At a press conference on Thursday promoting the upcoming CES 56 event, CES founder and CEO Jimmy Burchfield Sr. made a series of controversial statements about Bruce Boyington (16-11), the promotion’s featherweight champion, that has drawn the ire of Boyington’s team, family, and many on social media.
Boyington, 40, is scheduled to defend his featherweight title in the main event of CES 56 against Dan Dubuque (8-2). The champion was not present at the event’s press conference, which seemed to irritate Burchfield.
According to Boyington’s wife, Randi Beth, the reason for Boyington’s absence from the press conference was due to the fact that the event was being held at a venue five hours from their home, as well as the late notice Boyington received for the event.
“Jimmy [Burchfield Sr.] holds a press conference 5 hours from where we live. Bruce received notice of this as this was being set up… and was asked for a quote (which he respectfully gave),” Boyington wrote in a Facebook post.
Burchfield, 78, was in the process of promoting the title fight as per usual, but things quickly turned sour when the longtime boxing promoter began to share Boyington’s quotes about the fight in absentia.
Burchfield prefaced the reading of Boyington’s quotes by telling Dubuque, “I have some quotes from your opponent, okay? Now, I’m gonna read them to you. I’m gonna read them to you, and I’m not gonna leave nothing out; I’m gonna say what he says.”
At this point, Burchfield’s evident distaste for Boyington became clear to those in attendance.
“If he thought so much, he would have got his butt over here and been here like a man, but he isn’t, okay? I don’t know how much of a man he is. I could get in trouble for this,” said Burchfield.
Boyington, a twenty-seven fight veteran as a mixed martial artist, is also a veteran of the U.S. military, having served in the Marine Corps.
Matt Peterson, the owner of the New England Fights (NEF) promotion, in which Boyington had fought numerous times, weighed in on the matter on Facebook:
“Furthermore, I find it especially difficult to swallow that anyone could call into question Bruce’s valor when he served our country as a US Marine during wartime, especially where this person acknowledged in the same diatribe that Bruce was a veteran. It’s even harder to swallow considering those comments were made on the eve of our country’s most solemn weekend,” Peterson wrote.
Following Burchfield’s slight at Boyington’s manhood, the CES founder then turned to Dubuque, Boyington’s upcoming opponent.
“I am going to be so damn happy to put that belt around you. I’m telling you, May 31. I am going to be so happy. That’s going to get me in trouble, too,” Burchfield told Dubuque to a round of tentative applause from the audience.
The blatant show of Burchfield’s favoritism towards Dubuque, or rather, his opposition to Boyington, caused a stir in the MMA community in just a short time since the press conference.
Randi Boyington, in the same Facebook post referenced above, included a video of approximately two minutes that shows the portion of the press conference in which Burchfield’s comments on Boyington were made.
CES MMA has released a statement on the matter to The Body Lock, which is included in full below:
“CES MMA has the greatest respect for Bruce as our defending champion. We are extremely excited for him to defend his hard-earned title against Dan Dubuque in the main event of CES 56. We are proud of every single fighter who steps into our cage. We apologize to Bruce Boyington and his family and we wish him and his opponent nothing but the best at CES 56.”
Burchfield’s legal trouble
This is not the first time Jimmy Burchfield Sr. has found himself in hot water, however.
Back in February, The Providence Journal reported that Burchfield was arrested following an altercation in which he is alleged to have repeatedly struck a boxer, Brendan Barrett (7-3-2, 5 KOs), in the ring following Barrett’s in-ring defeat.
Barrett lost via TKO to Joe Cusumano in the pair’s match at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island, before allegedly being attacked by Burchfield.
Speaking to MYMMANews after the incident, Barrett said, “After the fight was stopped, as I’m talking to the ref, I see from the corner of my eye a fist com[ing] flying right past my face. I’m standing there saying, ‘What the heck was that?’ It turned out to be a guy named Rich Cappiello, who then stumbles and falls down the steps to the ring.
Then the promoter, Jimmy Burchfield Sr., was standing right in front of me and cocks back and punches me straight in the mouth. I’m standing there saying, ‘What are you doing?’ He cocks back and hits me again. Now I’m really confused, and he cocks back and hits me a third time before people finally came over there and broke it up, and now this guy Rich comes back and swings at me again. At this point, the place is just insane. I can’t even describe this feeling. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.”
According to court records accessed by The Body Lock, Burchfield’s arrest was officially for a misdemeanor count of “simple assault and/or battery”.
Burchfield pleaded not guilty shortly after the filing of the criminal complaint.
The case is still open, and Burchfield’s trial is set to commence next month on June 17, according to court records.
Video of the alleged incident can be seen below:
Michael Fiedel is The Body Lock's deputy editor, a staff writer for FloCombat, and a Russell-Rice scholarship recipient at Vanderbilt University.