In a 3-0 vote, the Ohio Athletic Commission today denied Brandon Saling's appeal of a license revocation that was handed down this past month after it was discovered he lied about his criminal background.
Saling's status as a sex offender and felon came to light when he fought Roger Bowling (11-2 MMA, 4-2 SF) at "Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey" on March 3. In 2004, a then-18-year-old Saling (8-6 MMA, 0-1 SF) was indicted in Ohio for gross sexual imposition following an incident in which he and friend had sexual relations with two underage girls. Four years later, he went to jail on a domestic violence charge.
On an application he filed prior to the Strikeforce fight, Saling marked "no" when asked about previous convictions beyond traffic offenses.
Ohio initially revoked Saling's license on March 6. He subsequently filed an appeal. Profato said a character witness testified on his behalf during today's appeal.
Strikeforce released Saling following the loss and subsequent controversy over his past. (UFC president Dana White said he'd never fight under the Zuffa umbrella again.) Now 26, the fighter admits he made grave mistakes earlier in his life, but he said he's since been trying to better himself. He also denied being a member of any white supremacist groups despite tattoos linked to Neo-Nazi culture that were visible to viewers of Strikeforce fight, which resulted in a TKO loss to welterweight Roger Bowling on the Showtime Extreme-televised preliminary card.
"Everyone thinks I'm this child predator, like I'm hiding out in the bushes being this sick [expletive] kind of person," Saling said. "That's not me by no means. The charges were because of the age difference between us. It's not like I held anyone down and made them do anything. I know what I did was wrong, and I wish I could go back, but I can't.
"I can get (my tattoos) covered up. If that's the problem with me fighting for anybody, I can get it covered up. Maybe I could change it." LINK