WSOF’s Planned Elimination Tournament Faces Regulatory Obstacles

Posted: August 24, 2015 in Washington State Combat Sports Law

Update – WSOF is now apparently seeking to change venue after learning elimination tournaments are illegal in Washington State.  Ariel Helwani posted the following tweet –

Helwanti Tweet Re Elimination Tournament


Earlier today MMAJunkie reported that the World Series of Fighting plans a one night eight man elimination tournament to be held in Seattle in November with the following tweet –

WSOF Tweet Re Elimination Tournament

The problem with this?  Leaving aside the ABC’s medical committee’s stance that elimination tournament MMA should “not be endorsed” Washington State law prohibits elimination tournaments.  You can access Washington State’s Law Relating to Combative Sports here.

Specifically RCW 67 08.015(4) bans elimination tournaments reading as follows (bold emphasis is mine):

No amateur or professional no holds barred fighting or combative fighting type of contest, exhibition, match, or similar type of event, nor any elimination tournament, may be held in this state. Any person promoting such an event is guilty of a class C felony. Additionally, the director may apply to a superior court for an injunction against any and all promoters of a contest, and may request that the court seize all money and assets relating to the competition.

I reached out to the Washington State Department of Licencing on whether they planned to approve this event.  They confirmed the event has not been approved and that legislation prohibits it.  Sandra Gonzales, the Departments Combative Sports Program Manager, responded as follows –

Thank you for your inquiry and link to an article regarding a possible elimination tournament to be held in Washington State. 

However, we have not approved this event and you are correct that Washington State law prohibits these types of events.”.

Perhaps the event is planned to be hosted on tribal land, however, if the event is held in a venue where the State’s Department of Licencing has jurisdiction it will be off limits.

  1. […] California does enjoy the ability to host a one night elimination MMA tournament (unlike Washington which the WSOF recently learned).  However, it looks like one of the requirements for such tournaments is already being […]

  2. […] Earlier today it was announced that the World Series of Fighting plans on hosting an 8 man, one night elimination tournament at the Comerica Theater in Phoenix, Arizona on November 20, 2015.  This announcement comes shortly after recent failed plans to host such a tournament in Seattle. […]

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