Wisconsin Looks To Regulate Kickboxing in Aftermath of Combatant Death

Update March 10, 2015 – I have obtained a copy of Assembly Bill 2015-76 which is the proposed law seeking to overhaul combat sports regulation in Wisconsin.  A full copy of the bill can be found here – Wisconsin Assembly Bill 2015 76

While the Bill should be applauded for bringing amateur and professional kickboxing into the regulatory field, the Bill proposes to go well beyond that.  It also seeks to require government regulation of almost all amateur combat sports which are defined as “any form of unarmed combat” except for boxing.  Why boxing is excluded is not explained. What is captured in the broad language, however, is almost any traditional martial art you can think of such as Judo, Tae Kwon Do, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu etc.  Under the broad language of the bill all contests in these sports require promoters and contestants to be licensed, bonds to be paid, the presence of paid for government inspectors to be present among other requirements.  At first glance these are far reaching and perhaps unintended consequences.

Wisconsin lawmakers would be wise to carefully review this bill to ensure it addresses the problem at hand but does not go overboard and add unnecessary red tape and regulation to amateur combat sports which are not in need of regulatory reform.

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Following the tragic death of amateur kickboxer Dennis Munson Jr., the State of Wisconsin is now looking to expand the scope of their combat sports regulation to also include kickboxing.

John Diedrich, a reporter from the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, who has been persistent in his coverage of the aftermath of Munson Jr’s death, reports as follows:

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has launched a push to regulate kickboxing and other combat sports in Wisconsin, in response to the death last March of amateur Milwaukee fighter Dennis Munson.

The draft of a bill being circulated seeks to close a gap in the law by regulating all “unarmed combat sports” in Wisconsin, according to a memo sent to lawmakers from state Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc), state Sen. Rob Cowles (R-Allouez) and state Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay).

Wisconsin law regulates boxing and mixed martial arts, a combination of disciplines that includes kickboxing. However, the state does not regulate stand-alone kickboxing events.

“The current rules and regulations governing these types of events are in place to ensure the safety of the participants,” the memo sent this week to other lawmakers reads. “We see no reason why those same safeguards should not be expanded to all forms of unarmed combat.

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