Andy Foster is the California State Athletic Commission executive director. Previously, he 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 he joined us as a panelist for “What Does Boxing Owe Its Champions?,” a Zócalo program, presented in partnership with UCLA College, Division of Social Sciences and ASU Global Sport Institute, Foster joined us in the green room to chat about his love of the Outlook calendar, reading the Bible every day, and how sport offers structure.
What’s your favorite ring entrance song?
“Dreams” from the Cranberries. I don't listen to the Cranberries at all. It’s not my deal. But I was broke and needed the money for Christmas for my girlfriend, who now is my wife. This was back in the year 2000. And so there was this fight in London, Kentucky, and I went up there. And on the route over, that song just happened to come on the radio. And that was a good sign for me, because I was almost there. I won and I got some gas to go home. I remember that every time the song comes on the radio.
Did you play sports as a kid?
Yeah, I played them all. I did the football—I didn't like the football, but I did it. I did the tennis, but I just did the tennis because of the girls, because you could play doubles with girls. I played track and field—I threw the shotput, I threw the discus. I did a lot of things. But I liked wrestling the most.
What about wrestling connected with you?
I liked individual sports. I didn’t want to be on a team. I just wanted to do it myself.
What has being an MMA commissioner taught you about how to fight fair in life?
You should follow the rules. The rules are designed to protect you. The policies are there for everybody. As far as relating this to life, all of this stuff provides structure for a lot of young men and women who are interested in doing something that’s not considered the norm or the mainstream. But there’s a whole segment of society that benefits from these sports. And so I try to keep them as safe as I can.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I do jujitsu, and I box. That’s what I do. I've loved it a long time. I met my wife in the dojo. I proposed in the dojo. My whole life has just revolved around these sports and the martial arts.
What’s one good piece you received growing up?
Don't quit. One of my coaches told me that. You’ve just got to stick with it. If you stick with something, even when it’s bad—because nothing’s going to be easy—but if you stick with stuff, and you stick with it a lot, and you try your best, eventually, somebody's gonna pay attention. And sometimes, timing is everything.
What’s the last book you read that you loved?
I read the Bible every day. I try to read it either first thing in the morning or the last thing before I go to bed just to kind of clear my mind.
What’s the last passage you read?
I read Psalm 1 this morning. Just to try to read something nice. That’s “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners…” You know, I could recite the whole thing.
Do you have any other daily rituals?
Yeah, I’m kind of structured like that. I like schedules. My job takes me in a lot of different directions, so I have to kind of schedule different things so I will have time to be able to do them all.
Do you have a good planner to recommend for us?
Just use the good ol’ Outlook calendar.
What’s the last thing that made you laugh?
The Office. It was the episode where Dwight is trying to get promoted and he jumps on burning coals and says “give me the job, give me the job!” And then he falls down. It’s just so funny.
Do you have a favorite character on The Office or a character you most identify with, and why?
I identify the most with Michael Scott. I sit there and I notice things that he does. I'm like, this is so bad; I’m just like this guy. I've got to stop.