Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Zach Arnold's Words of Caution About the NYSAC and MMA


Veteran MMA journo Zach Arnold is like the Dark Knight - he's not necessarily the hero we deserve, but he's one we need. In a recent post on his site FightOpinion, he examined the UFC's efforts to seek regulation in all 50 states, and cautioned that not all state athletic commissions are created equal.

In light of the Senate bill that just passed that would put regulation in the hands of the New York State Athletic Commission, here's what Zach had to say about New York:

As long as Sheldon Silver is alive and in a powerful political position, there will never be MMA regulation passed in the state. Forget about it. And yet, like a dog chasing a car, the UFC gets their hopes up every year in trying to move the needle. New York is the crown jewel of the company’s 50-state athletic commission policy. If they get into New York, they can run MSG and Syracuse and Buffalo. Without MMA regulation being passed, the MMA scene in New York is the equivalent of the Wild West. In rational times, logic would dictate that the New York State Athletic Commission regulating MMA would be safer than the currently chaotic scene unfolding in the state. However, we do not live in rational times in 2014. The New York State Athletic Commission is on the ropes, figuratively and literally. Their quality of combat sports regulation is so bad that the only hope left to save the operation is having lawyer David Berlin come in and try to stabilize the administrative bleeding.
Remember, several individuals working on behalf of New York’s athletic commission were recently sued for $100 million dollars by the family of Magomed Abdusalamov. He was the boxer who took a beating at Madison Square Garden but gutted it out when the fight should have been stopped. After allegedly telling NYSAC doctors that his head hurt, Magomed was supposedly given some sort of neurological examination and told to go back home to Florida to get checked out by doctors there. When Magomed gave a urine sample to lead athletic inspector Matt Farrago, reportedly there was blood in the sample and the boxer was instructed to take a taxi to go to the hospital rather than be escorted to a medical facility via ambulance at MSG. Abdusalamov ended up in a coma and has been in rehabilitation ever since.
It’s these kinds of regulatory decisions that have life-and-death consequences. It may benefit the UFC’s bottom line to have as many states open for business but if those venues involve individuals who can’t officiate or keep the environment safe for fighters, then whatever business positives existed to begin with quickly evaporate.
The purpose of this post isn't to say that the NYSAC regulating MMA would be bad. Instead, it's just to play Devil's advocate.

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