Update April 14, 2016 – Today New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law making professional MMA finally legal in the Empire State. The first legal event will be able to be hosted as early as September 1, 2016
Bill A02604 is set to be voted on by the New York State Assembly next week and as long time New York MMA Journalist Jim Genia reports “the bill will pass next week”.
So what does Bill A02604 do? Below are six highlights previously provided by Genia of the Bill which was revamped in mid 2015 to secure greater legislative support –
- Amateur MMA is permitted, and will be sanctioned by the Athletic Commission or by third-party organizations approved by the Commission. There will be no more unsanctioned events allowed;
- The Commission will have jurisdiction over all combative sports, including professional wrestling, martial arts and kickboxing. The list of organizations approved for sanctioning of martial arts events is gone, and the Commission will lay out criteria for third-party organizations to get approval to operate within the state;
- These third-party organizations may have the power to sanction pro combative sports, including MMA events;
- The Commission will have jurisdiction (and licensing ability) over gyms that provide sparring in preparation for pro boxing or pro MMA bouts;
- Accident insurance for a minimum of $50,000 is required by all pro combative sports promoters, with a million dollar insurance minimum for competition injuries resulting in major brain injuries; and,
- All combative sporting events, pro or amateur, will pay an 8.5% tax on gate and a 3% tax on broadcasting rights sold (this includes Internet broadcasts)
I’ve had an opportunity to review the legislation in full and, in addition to the above highlights, there are two other noteworthy points –
- Not only are gyms regulated, but the legislation sets our a host of requirements for these. All training facilities ‘providing contact sparring maintained either exclusively or in part for the use of professional combative sports participants‘ will need to meet the following criteria –
AT A MINIMUM, ANY SUCH REGULATION SHALL REQUIRE: (I) FIRST AID MATERIALS TO BE STORED IN AN ACCESSIBLE LOCATION ON THE PREMISES AND FOR THE PRESENCE ON THE PREMISES OF A PERSON TRAINED AND CERTIFIED IN THE USE OF SUCH MATERIALS AND PROCEDURES FOR CARDIO-PULMO- NARY RESUSCITATION AT ALL TIMES DURING WHICH THE FACILITY IS OPEN FOR TRAINING PURPOSES; (II) CLEAN AND SANITARY BATHROOMS, SHOWER ROOMS, AND LOCKER ROOMS; (III) ADEQUATE VENTILATION AND LIGHTING OF ACCESSIBLE AREAS OF THE TRAINING FACILITY; (IV) ESTABLISHMENT OF A POLICY CONCERNING THE RESTRICTION OF SMOKING IN TRAINING AREAS, INCLUDING PROVISIONS FOR ITS ENFORCEMENT BY THE FACILITY OPERATOR; (V) COMPLIANCE WITH STATE AND LOCAL FIRE ORDINANCES; (VI) INSPECTION AND APPROVAL OF SURFACES ON WHICH TRAINING FOR COMBA- TIVE SPORTS WILL BE HELD; AND (VII) ESTABLISHMENT OF A POLICY FOR POSTING ALL COMMISSION LICENSE SUSPENSIONS AND LICENSE REVOCATIONS RECEIVED FROM THE COMMISSION INCLUD- ING PROVISIONS FOR ENFORCEMENT OF SUCH SUSPENSIONS AND REVOCATIONS BY THE FACILITY OPERATOR. (B) A PROSPECTIVE ENTITY LICENSEE SHALL SUBMIT TO THE COMMISSION PROOF THAT IT CAN FURNISH SUITABLE FACILITIES IN WHICH THE TRAINING IS TO BE CONDUCTED, INCLUDING THE MAKING OF SUCH TRAINING FACILITIES AVAILABLE FOR INSPECTION BY THE COMMISSION AT ANY TIME DURING WHICH TRAINING IS IN 45 PROGRESS.
- The legislation also mandates that the State conduct a study aimed and arriving at options for providing ‘medical and rehabilitative care’ for combative sport participants that sustain ‘repetitive head injuries’ in their career with the relevant section of the Bill reading as follows:
The department of state, with the assistance of the state athlet- ic commission, medical advisory board, departments of health and finan- cial services, state insurance fund, division of budget and such other state entities as appropriate, shall carefully consider potential mech- anisms to provide financial resources for the payment of expenses related to medical and rehabilitative care for professionals licensed under article forty-one of the general business law who experience debilitating brain injuries associated with repetitive head injuries sustained through their participation in combative sports. The depart- ment of state may consult and contract with third parties for services in the course of this review. The department of state shall report its findings and recommendations to the governor, temporary president of the senate and speaker of the assembly within eighteen months of the effec- tive date of this section.