Bath Beach, Brooklyn was hosting a Warriors of Wrestling/Tier 1 Wrestling show on Friday night when a surprising twist came along: a member of the New York State Athletic Commission, Robert Orlando, approached the ring and brought a stop to the match that had been advertised on flyers not only in the venue itself but around the vicinity and city for weeks: "Bonesaw" Jessie Brooks against Marc Hauss.

The problem? Jessie, a woman, was allegedly not allowed to be wrestling Marc Hauss, a man.

Kris Levin, referee of the match, immediately grabbed a microphone and drew attention to what was going on, declaring it an act of sexism. Levin, a mainstay of independent wrestling not just in the Northeast, but in various promotions across the country--including helping to run a women's wrestling organization called VALKYRIE in New York and New Jersey--has been outspoken since the event, drawing attention to the declaration of inter-gender wrestling being illegal by Robert Orlando (by the way, it's not actually illegal).

Those familiar with the nature of professional wrestling are most likely wondering if this was part of the show, but as you can see from the video of the incident, it seems quite real:

Referee Kris Levin and promoter of Tier 1 Wrestling, Dennis Long, pressed Orlando on the issue, who stated that, because the rulebook stipulated conditions for both wrestling and boxing events, the rules stated about no men and women boxing one another must count toward wrestling as well, despite specifically only declaring an issue with inter-gender boxing.

Fans of professional wrestling know that the hard work of female wrestlers is finally starting to pay dividends, with the WWE increasingly featuring women's wrestlers (generally competing against one another, not inter-gender matches) as a major element in its product. This year, the WWE changed the title of the women's champion from a bizarre butterfly-designed "Divas" title to a championship similar in nature to their heavyweight championship, a significant indicator that they are taking women in the industry seriously.

On a personal note, I should mention that Kris Levin, the referee in this story, served as a referee at the Global Force Wrestling event at which I served as special guest referee at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in January. Not only did he help teach me how not to completely screw things up out there, he actually let me borrow one of his referee shirts. You can relive that magic here: