Athletic commission explains why it refused to investigate toothpick controversy from UFC on FOX 5

USA TODAY Sports

Ben Henderson may have been competing with a toothpick in his mouth during the UFC on FOX 5 main event last Saturday night in Seattle, but the Washington State Department of Licensing isn't going to do anything about it. Here's why.

Controversy? What controversy?

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight Champion Ben Henderson was the talk of the town last Saturday night (Dec. 8, 2012) following his five round unanimous decision win at the UFC on FOX 5 event held at the KeyArena in Seattle, Washington.

But it wasn't because he put the screws to Nate Diaz.

Instead, the message boards were ablaze because "Bendo" was apparently competing with a toothpick in his mouth, which suggests he was either paying homage to Lt. Marion Cobretti, or chowing down on baby back ribs in between rounds.

Either way, a sharp, pointy object poses a safety risk to him, as well as his opponent.

On the surface, Henderson's decision to bring a foreign object into the cage would be eligible for review by the Washington State Department of Licensing; however, the department has closed the book on "toothpickgate" because it doesn't have a specific rule to address it.

Yes, really.

I guess the rule going forward is if it's not listed in the commission's handbook, it's fair play.

You know what might help in a situation like this? Having someone, perhaps a referee, stand just outside the cage to frisk the fighters before they enter the Octagon, while also checking their shorts, mouths and hair for any foreign objects.

Oh wait, they already do.

Henderson's toothpick had no effect on the outcome of the fight and it's unlikely an investigation would have done anything to change the outcome; however, it's not unreasonable to believe "Smooth" could have faced some sort of penalty for his wanton disregard for safety.

Not a good look.

How about it Maniacs, is this another example of a commission falling down on the job? Or is this "controversy," like Henderson's head trainer suggests, much ado about nothing?

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