Thanks to the MMA Bill soon becoming law, that will all change. Drastically.
(For the purposes of this discussion, we're going to assume the current version of the bill the Assembly is mulling over will end up as the final version - there's no reason to believe otherwise).
Under the 1997 law, pro combative sports are banned, amateur matches are untouched, and there's a carve out for martial arts events, which are anything sanctioned by one of the dozen third-party organizations listed in the statute. That "approved list" is gone once the New Combative Sports Law takes affect, and the Athletic Commission will determine which third-party sanctioning bodies can operate within the state going forward.
The pertinent text reads as follows:
The commission shall promulgate regulations establishing a process by which entities may be recognized and approved by the commission as authorized sanctioning entities for a period of time to be established by the commission, during which the entity will be allowed to oversee and conduct combative sports within the state of New York. The commission may, in its reasonable discretion, limit the scope of any recognition and approval of a sanctioning entity to the oversight and conduct of one or more specific combat disciplines, amateur or professional combative sports, or to any combination of the foregoing based on the qualifications, integrity and history of the entity seeking authorization as a sanctioning entity.Boiling that down to bullet points, it means:
- The Athletic Commission will put together an application process for third-party organizations;
- The Commission will determine the duration of that organization's ability to sanction events;
- And, the Commission can limit what that organization can sanction (i.e., just kickboxing, or just karate, or just judo, etc.).
The new law lays down only a few criteria by which the Athletic Commission may judge a third-party organization as worthy. There's the aforementioned "qualifications, integrity and history." There's also the "entity's stated mission and primary purpose", the use of hand, foot and groin protection (don't worry, this isn't put down as an absolute requirement, it's just something to consider), the entity's rules about stopping matches, and the protocols for dealing with injured competitors. It will be up to the Athletic Commission to fill in the blanks (such as specific medical, insurance and bond requirements, etc.).
Though "amateur" is finally defined, there will be no more amateur loophole. Instead, all competitions where the contestants grapple and/or throw strikes will fall under commission oversight.
That means every grappling tournament, every karate tournament, every kickboxing bout - essentially, any competition where there's contact - must be sanctioned by the Athletic Commission or an approved third-party organization.
Finally, on all "authorized combative sports" events, there's an eight-and-a-half percent tax on gross receipts from ticket sales, and a three percent tax on gross receipts from broadcasting rights and digital streaming over the Internet.
Next, "What Will Happen After the New York MMA Bill Passes, Part 3: Pro Fighter Requirements".