Following a months-long investigation into a fight that left boxer Prichard Colon in a coma, the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation determined there was no wrongdoing on the part of organizers of the Oct. 17 event at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax.
The DPOR, which oversees licensing and regulation for a wide range of events and businesses in Virginia, including boxing, wrestling and mixed martial arts, announced its findings Tuesday.
Colon, 23, remains in a coma at Shepherd Center, a hospital in Atlanta specializing in spinal cord injury, brain trauma and other neuromuscular conditions, five months after his ninth-round disqualification loss to American Terrel Williams. The 154-pound Puerto Rican was transferred there after receiving initial treatment at Inova Fairfax Hospital.
The bout was part of the undercard to District junior welterweight Lamont Peterson’s victory by majority decision over Felix Diaz.
According to the DPOR statement, “No one action [or failure to act] can be identified that is so apparent or egregious to justify holding accountable any one person.”
The statement included results of a report from Nick Christner, the DPOR deputy director who oversees the agency’s regulatory programs and compliance section responsible for all investigations.
The statement continued, “When there’s a terrible outcome, it’s only natural to want to find someone or something to blame. Strong feelings can generate healthy debate, but our judgment as a regulatory body cannot rest on subjectivity or matters outside our legal jurisdiction.”
Fight promoter Lou DiBella was not immediately available to comment on the report, nor was a representative from Colon’s camp.
Among those deemed in compliance with DPOR regulations, according to the report, were referee Joe Cooper and ringside physician Richard Ashby.
Colon first motioned to Cooper he was getting hit in the back of the head — an illegal tactic called a rabbit punch — late in Round 1.
Early in Round 7, Colon fell to his knees holding the back of his head with his right hand, then dropped to all fours, putting both gloves behind his head. Colon eventually stumbled to his feet.
At that point, Ashby examined Colon and determined he was well enough to continue. Cooper deducted a point from Williams for an illegal punch.
Colon began to experience dizziness and vomiting while in his dressing room after exiting the ring. Emergency medical technicians attended to Colon immediately, and he was transported to the hospital with his condition deteriorating.
Colon (16-1, 13 knockouts) has undergone multiple procedures since arriving at Shepherd Center, according to updates from his official Facebook page, with the most recent coming Feb. 17.
Colon was disqualified when his corner left his gloves untied ahead of the 10th round, mistakenly thinking the fight was over.