehavior after receiving a complaint," according to the Statesman. "'I wish Nevada had contacted us about this,' she said. 'This is the type of thing we would look into.'"
Hopper said this morning that she didn't mean to sound quite so daft. "What I meant was ... How would we find out [about the Overeem case] with its just being out there."
The agency did look into complaints that Molina was illegally selling prescription drugs over the Internet in 2004, fining him $25,000 and barring him from prescribing things such as morphine, codeine, Vicodin and anabolic steroids.
It is also looking into complaints that Molina, not a board-certified surgeon, botched a Brazilian butt lift and other cosmetic procedures.
The Texas Medical Board found that he performed liposuction on a patient he had previously deemed unfit for the procedure. Also, "the board found Dr. Molina's entire knowledge of the procedure consisted of reading a book provided by the manufacturer of the liposuction equipment, completing an online program over two weeks, passing an online exam and completing one procedure."
Molina agreed to stop performing plastic surgery, but one question remains unanswered: How is this man still able to practice medicine?
Hopper, the TMB spokeswoman, said that he may not for very much longer. The settlement in which Molina agreed to stop performing cosmetic procedures does not close the board's case on the botched plastic surgery. It may well decide he's no longer fit to practice, at which point his case would be referred to the State Office of Administrative Hearings. If the punishment is less severe, like the suspension of clinical privileges, a decision is made by the TMB itself.
"Sometimes I think the implication is when somebody has a previous disciplinary history with us and they go on to do even more stuff, retrospectively it's like, 'Didn't we see the signs of this?'" Hopper said. "[But] we only prosecute what's before us. The things that he got in trouble with before [selling prescription drugs over the Internet] give no indication he would acquire liposuction machinery and start doing this to people."