Monday, June 15, 2015

A Breakdown of the (Hopefully) Final Version of the New York MMA Bill


Last week Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle reworked the MMA bill to make it more appealing to some of the holdouts. It was expected that the Senate would do the same to their version, and they did, with both legislative houses ironing out one unified piece of legislation last night. It is primarily the same bill as what was unveiled last week, but it contains the following minor tweaks:

  • There's much more detail in the nitty-gritty licensing stuff that would normally be at the discretion of the Athletic Commission. For instance, the bill breaks down the fees promotions must pay based on venue seating capacity (for example, for shows in venues that hold over 25,000 people, the license is $3,500). The bill also details some of the standards that must be met for an MMA gym to be licensed (i.e., sanitary requirements, the presence of someone trained in CPR, etc.).
  • The threshold for the million-dollar brain injury clause has been changed from "major" to "life-threatening". This is a welcome narrowing of the standard, as the definition of "major" can be very broad.
  • Medical records will be held as confidential by the Athletic Commission. 
  • MRIs will be mandatory for any competitor who suffers a knockout or severe head trauma.
  • For boxers, brain scans will be paid for by the state. For mixed martial artists, either the fighter or the promoter must pay.
  • The word "continuously" has been added to the insurance coverage requirement for pro MMA shows. In practice, this could mean nothing, or it could mean that promoters will be on the hook forever if a fighter was injured at their event.
  • The deadline for the Athletic Commission to get its new sanctioning machine up and running is now 120 days after the bill is made into law. The version last week had the deadline at 180 days. 
These tweaks are relatively minor, and if they're what's needed to get the Senate and Assembly to agree (which is necessary for a bill to pass), then so be it.

We'll soon know if it's enough.

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