BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's fight commissioner has suspended an Iowa boxer for allegedly taking a dive 13 seconds into a bout against former Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards.
Al Jaeger, the secretary of state and overseer of combative sports events in North Dakota, said it's clear from video of Saturday's fight that Nicholas Capes wasn't hit before he dropped to the canvas soon after the opening bell.
"As we move ahead, we'll take appropriate action as the investigation review unfolds," Jaeger told The Forum.
Event promoter Cory Rapacz said Capes — a cruiserweight — was a last-minute replacement for a couple of no-show boxers and didn't realize what he was getting into before stepping into the ring with the much larger Edwards, who fights as a heavyweight.
"I feel terrible for him," Rapacz told WDAY-TV. "(Capes) got scared and looked for a way out."
Edwards was a fourth-round draft choice of the Vikings in 2006. He had nearly 30 sacks in five seasons with the team, and signed as a free agent with the Falcons in July 2011. The team released him last November.
Rapacz told KVLY-TV officials expected Capes to try, but he said the backlash against the boxer is unfair. A telephone listing for Capes in Cedar Falls, Iowa, could not immediately be found.
The event also included a victory by heavyweight Aaron Green, a former North Dakota State basketball player, and an appearance by former world champion Virgil Hill, a North Dakota native, Rapacz told The Forum.
The incident angered some fans, including Bryan Domholt.
"Tickets were 50 bucks apiece. That's a lot of money to spend on a fake sanctioned event," he said.