A memo released by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations Detachment 602 at Andersen Air Force Base continues to have ramifications in the mixed martial arts community. (See “Mixed messages” in the Jan. 9 edition of the Journal.) The Guam Homeland Security Office of Civil Defense was listed as one of the sponsors for the MMA event Pacific X-treme Combat that was held Jan. 13 at the University of Guam Field House but removed its name as a sponsor before the event took place.
Frank Blas Jr. Homeland Security advisor for Guam told the Journal that Civil Defense did not pay to sponsor the event. Civil Defense has a contract with KUAM for public service announcements and its name was added to the list of sponsors of the event for free as an added value to the department’s contract with KUAM.
Prior to the event Blas said that Civil Defense had received calls from people with concerns that people claiming to be members of fight clubs were getting into altercations. “Some of the people who called in did mention the memo and recent news reports but the only report that I was aware of was in your publication (the ).”
“Civil Defense did not want to give off the perception that it condoned what was taking place so it decided to pull its name from sponsorship ” Blas said. “Even though we pulled our sponsorship the promoters of the event recognized the opportunity the event offered to pass out information so they decided to still run the ads and Civil Defense appreciated it.”
As previously reported the memo contained information that suggested that MMA groups and individuals were committing deliberate assaults against military personnel in Tumon. The memo indicated the Guam Police Department was the source of the information. The chief of police denied GPD’s involvement in providing the information the memo contained. The Air Force told the that the memo was formulated because of a “miscommunication.”
The Journal asked Andersen whether a second memo correcting the first OSI memo had been issued but had not received a response as of press time.
Blas told the Journal that the actions Civil Defense took had some positive effects. “There were some fruitful discussions with the (fight) clubs and while no one admitted to getting into fights they recognized that it might be a problem.”
Roman R. Dela Cruz representative for Fökai Industries and member of Spike22/Purebred Academy said the pulling of the sponsorship had a greater effect on the event than on the fighters. He told the Journal “I don’t think it distracted the fighters from their training. A lot of them were focused on letting the island know that it’s a positive sport. I don’t think the fighters paid too much attention to it.”
Since its article was published the Journal has verified that the U.S. Coast Guard and Navy had not officially seen the memo. Petty Officer Benjamin Keller assistant public affairs officer for the Navy; said “The Navy has not taken any new steps or implemented any new protocol because of the memo. We do tell our people to be vigilant and to go out in groups.” Ensign Mitchakima Banks public affairs officer for the Coast Guard said the Coast Guard was unaware of any altercations but also continue to tell its personnel to use caution with everything that they do and to be aware.
Dela Cruz said he had seen and heard a lot of positive feedback since the article was published. “It has brought the situation to the attention of more people. The difference that I am seeing is I am getting a lot of opinions from the public and a lot of support for MMA. Even from the military. We are getting a lot of feedback from the military personnel who don’t notice anything negative from the mixed martial arts community. A lot of them are looking to get involved in training and the industry. We are looking forward to the athletic opportunities that will come with our new visitors.” MBJ