It has been brought to our attention by Rob Madrigal (Local referee and Owner of Mixed Martial Arts Consulting - amateur sanctioning body licensed in Indiana) of an article pertaining to possible changes in the Commission. Why is this deemed news worthy to the MMAniacs? I read over what has been posted by the Athletic Commission, and these changes, if and when they take place, will change how and what we see at local events. It will affect the promotions that host local events, it will affect the fighters and gyms, and it will affect the physical appearance changing how fans perceive the shows. These proposed changes have been published since March 30, 2012. Although it is published, the general public will be allowed until May 14, 2012 to post their comments and concerns before this proposal is adjusted and set as a new standard. The address and fax number you can send your concerns to is located at the bottom of this article.
For your occasional MMA fan, when you think of rules and regulations for MMA, you may think of Mike Goldberg reciting his pre-fight quote of "Scoring based on effective striking, grappling, and octagon control." Although this is has been excepted into general knowledge of any fight, there are many more rules and regulations that occur before, during, and after every fight and event. In fact, for Illinois there are 102 pages of rules and regulations that are currently in circulation. You can read all 102 pages at www.idfpr.com/PROFS/Rules/Propsd/ProposedBoxingandFullcontactMartialArtsRules.pdf
What I am about to cover is just the tip of the iceberg for many. Currently, this is just for MMA and Boxing. As of now, there is no official regulation set for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai. Again for the full set of rules and regulations click here. At the moment, I am unsure as to if these changes will ONLY apply to Professionals, ONLY to Amateurs, or if it will apply to BOTH Professionals and Amateurs. However, if these rules are to take set we might as well become accustomed to them and/or voice your concern to the appropriate designated group. My thoughts about the proposal are located at the bottom.
The following is mostly copied and pasted from the source.
The State of Illinois Athletic Board will make it mandatory that individuals acquire a/several license(s) based accordingly to the following, and the application fee is not refundable.
- promoter - $1000
- referee - $300
- matchmaker - $250
- manager - $200
- contestant - $100
- timekeeper - $150
- judge - $100
- second - $50
- promoter for only amateur bouts - $300
- event fee - $500
* All licenses are valid for two (2) years. However, if your license becomes suspended, you must purchase another one.
- 7 days prior to a contest, the promoter shall submit to the division a notarized printer's manifest for the amount and price the tickets printed for a contest. General admission tickets shall be consecutively numbered. When available, an electronic printout is to be given to a Division representative on the day of a contest. No tickets of admission to that contest shall be sold except tickets declared on the notarized printer's manifest.
- The final accounting of printed tickets shall be completed by the promoter on an official ticket inventory prior to or during the last bout and provided to the Division. Taxes shall be assessed and collected on all the printed face value of the tickets declared on the official ticket inventory. Taxes shall also be assessed and collected for all unaccounted tickets.
- When it is determined that a promoter has made an incorrect statement of gate receipts, has used tickets not appearing on the inventory, or by any subterfuge purports to reduce the amount of tax due under the law, discipline of the promoter's license, up to and including revocation, and forfeiture of bond may occur.
For safety of the spectators and fighters:
- Spectator seats shall be at least 8 feet from the apron of the fighting area platform or at a distance approved by the Division. A physical barrier approved by the Division shall be placed 8 feet from the fighting area platform and shall have no more than 4 entry points. Security shall be placed at each of these entry points. The space immediately within 8 feet of the fighting area platform shall be under the jurisdiction of the division for use by designated working officials, contestants, their seconds, timekeepers, judges, referees, physicians, announces, medical representatives, and others approved by the Division. Promoters are responsible for seeing that the working area is controlled and free of non-essential personnel.
- At the discretion of the Division, chairs may be required to be attached so that they are not portable.
- The promoter is responsible for ensuring that no liquid refreshments or bottled or canned drinks, unless poured into disposable cubs by vendors at the time of sale, are permitted in any hall or facility where any contest is being held. If the contest is staged out-of-doors, disposable cups also must be used on the site of the contest.
- Any contestant who has lost his or her last 6 bouts, regardless of the type of loss, shall not compete in a bout without prior review and approval of the division.
Use of Seconds:
- If the fighting area is enclosed by ropes, only 1 second shall be allowed inside the fighting area between rounds.
- If the fighting area is enclosed by a cage, only 2 seconds shall be allowed inside the fighting area between rounds.
- A referee shall be licensed by the Division and shall be selected and assigned to contests by the Division.
- No bout shall be advertised or promoted as a championship bout unless it has the specific approval of the Division.
