Thursday, September 1, 2016

It's September 1 - The Following Things Are Now Illegal in New York


September 1 is upon us, and with it comes the dawn of a new age in New York combative sports. That's right, folks, the legislative bill Governor Andrew Cuomo signed back in April - you remember, the one lifting the 1997 ban on professional MMA bouts - officially takes effect today. So what does that mean?

Obviously, it means there will soon be UFC events at Madison Square Garden (and at the Times Union Center in Albany), as well as WSOFs, ROCs, CFFCs and others making at least one or two appearances in the Empire State. It also means a lot of continued fretting about the new million-dollar brain injury insurance policy requirement, and lamenting by the boxing industry. But perhaps most important, it means there are a bunch of things suddenly made illegal by the new law.

Because I'm all about keeping my beloved New York brethren informed, I've made a list of things that will violate either the law or the brand-spanking new rules and regulations the New York State Athletic Commission voted into existence just yesterday. Do these things at your peril!

  • Organize, promote or participate in an amateur MMA event not sanctioned by the Athletic Commission or an approved third-party organization - The 1997 Combative Sports Law had a sweet loophole in it that allowed for unsanctioned combative sporting events as long as the competitors were unpaid amateurs. But that loophole is gone now. In its place we have a new definition of combative sport that reads: "'Combative sport' means any unarmed bout, contest, competition, match, or exhibition undertaken to entertain an audience, wherein the participants primarily grapple or wrestle, or deliver blows of any kind to, or use force in any way to manipulate, the body of another participant, and wherein the outcome and score depend entirely on such activities." Notice how there's no mention of the words "professional" or "amateur" in there? That's because the phrase "combative sport" is now all encompassing. To further hammer this home, the new statute says this: "The conduct of combative sports outside of the supervision of the commission or an authorized sanctioning entity is prohibited." Bottom line: Every combative sporting event in New York State must be sanctioned by the Athletic Commission or a third-party organization authorized by the Commission. Violating this law is a Class A misdemeanor, and can result in a $10,000 fine and a suspension. Yikes!
  • Act as a sanctioning organization without getting a license from the Athletic Commission to do so - As per the new Commission rules and regulations, "No sanctioning entity shall engage, directly or indirectly, in the oversight, conduct or authorization of any combative sport match or exhibition in this State unless it shall have first procured the appropriate license and authorization from the Commission." In other words, you cannot self-sanction your event, and you cannot have the XYZ Association or Joe's Cut-Rate Sanctioning oversee your show if they haven't gone through the Commission's application process and gotten approval. Here's the application for prospective third-party sanctioning organizations, but before you click that link, just know that the application fee is $1,000, you're going to need bonds for $10,000 and $20,000, and there's hella insurance coverage you're going to have to get before the Commission gives you their stamp of approval.
  • Hold an event without first giving the Athletic Commission ten days notice - Assuming you're an approved sanctioning entity, you have to notify the Commission of any fight shows ten days in advance. There's even a form to fill out, which you can find here. As per the Commission's rules and regulations, "No such matches or exhibitions may be held until such notice is filed with the Commission."
  • Fight in an amateur MMA bout without getting a Mixed Martial Arts National Identification Card - You know how amateur boxers have that cute little book that gets stamped when they fight? MMA fighters get an ID card now - yay! Here's the application for that one.
So many new rules and regulations to follow, so many guidelines that must be adhered to - what has New York State become?

Less lawless. That's for sure.


Anonymous said...

How does this impact amateur and professional grappling/jiu jitsu tournaments in New York ?

James said...

Any updates on how MMA is now at New York? That ID Card though is cool. It would be awesome to have one.

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