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Plans For Wisconsin Statewide MMA Regulations Announced Today

By:
Paul Fladten
Date:
27 August 2009
EricSchaferWisconsin has finally begun the process of implementing statewide regulations on the sport of mixed martial arts; on Thursday, August 27, Senator Dave Hansen and state Representative Pedro Colón announced they will be introducing legislation in order to establish state regulatory standards.

 

The proposed legislation attempts to include MMA into similar laws and standards as to that of boxing. If the proposed legislation were to pass, it would clear the way for an organization such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship to hold events within the state.

 

Besides a handful of northeastern states such as New York and Massachusetts, Wisconsin is one of the very last states to introduce the bill. The Badger State is the last state west of West Virginia to attempt to regulate MMA.

 

The Proposed Bill

 

Ensuring the safety of the fighters is the most important aspect of Hansen and Colón's impending legislation. A few key components of the legislation include:

 

• Pre- and post-fight physicals from licensed physicians

 

• Licensed physicians present ringside during each match, and on-site emergency medical personnel and ambulances

 

• Regular health examinations for athletes, including annual physical exams and eye exams, screening for HIV and hepatitis and mandatory steroid testing and pregnancy testing

 

• Licensing requirements for referees, officials, promoters and athletes

 

Advocates of the Legislation

 

Nearly the entire population of the Wisconsin MMA community that was interviewed by Wisconsin Combat Sports has said that the regulations will greatly improve the quality of MMA here in Wisconsin.

 

Corey Christopherson, a well-known matchmaker in Central Wisconsin, feels this way. Formerly, Christopherson was part owner of the Konquer the Kage organization, but has since decided to devote his full time to matchmaking. He said that the implementation of statewide regulations will be a vast improvement in the quality of Wisconsin's MMA.

 

"I'm looking forward to the regulations," Christopherson said. "In my opinion, anyone that opposes that commission is part of the problem. I'm on board 100 percent. If its going to make things safer for the fighters and ensure that they are going to get paid, I'm all for it."

 

Opponents of the Legislation

 

Over the years there have been many opponents of MMA. In the mid 1990's former Presidential Candidate John McCain expressed his dismay for the sport. Locally and more recently, OnMilwaukee.com sports columnist Dave Begel wrote that he viewed the sport as the, "End of the World as We Know It!".

 

But while there will always be critics of MMA, this recent announcement of the proposed legislation signifies the beginning of a new era. Representative Colón said that the new and safer rules established by the new legislation might silence some of those critics.

 

"We respect that some may not enjoy this sport, but the fact of the matter is that mixed martial arts is widely popular and growing at a phenomenal rate," said Colón. "This sport and its fan base will only continue to expand in Wisconsin and become more and more a part of the state's mainstream athletic environment. These new standards will help ensure that athletes are competing in a safe environment and that their best interests and safety are paramount. Just as boxing has clear rules and regulations, so, too, should MMA. Our bill will do that."

 

Other Benefits of Regulation

 

While the safety of the fighters here in Wisconsin is the number one goal of the proposed legislation, there are also other benefits that may arise if the proposal is passed. One benefit is that Wisconsin may have a chance to hold an actual UFC event.

 

The benefits of having a UFC event in either Milwaukee or Madison would be unimaginable. Jobs, tourist spending, and sales tax revenues are just a few of the rewards that would come with Dana White's arrival. Also, MMA events have the highest average ticket prices of any sporting event. Attendees arrive early and stay late, this would undoubtedly result in record concession and merchandise sales.

 

The announcement of the proposed legislation is very exciting for MMA enthusiasts around Wisconsin and around the world. It signifies that Dana White's prediction that "MMA will someday be the biggest sport in the world", may not be that farfetched.

 

Continue to check back on Wisconsin Combat Sports as more information is announced.

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Last Modified:
27 August 2009

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