- Each contestant shall provide to the Division medical test results dated no more than 6 months prior to the date of the contest. Medical tests shall include, but not limited to, the following (annual physical examination, HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C)
- A contestant shall not compete in more than one contest within a 15 day period.
- During the bout, contestants shall only be permitted to drink water. No other fluids shall be permitted.
- A promoter, contestant, manager, second, or representative of the contestant may not verbally harass, physically abuse, throw any object at, or make illicit gestures toward any person present at the venue.
- Throwing the mouthpiece into the audience during or after the contest may result in an immediate suspension or subject the offender to any other disciplinary or non-disciplinary action the Division deems proper.
- No contestant or promoter may play any type of entrance theme that includes music, video, or any type of physical display that contains any profane, offensive, or derogatory remarks.
- A contestant over 35 years of age who has not competed in a contest within the last 36 months, or other period determined by the Division, may be required to appear before the Board to determine his or her fitness to participate in a contest.
- Promoters are prohibited from furnishing gloves to the Division that were provided by a contestant.
- The sanctioning body limits participation in its events to its registered members.
- No contestant shall participate in a contest without being registered.
- A registrant shall complete an application provided by the Division.
- A registrant must be at least 18 years of age.
- Any contestant's change in weight class must be approved by the Division or sanctioning body.
- Contestants shall only fight contestants in their own weight class.
Illinois is looking to follow the recently amateur unified rules and regulations that have been adopted by the Association of Boxing Commissions. They are making moves illegal that have been approved by some local amateur promoters but are going to be considered illegal going forward. To see the ABC Amateur MMA Unified Rules, click here.
- Striking with the elbow (appears to be ALL elbow strikes)
- Heel hooks or angled leg locks
- Spine locks
- Neck Cranks
- Excessive Slamming
- Throws against a joint
- Head kicks
Again, these are only some of the new rules and regulations that may be included in the near future. For the full list, click here.
One major reaction I felt while reading this proposal was thinking, "What is in it for the State?". Clearly with event fees and taxing per ticket sold, an easy argument will most likely be that the State is just in it to get as much money as they can. In this aspect alone, yes it COULD be the case. However, in a larger sense, I see this having a "domino" effect for everyone else. Currently, I see promoters give complimentary tickets to fighters so they can bring guests, and the fighter's themselves receive "Girl Scout Money" for each ticket they sell. This being said, if the promotions have to pay taxes for every ticket they give out, it's hard for me to see them giving as many complimentary tickets for fighters and they may even decrease the amount the fighter can make per ticket. This can trickle to less fans in attendance, to poor fighter fan bases on site, to less encouragement for fighters to fill seats, to less revenue for the promotion, to less funds to upgrade the promotion, all while the State receives taxes for every ticket regardless the scenario. These taxes will be a major concern for every promotion in the state of Illinois and for promotions to stride through it, they should be preparing for this change, while contesting it if they choose to do so.
Speaking of fighters, I can see many of these rules being applied with the intention of "protecting the fighter and spectator". However, Mixed Martial Arts is essentially a combat sport. Combat sports, under it's definition, imply physical risks. In my opinion, If you do not want to receive elbow strikes, head kicks, or fall victim to slams and submissions, do not compete in Mixed Martial Arts. Mixed Martial Arts, by its definition from the name alone, is a combination of various other forms of Martial Arts. To disable the usage of particular moves as a whole is automatically putting a handicap of some forms of martial arts and showing dominance of others.
On the flip side of the coin though, I can also see Illinois absorbing these rules and regulations from the ABC to stay in compliance with them. Although some rules and regulations may seem over the top, in comparison to other state rules and regulations, Illinois is not currently enforcing other rules such as splitting "amateur" to "novice and advanced" and requiring shin guards for all fighters. By satisfying the ABC with the rule changes, in return the ABC is not limiting Illinois fighters to which events they can and cannot compete in. This allows less complications for when a fighter chooses to fight out of state.
Finally, there are various labels within the article labeled for Professional, Amateur, both, and none. I understand that this is only a proposition, but it's target audiences are not well defined. Due to the lack in definition per section, I do not know for certain which sections apply to only Professionals, which apply to Amateurs, and which apply to both. Again, take a look at the full set of rules and regulations here and voice your concerns before May 14, 2012.
You can send your written/ typed letter to:
Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
Attention: Craig Cellini
320 West Washington, 3rd Floor
and/or you can fax it to:
Springfield, IL 62786
217/785-0813 FAX: 217/557-4451