Heard about this? Me neither, until just now when I was surfing the great Kentucky Votes website:
FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 29, 2008) – A bill passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Steve Beshear will make the growing sport of amateur mixed martial arts (MMA) safer in Kentucky.
House Bill 684, sponsored by Rep. Steve Riggs (D-Louisville), extends regulations enforced by the Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Authority to amateur MMA bouts. Previously, only professional MMA matches were covered. The bill also establishes a medical review panel for the authority.
The authority’s rules help ensure the safety of participants by requiring a medical exam for each competitor, requiring a ringside physician for each match and mandating prompt access to an ambulance, among other measures.
“This was needed legislation, and we are glad it has become law,” said Larry Bond, commissioner of the Department of Public Protection, which includes the boxing and wrestling authority. “The legislation will allow some regulation in a contact sport where amateur MMA competitors were exposed to risk and injury by competing in unregulated matches.”
The medical review panel, which will consist of three to five physicians, will consider medical issues that come to the attention of the boxing and wrestling authority. Among their tasks will be examining the medical records of competitors and making recommendations to improve health and safety.
Okay, that's how this bill (House Bill 684, to be precise) was described in the State Government's own press release. It's all about safety, it says here. Hmmm. Okay. And yet, here's how Kentucky Votes describes it:
Introduced in the House on February 28, 2008, to require licensing and expand taxation of boxing, wrestling, or martial arts shows.
Oh-HO! Licensing, eh? Expanded taxation, eh? Funny, they forgot to mention in all this in their self-stroking press release.
Mind you, I don't give a fuck about "Mixed Martial Arts" and anything that helps to contain and supress the growing MMA cancer is fine by me. But when you add undue regulation and taxation to boxing, which already has one foot in the grave and needs all the room to breathe it can get, you're startin' to raise grandpa's ire.
I'm still trying to sort out what it all means for the amateur boxing industry in Kentucky, but you can read more info here. You can also check out the new website of this grand adventure in unnecessary bureaucracy by clicking here.
Call me old-fashioned (audience: "you're old-fashioned!!!") but in my head, I still live in a world where two men are allowed to hit each other while a third man charges a sawski to watch it. Period. No other outside entities, snoops, finks or laws needed.
I will continue to live by the rules of the world in my head rather than those inside somebody's else's head. In fact, I'm already thinking up a new routine in which boxing and wrestling are transported safely to the anarchic venue of theatre and performance art, safe from the prying stinky fingers of bureaucrats.
"Relax, sir, it's not real boxing, it's theatre! This is a short play, in twelve rounds, ah, I mean acts. Twelve acts."
"But.... but... Mr. Holland, that man's really bleeding! That's not stage blood!"
"Oh, yes, well, ha ha, sometimes they ad lib. You know those crazy actors!"
- - JSH