West Virginia MMA law restricting the sport

source: wvmetronews.com

Even though state lawmakers voted to legalize mixed martial arts fighting in West Virginia during the regular session earlier this year, fight promoters say the burdensome rules are restricting the sport's growth.

Current law prohibits fights from happening in venues with seating capacities smaller than 2,500.

On Wednesday, an interim committee discussed the rules and proposed rules that will be taken up during the regular session next month.

Butch Hiles, a professional mixed martial artist who owns Butch Hiles Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA Gym in Charleston, spoke to the committee about how rules affect the industry.

He says because the sport is just getting underway in West Virginia, most promoters are small and don't have the money to adhere to all the Regulations.

"These rules make it very hard for a small-time promoter," Hiles said.  "If you're looking for a venue with 2,500 people, there's not a lot.  Even in Charleston, there's only the Civic Center."

The official first state-sanctioned fight is set for Jan. 7 at the Williamson Field House.  Hiles says the venue seats about 6,000.  However, he says it's hard for many promoters to secure large arenas, gyms or halls.

"The majority of people aren't going to have the money to rent those kind of venues," Hiles said.  "So from the get go they're in trouble."

Renting venues as large as the Civic Center can cost as much as $50,000 Hiles said.

During Wednesday's interim committee meeting, lawmakers asked Hiles what rules should govern the sport.  Possible rules include allowing fights only in cages instead of rings, prohibiting amateur fights, mandating that each fight have two TV screens for fans and requiring insurance policies of up to $30,000.

Hiles said each rule puts an unnecessary burden on promoters who are trying to get the sport going in West Virginia.  He says surrounding states are much more lenient on the sport.

"The point why we passed it was to compete with other states, and unfortunately we can't because the rules are too hard," Hiles said.  "There not the same rules in any other state at all."

Hiles says if regulations are scaled back, the sport could flourish in West Virginia.  Lawmakers plan to consider rule changes during the upcoming regular session.

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tags: Legislation   Regulation   West Virginia   

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Recent Comments »

Carne de cavalo é o melhor site profile image  

12/15/11 4:37 PM by Carne de cavalo é o melhor

West Virginia is a flyover state. Fuck em

Zaph site profile image  

12/15/11 4:29 PM by Zaph

 If you're 49th out of 50 for poorest states, doesn't that make you the second richest state?

Filo_Beto site profile image  

12/15/11 4:22 PM by Filo_Beto

Don't mean to insult your state but it is what is and yes I have been there so I'm speaking from experience and have also seen the statistics of the state.And no , coal does not power my lights. I was actually powered by nuclear and now I have solar.West virgina does not have one of the best economies in the union, that is just a flat out lie or ignorance on your part. You inbreeds are actually ranked 49 out of 50 for poorest states.

GageIsLegend site profile image  

12/15/11 3:30 PM by GageIsLegend

I'm from Wv and think the posts on here are ridiculous.

Zaph site profile image  

12/15/11 3:25 PM by Zaph

 Not that I disagree with the main point of your post, but surely you know that some people use intentionally misspelled usernames, right?  This is particularly true if the properly spelled version is likely to have already been used by someone else.  I've been known to use the username "Qannebiss" here and there, but I'm pretty sure I know how to spell "cannabis".

SpartanCurry site profile image  

12/15/11 3:17 PM by SpartanCurry

I'm from West Virginia and can tell you that they have a great MMA/BJJ following. One of the better BJJ/Sub Grappling tournaments that I've ever competed in is held in Charleston every summer. It's outside near the river that cuts through the city center. Ignorant people like you make me sad, especially when they've probably never been there. And the coal industry is important to our economy, however that coal is used to power the lights that allow you to see at night. West Virginia also has one of the best economies in the nation, despite what Obama has done to the rest of the nation. You may think West Virginia is full of ignorant hillbilly trash, but I'd put them against you any day of the week in a spelling contest.You misspelled your own name. Philo Beddoe is how it's actually spelled.

Zaph site profile image  

12/15/11 12:51 PM by Zaph

 They have a university too.  Unsurprisingly, most of the student body is from outside the state.  Most of the professors too.  

Kirik site profile image  

12/15/11 12:40 PM by Kirik

 I had fun reffing there in the late 90s I think it was, or early early 2000s.

octowussy site profile image  

12/15/11 12:19 PM by octowussy

I hate to see MMA banned anywhere, but holy shit is WV the worst place on the planet.

Filo_Beto site profile image  

12/15/11 12:19 PM by Filo_Beto

Exactly!!!!Don't know what Dana and the ferrita brothers are going to do next. This may financially ruin them.