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A new wrinkle in proposed MMA legislation for New York

By Zach Arnold | May 9, 2013

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Last week, we noted that there would be a bill proposed in New York’s state senate regarding the establishment of a healthcare fund for fighters should Mixed Martial Arts become regulated in the state. The bill is in the Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation committee.

You can read the bill for yourself right here: BILL S5055-2013: Establishes protocols for combative sports; authorizes mixed martial arts events in this state

Establishes protocols for combative sports; authorizes mixed martial arts events in this state; establishes the New York Mixed Martial Arts Injury Compensation Fund, Inc.; establishes procedures for applications for licenses; establishes penalties for violations; imposes taxes on gross receipts of such events.

I would advise you to simply copy the bill text into a program like Notepad, Wordpad, gedit, or a word processing app so you can make the text easier to read.

The nuts and bolts of the proposed bill — a non-profit C-corp with a 7-member panel would be created and qualified fighters who suffer from neurological damage due to bouts they participate in could end up receiving payment from the fund. The fund would be financed by promoters based on a tax.

“Section Three of the bill amends Chapter 912 of the laws of 1920 to add a new section 5-B to create a New York mixed martial arts injury compensation fund. Further, it shall be presumed any Professional mixed martial artist who participates in a New York state sanctioned event and receives any form of neurological damage during the course of his or her lifetime, that the damage was the direct causation of the sanctioned match and is entitled to the full benefits of the fund over the course of his or her lifetime for all necessary medical treatment and rehabilitation.”

“Section Six of the bill amends section 452 of the tax law to impose a 8.5% tax on receipts on ticket sales as well as 3% of gross receipts from broadcasting rights”

“Section Seven provides for an effective date of 90 days after it shall have become a law, and shall expire and be deemed repealed 3 years after it shall take effect.”

The big question regarding this bill is whether or not the creating of a corporation to distribute money for health care to fighters would be any less troublesome than the mess that California’s boxer’s pension fund (or the neurological cash slush fund) has turned out to be.

Of course, when it comes to fighter safety the state’s athletic commission is supposed to do an adequate job in protecting the fighters… and New York’s commission, rightfully, has an awful track record. The track record came into question this week with a report from the state’s Inspector General.

In May 2012, the Inspector General received allegations from Bryant Pappas, a professional boxer, regarding his May 12, 2012 match against Josh Williams that was regulated by the New York State Athletic Commission. Pappas alleged that Williams was improperly allowed to use non-promoter supplied boxing gloves, purportedly in violation of Athletic Commission regulations. Pappas further alleged that, although he outboxed Williams, as a result of Williams’s use of the gloves and alleged bias by the Athletic Commission, Williams was awarded a win by decision.

This is the kind of thing we got used to seeing last year in California with some athletic inspectors not figuring out how to properly look at hand wraps, figure out appropriate glove sizes, or determine whether or not fighters were skinning their gloves.

Check out this politically-inspired answer by the IG’s office to the New York fighter’s complaint:

Upon investigation, the Inspector General determined that while Pappas’s allegations were not substantiated, a number of the Athletic Commission’s rules and procedures regarding boxing gloves were deficient and required updating, uniformity, and publication. These include the Athletic Commission’s process for approval of new brands or styles of boxing gloves, as well as the processes for the inspection of gloves and the taping of boxers’ hands before matches.

The 8-page document from the IG’s office is worth reading simply because the problems addressed by Bryant Pappas are unfortunately issues that are popping up in many of the states where big fights are being held.

Although the Inspector General found Pappas’s allegations to be unsubstantiated, a review of Athletic Commission rules revealed a number of deficiencies in the approval, use, and application of boxing gloves. Indeed, this case is illustrative of the confusion that can arise absent clear and comprehensive rules and procedures.

Wait until New York’s commission starts regulating MMA.

Topics: Boxing, Media, MMA, Zach Arnold | 6 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

6 Responses to “A new wrinkle in proposed MMA legislation for New York”

  1. RST says:

    “qualified fighters who suffer from neurological damage due to bouts they participate in could end up receiving payment from the fund. The fund would be financed by promoters based on a tax.”

    I sure as heck don’t want to see anyone neurological damaged, or demean someone who that has occurred to.

    Gary Goodridge being the only MMA example I can think of.
    But who also made sure to bring it on himself after a few extra years in the sleaziest promotions who would take advantage of him for no good reason.

    Maybe Chuck.
    Although that may have been just as attributable to his ring time coked out at the strip bar.

    And who is going to determine who “qualifies” for what?

    New york ideologues/slip and fall lawyers?

    Will it be harder or more based on actual need then qualifying for foodstamps or a medical pot card in california?

    It vaguely sounds to me like they might be interested as long as there will be openings for unlimited lawsuits and taxation.

    Dressed up in progressive terminology to be sure.

    But on the other hand,
    hey why not.

    If thats what it takes to appeal to a new yorkers cold dead heart.

    As long as no one is REQUIRED to run shows in new york.

    Its not unreasonable to be expected to play by new yorks rules when in new york.

    (Its new york trying to foist themselves on the rest of the country thats the problem.)

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    “Further, it shall be presumed any Professional mixed martial artist who participates in a New York state sanctioned event and receives any form of neurological damage during the course of his or her lifetime, that the damage was the direct causation of the sanctioned match and is entitled to the full benefits of the fund over the course of his or her lifetime for all necessary medical treatment and rehabilitation.”

    Are you kidding me?

    So Mark Hunt, who has had a long career of kickboxing… They would automatically assume the damage is from MMA?

    Or Matt Mitrione, who had a long career playing football (at least 10 years…. not all professionally)…. They would automatically assume the damage is from MMA?

    What a joke….

    • Matt C. says:

      I think Mitrione’s football career is very relevant to this. This bill is targeting combat sports and I have a problem with that. It don’t matter what sport it is they all can induce head trauma via injury. If they want to pass a bill requiring compensation I’m all for it but it should encompass all sports. Especially the NFL which at this point probably should be the first target of this bill considering they really have the highest profile problem with head injuries. Also it should include college football which means the state universities of New York need to pony up for this too.

      • RST says:

        “I’m all for it but it should encompass all sports. Especially the NFL “

        It doesn’t? The biggest head trauma sport out of them all?

        (Where they make they most money, so its the most ignored?)

        Sometimes I believe in equality, except when its not equal. We/MMA haven’t had the problems with head trauma or dehydration that Boxing, Football, or college wrestling (in the case of college wrestling only via a surge) have had. Please dont use cormier who almost killed himself, is to fat at his current weight, and wants to drop 65 pounds to 205 now to judge everyone! Bad examples should be discouraged, not used as a tool to punish the rest of society!

    • RST says:

      Lol @ Mark Hunt as their best evidence. If Mark Hunt is their best evidence, skipping over Gary being the best evidence for(/against) free health care, then that proves my theory! That MMA fighters are smarter then other ones.

      And that its unregulated/corrupt environment like new york! NEW YORK! Who are the ones directly responsible for the abuse (and murder?) of so many boxers!

      • RST says:

        “And that its unregulated/corrupt environment like new york!”

        IE: BAD regulation is even WORSE, then NO regulation! With NO regulation, at least the victim CHOSE their fate! (Which you should be allowed to do! And nobody else required to pay for!)

        BAD regulation, on the otherhand, sells you a facade of legitimacy. Which is cruel and preys on the guileless!

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