- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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The Nevada State Athletic Commission on Friday named Robert Bennett the agency's new executive director.
Bennett, one of three finalists from a field that began with more than 300 applicants, is replacing longtime executive director Keith Kizer, who resigned in January after eight years on the job.
The five-person Nevada commission selected Bennett with a unanimous vote at Friday's commission meeting in Las Vegas.
Bennett, 60, of Las Vegas, will be responsible for the day-to-day oversight of all combat sports activity in Nevada, including boxing, mixed martial arts and kickboxing. It is a high-profile position given all of the major fights that take place in Nevada, mainly in Las Vegas. Many regard it as the most important commission in the United States and perhaps the world.
"As a commission, we believe that Robert will continue to ensure and protect the integrity of unarmed combat in the state of Nevada," commission chairman Francisco Aguilar said. "He appreciates and respects the sanctity of professional fighting and will be an asset to the commission."
Bennett, a retired FBI special agent and Marine Corps captain, has extensive experience with combat sports. He has served as a professional boxing judge for the Nevada commission for about two years, and has judged approximately 68 professional fights and shadow judged an additional 46, according to the commission.
Bennett also served as court security director for Clark County's Eighth Judicial District in Nevada, where he was responsible for managing a budget of more than $10 million.
Bennett, along with the three other finalists, went through formal interviews in front of the commission Saturday.
Bennett beat out Michael Martino, an inspector for the Nevada commission; Jeffrey C. Mullen, the executive director of the Tennessee commission; and Andy Foster, the executive officer of the California State Athletic Commission, although Foster removed himself from the running earlier in the week.
The position pays up to $97,901 annually.
10hMalik Smith, ESPN Stats & Information