Ratner to join Ultimate Fighting Championship group

LAS VEGAS -- The longtime executive director of the Nevada
Athletic Commission said Friday that he is resigning to take an
administrative post with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Marc Ratner, 61, a former inspector for the influential Nevada
boxing oversight board and its director since 1992, called his
three-year contract with the mixed martial arts fight promoter "a
wonderful opportunity for myself and my family."

"It's the right time," Ratner said. His last day with the
athletic commission will be May 13.

Ratner said he will start May 15 as a vice president of Las
Vegas-based Zuffa LLC, owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship
and producer of televised pay-per-view mixed martial arts events.
He declined to say how much he'll be paid.

Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC owner and president of Las Vegas-based
Station Casinos Inc., did not immediately respond Friday to
requests for comment. Fertitta worked with Ratner when Fertitta
served on the Nevada Athletic Commission from 1996 to 2000.

The UFC was recently sanctioned in California, making it the
20th state to regulate mixed martial arts fights.

Dana White, UFC president, issued a statement Friday emphasizing
Ratner's experience in writing and enforcing regulations covering
"combat sports."

Ratner helped write state rules that in 2001 let the UFC begin
promoting in Nevada -- a step toward legitimizing the previously
no-holds-barred bouts that had drawn criticism as barbaric. Ratner
also worked with the Association of Boxing Commissions to develop
standards and rules that now govern UFC events.

Ratner will deal with other state athletic commissions in his new role.