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California State Athletic Commission Members
Chair: John Frierson
Commissioner: Dr. Christopher Giza
Commissioner: Dr. VanBuren Ross Lemons
Commissioner: Dean Grafilo
Commissioner: Mary Lehman
Commissioner: Martha Shen-Uquirdez
Executive Officer: Andy Foster
Chairman Frierson has been a member of the Athletic Commission since 2001. A 26 year veteran of the Los Angeles Police and Sheriff's Departments, he served as Senior Traffic Supervisor for the Police Department for 17 years. He's been a member of the Los Angeles Transportation Commission since 2001, and is currently its Vice President. Chairman Frierson is an Executive Board Member of the California Democratic Party and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention from 1976 through 2000. He's also the recipient of numerous Community Services Awards from both the City of Los Angeles and the California State Assembly.
Dr. Christopher Giza is an Associate Professor of Pediatric Neurology and Neurosurgery, and is also on the faculty of the Interdepartmental Programs for Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1986 and received his M.D. from the West Virginia University School of Medicine in 1990. After interning at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Giza completed his residency training in Adult Neurology and a fellowship in Pediatric Neurology at UCLA. After two summers working on the Yosemite National Park Search and Rescue team, Dr. Giza returned to UCLA to study basic neuroscience as related to Neurotrauma. Dr. Giza joined the UCLA faculty in the divisions of Neurosurgery and Pediatric Neurology in 2001. His current laboratory interests include neuroplasticity, recovery from injury, concussive injury, sport-related brain injuries, and brain development. Dr. Giza runs the Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) clinic at UCLA and has served on the California State Athletic Commission since 2006
VanBuren Ross Lemons, M.D. is a board certified neurosurgeon in private practice in Northern California with a longstanding interest in traumatic injuries to the brain and spine. He graduated from the University of California, Davis, where he was awarded Summa Cum Laude distinction. While in college, Dr. Lemons competed in varsity football and wrestling. After completing medical school at the University of California, Davis, Dr. Lemons completed his postgraduate neurosurgical training at UC Davis Medical Center. He has published numerous articles on neurosurgical topics, especially traumatic injuries. Dr. Lemons has earned a black belt in Shotokan Karate and a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He has served for eighteen years as a ringside physician and consultant to the California State Athletic Commission.
Dean Grafilo is a graduate of San Francisco State University and received a Masters from the University of Washington at the Evans School of Public Affairs. He has been an Associate Director of Government Relations at the California Medical Association since 2009. He served as Chief of Staff to Assembly member Warren Furutani and as Senior Legislative Assistant to former Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico. Prior to returning to California in 2004 Grafilo was an organizer representative for Service Employees International Union Local 925 in Seattle and an organizer for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 142 in Hawaii. His continued interest in combat sports was first sparked as a Wrestler while growing up in Washington state. Grafilo is a resident of West Sacramento where he and his wife of 15 years are both raising two daughters.
Mary Lehman has been a civil appeals attorney at the Law Offices of Mary A. Lehman since 1995. She was an attorney with Gray Cary Ware and Freidenrich LLP from 1991 to 2002. She was a professional boxer from 1999 to 2002, ranking as high as number nine in the world for her weight class. Lehman earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of San Diego School of Law.
Martha Shen-Uquirdez has been CEO of USAsia since 2007. She was cross-cultural affairs expert for the Beijing Olympics Organization from 2006 to 2008, senior protocol officer with the California South Bay Economic Development Partnership from 1994 to 2001 and court appointed arbitrator at the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles from 1994 to 1999. Shen-Uquirdez was a judge pro tem for Los Angeles County from 1994 to 1998, attorney and training expert with multiple police departments in Southern California from 1989 to 2004 and an attorney in private practice from 1986 to 2005. She served as a credentialed boxing judge from 2000 to 2001. Shen-Uquirdez earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Whittier Law School.
Andy Foster became Executive Officer of the California State Athletic Commission on November 7th 2012. Previously, Mr. Foster served as Executive Director of the Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission and also as Regional Director of the Southeastern United States for the Association of Boxing Commissions. Before his appointment as a regulator, Mr. Foster served as the head mixed martial arts (MMA) referee for the Georgia Commission, officiating hundreds of bouts in both professional and amateur rule sets. Mr. Foster has also competed in professional MMA, amateur MMA, amateur boxing, amateur kickboxing, and amateur sport grappling. In addition, Mr. Foster instructed martial arts between 2002-2008 and trained many martial artists. Mr. Foster currently serves in the Association of Boxing Commissions as Chairman of the Unified Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Rules Committee, and member of the Professional Mixed Martial Arts Rules Committee, Boxing and MMA Matchmaking Committee, MMA Judging Committee, and MMA Training Committee. Mr. Foster is married to his wife of six years and they have a dog and a parrot.