LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Kirk Hendrick, a Las Vegas attorney who served as chief operating officer of the UFC, will be the next chair of the state Gaming Control Board.

Gov. Joe Lombardo announced Hendrick’s appointment Wednesday in a news release.

Lombardo said Hendrick’s “sharp business acumen, outstanding legal background and passion for Nevada gaming” will allow him to excel in a critical leadership role.

In addition to a nearly 10-year stint guiding the legal affairs of UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), Hendrick worked for state Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa in the agency’s gaming division. He also was Senior Deputy Attorney General for the gaming division’s Las Vegas office, before becoming chief deputy for the statewide gaming division. Hendrick also served as the legal counsel for the Nevada Athletic Commission.

He returned to private practice in 2001, focusing on gaming and sports law, primarily boxing and mixed martial arts. Hendrick then went on to join the UFC as general counsel and later became chief operating officer for the company. After leaving the UFC, he founded Hendrick Sports & Entertainment in March 2019.

Hendrick is a 1983 graduate of Chaparral High School and 1988 graduate of UNLV. Hendrick received his Juris Doctorate in 1991 from the California Western School of Law in San Diego.

Hendrick’s four-year appointment is expected to start at the end of January. He replaces Brittnie Watkins. She has been the board’s acting chairwoman since Nov. 21 after the departure of Brin Gibson. Watkins has two years left on her term with the board.