Licencing Consequences Following Wyoming Fighter Collapse?

Update April 13, 2014 – The Wyoming State Board of MMA has responded to criticism of the below conduct with the following self serving comments:

All parties, including Mr.Maranhao, believed and stated unequivocally that Mr. Maranhao was medically safe to and capable of finishing the fight….

The Wyoming State Board of Mixed Martial Arts stands by our physicians and officials and has the utmost confidence in their ability to assess the medical status of Wyoming contestants. Safety is the Board’s number one priority and all necessary precautions were taken at the April 11 RFA event to ensure that Mr. Maranhao was safe to continue fighting.

Again, thank you for your interest in Wyoming MMA.

____________________

Bloody Elbow has done a commendable job with continued follow up of this story.

__________________________________________________________

In what has been described asone of the most shocking, sickening and incompetent moments in MMA history“, a fighter in Wyoming was allowed to continue competing after collapsing from his stool in between rounds at a recent MMA event.

The below GIF (Credit to @ZProphet_MMA of Fansided.com) speaks for itself.

RFA Fighter Collapse Gif

The fighter’s collapse is likely the result of exhaustion, dehydration or the accumulation of trauma.  The most charitable explanation is, perhaps, a dramatic demonstration of loss of the will to continue competing.  However it is interpreted one thing is clear, this combatant should never have been allowed to meet the bell for the next round.

Given that BloodyElbow’s Brent Brookhouse has vowed to follow up with the Wyoming State Board of Mixed Martial Arts to investigate this incident I decided to take a quick look at the regulatory scheme that will be triggered.

The Board exists, in their own words, with fighter safety as their “top priority”.  Appreciating this there are three participants worth scrutinizing, namely the Referee, the Ringside Physician and the Seconds.

Referees are required to hold a licence with the Board.  Under Chapter 11 of Wyoming’s MMA Rules, a referee “shall” stop a contest when a contestant’s “physical conditions so requires” or when a contestant “is not demonstrating their best efforts“.   Under this provision the Referee was required to stop this bout.

Under Chapter 9 of Wyoming’s Rules, no bout shall “continue” unless an approved physician is seated at the ring or cage side.  Under Chapter 9, section 1, Physicians “must be designated by the board“.  This appears to be a lesser requirement than being a licensee making it unclear whether physician’s are subject to disciplinary proceedings by the Board.

Lastly, all seconds must be registered with the Board pursuant to the obligations set out in Chapter 7 of Wyoming’s Rules.  Again, this appears to be a lesser requirement than full licencing which is only required for “promoters, contestants and officials (referees, judges and inspectors)

Under Chapter 1 section 2, both Referees and Seconds agree not to violate any provisions of the Rules.  Breaches of the Rules can result in denial, suspension or revocation of licensure with the Board.  Discipline also appears to be available for non licence holders with the board having discretion to ban individuals who break the rules from attending future bouts.

Whatever the remedy sought, Chapter 12 section 3 sets out the procedures to issue formal complaints to the Board with respect to licence holders.  Anyone concerned about the above ought to follow the procedures set out therein to trigger the Board’s duty to investigate this incident.

 

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