Alabama MMA Regulations: Looking Back at the Problems Encountered in the First Six Months and What to Expect in the Future
June marks the halfway point of the first year that the State of Alabama began sanctioning mixed martial arts. In January, the Alabama Athletic Commission started issuing match permits for MMA events around the state. Now, it isn't uncommon find a state-sanctioned fight in several cities in Alabama almost every month.
Due to the fact that the AAC is self-funded, it found itself in dire trouble early on in 2012 and went back to the drawing board in hopes of creating additional revenue. This came in the form of a five-percent tax on all amateur and professional MMA events.
So far, the only revenue generated to date has come from the five pro boxing shows in 2011 and one pro show in February 2012. Needless to say, this has not been enough to keep the Alabama Athletic Commission afloat.
With increasing debt accumulating each month, June witnessed the first layoff by the Commission of its own staff due to funding issues. One Commissioner has voiced concerns that if funds do not come in quickly there may not be a commission much longer.
In the first quarter of 2012 the ACC submitted a bill to regulate Pro Wrestling. With mega-organizations such as the WWE coming to Alabama, this would generate revenue needed to keep finances available. Commissioner Sears, Vice Chair of the Athletic Commission, went on several media outlets trying to gain support for the Bill but due to too many opponents it ultimately died on the floor of the Alabama Legislature. It is unknown if the Bill will be revamped and submitted in 2013.
At an event on June 2nd in Pell City we saw the cross-training of an Alabama Athletic Commission State Inspector training to become an ISKA Amateur Event Director. In another meeting on June 13 –following numerous complaints from promoters over the ISKA and the handling of shows in 2012—Alabama adopted a new sanctioning body run by Paul Domenech known as MMA Solutions.
MMA Solutions is well known in the Florida fight scene for some of the best fights in the Gulf Coast. Island Fights out of Pensacola has been using MMA solutions for some time and they are a mainstay and known for holding some of the best fights in the region. MMA Solutions does not limit itself to Florida as it also goes across state lines and has been operating in Mississippi for years. Famous for their fights at the I.P. Casino, MMA Solutions has now decided to come to Alabama.
Although Alabama mixed martial arts scene has been dealt with what may seem to be a good amount of problems in its first six months of sanctioned fights, Alabama has come a long way in a short time. ISKA should be commended as it has done a great job at getting the ball rolling and having another sanctioning body like MMA Solutions coming on board will only benefit the state and the MMA community at large.
Yet another big test awaits the AAC as June 23rd is set to host two shows on the same night in opposite sides of the state. This will be the first time the new formed A.A.C. will have state commission sanctioned pro boxing in West Alabama while at the same time state regulated amateur mixed martial arts event under a new sanctioning body.
Although the 2012 year started off great for Amateur MMA, June 23rd will be the first Pro Boxing show Alabama has seen this year. Skyy Promotions will host "Brawl at the Mall" featuring Olympic medalist and undefeated heavyweight champion Deontay "Bronze Bomber" Wilder (22-0) taking on Owen Beck (30-10).
On the same night Jake Clairday and Alabama Extreme Cage Fighting is set to host its own installment of mixed martial arts in North Alabama. This is the first time multiple shows are scheduled on the same night. This will be a huge test for the A.A.C. as well as the newly adopted sanctioning body.