In a bit of shocking news, Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) executive director Keith Kizer has abruptly resigned today. After an eventful and at times, controversial career, Kizer told the Las Vegas Review Journal that he is simply ready to return to his original profession of being a lawyer, taking a job with the attorney general’s office:

“I’ve enjoyed my time with the commission, but it’s time to move on,” Kizer said. “It’s time to go back to being an attorney. When they asked me to serve in 2006, it was with the idea of a five-year commitment. So I stayed a little longer, and I leave with no hard feelings.”

It was confirmed that Kizer was not forced out of his position, and NAC chairman Francisco Aguilar spoke about his surprise at Kizer’s decision:

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“I was surprised,” Aguilar said. “I won’t deny there were some challenges, and we were working together to address those challenges. But I can assure you Keith was not pressured into his decision.”

Kizer lead Nevada into great success in MMA, as nine of the top 10 gates in state history were during his tenure. He also did much to increase drug testing standards for performance-enhancing drugs in MMA.

But the former director also underwent a ton of criticism for his handling of the highly controversial Timothy Bradley vs. Manny Pacquiao boxing match in 2012. All told, his selection of boing and MMA judges was under constant fire due to several debatable decisions.

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It was a up-and-down stint for Kizer that saw a great many successes followed by a number of questionable moments.

Kizer stepped down professionally. Now the search for a new executive director begins. The NAC has said they will be conducting a nationwide search for his replacement. What can the new director do to clean up all the controversy in judging?

Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea for USA TODAY Sports