The world's fastest growing sport is fast becoming regulated in every State. Wyoming is the latest, and they created a board just to regulate MMA.
With the advent of Regulation, bouts held in Wyoming will not recognized by other states and on fighters' official records.
Contrary to reports in the MMA media, Wyoming is not the sole State with an MMA-only board. Maine for example abolished their Athletic Commission in 2007 as a cost saving measure, and added a body solely for the purpose of MMA regulation in 2009.
New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Montana, and Alaska are the last remaining States without an athletic commissions that sanctions MMA. In NY MMA is illegal by statute, although the law is being challenged in court. In Connecticut MMA is nowhere mentioned by name, but the State Attorney General has ruled that MMA, although nowhere named, is illegal under previous laws forbidding for example kicking in a regulated boxing match.
In Vermont and Montana, the exisiting Athletic Commission allows MMA to take place, but does not regulate it. In Alaska, there is no Athletic Commission, and MMA takes place.
The Billings Gazette has the details.
Wyoming will soon have a state-run mixed martial arts board, under Legislation signed into law Thursday by Gov. Matt Mead.
It's hoped that creating a regulatory body to oversee and regulate the fast-growing sport will lure in big-name professional MMA fights, improve safety, and chase out shady event promoters.
Until now, Wyoming has been one of six states that have no regulatory body for mixed martial arts. But promoters and fighters estimate about 20 events are held in Wyoming annually, most of which draw crowds of several hundred people.
State Rep. Bryan Pedersen, the Cheyenne Republican who introduced the legislation this year, said he's talked with MMA fighters in Cheyenne who complain that because Wyoming doesn't regulate mixed martial arts, fights that they hold in the state don't count toward their nationwide professional record.
State lawmakers have tried five times in the past decade to resurrect the office of the state boxing commissioner, who would oversee MMA. Opposition from the boxing industry KO'd those efforts.
But Pedersen successfully skirted those problems this year by having his legislation focus only on MMA.
Jerry Davis, a Cheyenne MMA trainer, said MMA regulations are sorely needed in Wyoming. Unlike other, regulated states, Davis said, fighters don't need to test for diseases like HIV and promoters don't have to provide insurance for the fighters, who sooner or later will get injured in a fight.
"It would make sure that some of these individuals in the past who were, for lack of a better term, shady wouldn't be in this industry and giving it a bad name and causing harm to those individuals who are fighting," he said in an interview last month.
And regulation could bring in higher-profile events as well. While the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the world's largest MMA promotion company, held UFC6 in Casper in 1995, the current owners don't hold fights in states where MMA isn't regulated.
Marc Ratner, the UFC's vice president of government and regulatory affairs, previously said that his company would be interested in holding a fight in Wyoming if a regulatory system was set up.
Once the legislation takes effect on July 1, Mead will appoint three members to the state MMA board, Pedersen said.
Pedersen said the board will then immediately start setting the groundwork for new rules and regulations, including working with other state-run boards such as the Colorado Boxing Commission to see how they operate.
The MMA board will be paid for by taking 5 percent of the gross receipts from each MMA fight in the state. Some fight organizers said that could lead some promoters in the state to stop holding events.
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