Lacey Township featherweight Jeff Lentz came up just short of winning another championship late Saturday night.
Lentz, 24, suffered a split decision defeat to 29-year-old Scott Heckman, of Whippany, in a Cage Fury Fighting Championships title bout at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.
Judges Sue Sanidad (50-45) and Vincent Sinclair (48-47) both scored the fight for Heckman (17-4). Jose Tabora, who owns Bullpen Vale Tudo (48-47) in Egg Harbor Township, favored Lentz (9-3-1).
Lentz was vying for a CFFC belt a year after winning a regional title for Ring of Combat. The resident of the Lanoka Harbor of Lacey Township also owns a 2-0 record as a professional boxer.
There was also some controversy during CFFC 31 at Borgata's Event Center, according to a post-fight report filed by New Jersey Athletic Control Board official Nicholas Lembo.
Joey Rivera won a welterweight bout over Christian Leonard via rear naked choke in the first round, but the NJACB suspended Rivera for one year for "failure to submit to postfight drug testing and leaving the dressing room." Two members of Leonard's team, Perry Gibson and Nelson Tuckwiller, were both also suspended for a year for the use banned substances in the corner.
"All fighters are required to take a post-fight urine exam that tests for performance enhancing drugs, masking agents, diuretics, street drugs and prescription drugs," Lembo, a deputy attorney general, who supervises mixed martial arts events with Control Board commissioner Aaron Davis, said Sunday in a phone interview.
Lembo explained that Rivera was unable to produce a urine sample immediately after the fight, so the testing supervisor supplied him with bottles of water while stressing that he was not allowed to leave the dressing room. Rivera told the supervisor he understood, but left the area anyway and did not return.
Rivera (8-1) had fought in New Jersey twice before, so was aware of the rules. Saturday's bout was his first since 2011, however.
Before all fights, officials with the NJACB examined both the fighers and cornermen during the walkout from the dressing room to the cage. When they checked the pockets of Gibson and Tuckwiller, officials found Lidocaine, ammonia capsules and menthol packets. All those items are on the banned substances list.
"All of the materials were unopened and they were confiscated before the fight, so we allowed the bout to be held," Lembo said.
Leonard (5-5), a 19-year-old from Virginia, was fighting in Atlantic City for the second time in less than a year.