Tennessee Would Be Wise to Remember Safety Over Profit

Update February 1, 2015 – The Tennessee Athletic Commission has been given some breathing room with its legal expiry pushed back to June 30, 2016.  This is a temporary fix and a long term solution is still needed.  Kevin Iole of Yahoo News has the details here.


As Kirik Jenness reports, the Tennessee Athletic Commission is subject to sunset legislation and unless a new law is passed continuing the commission they will dissolve in July of this year.  The deadline for introducing new legislation is February 12.

It appears lawmakers in Tennessee are looking to dissolve the commission simply “due to it not being profitable and able to sustain itself financially.”.  While government efficiency is always welcome, this analysis misses the mark.

The only reason for government control of sports such as MMA and boxing is participant safety, not state profit.  Much like the government would not stop regulating roadway safety because it is expensive, the government has no business turning away from combat sports regulation simply because of the cost.

The purpose of the Athletic Commission is to “ensure the Safety of the Competitors, the ring officials and the spectators of all contests of unarmed combat in the State of Tennessee.”.  Not to help the State turn a profit.

After being questioned about their expenses and revenues and revealing that they are not self sustainable, the Commission was asked by lawmakers to reveal their “accomplishments”.  The commission responded by highlighting all the televised events they oversaw in their jurisdiction.

This is a sad exchange by both parties involved.  The commission’s accomplishments include licencing competent officials, ensuring healthy competitors are licensed for competition and having a good track record of participant safety and promoter regulation.  Hosting events that make money for the State may be a collateral benefit but is an ‘accomplishment‘ that misses the mark.

The Nashville Sports Mix has been vocal about keeping the sport alive and regulated in the State.  If you agree that Tennessee lawmakers need to remember public safety over profit you should read their article and reach out to the referenced people to be vocal and take action.


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