Text of MMA’s “Ali Act” Now Published

Last week Congressman MarkWayne Mullin introduced a Bill to expand the Professional Boxing Safety Act to other combative sports.  The text of the Bill has now been published and I reproduce it below.

As previously discussed, this is a Bill to amend a statute and it does not make for straightforward reading.  To understand exactly what it will do a ‘Frankenstein‘ law has to be drafted taking the proposed amendments referred to below and grafting these onto the original legislation.  I have done this previously before the Bill’s language was published and you can click here for an example of what this Bill will do for professional MMA.

Here are the highlights

  • This Bill will expand all of the protections of the Professional Boxing Safety Act to Professional MMA
  • It will also bring these protections to all other “Professional Combat Sport Competitions” which include any “professional fight that allows fighters to use one or more forms of martial arts”  The only exceptions to this are
    • a combat sport that allows the use of a weapon or foreign object
    • a competition that is regulated by an amateur sports organization
  • In other words it will apply to sports like pro kickboxing and Muay Thai so organizations like Glory, Bellator Kickboxing, Lion Fight Promotions etc are captured by this legislation
  • Of the various changes the Bill brings to these sports the following are the most significant
    • coercive contracts will  be prohibited.  This means contracts that over 12 months that also require rights to be given to the promoter to allow the fighter to compete against another athlete who is under contract with that promoter (think basically every UFC contract)
    • In house titles would be eliminated and titles would instead be overseen by outside sanctioning organizations.  These organizations are regulated under the legislation with requirements for objecting ranking criteria and other protections for the fighters
    • all contracts between promoters and fighters wound need to be disclosed to athletic commissions and further promoters would be required to disclose all compensation the promoter is making.  In other words it would create a far more informed negotiating landscape.
    • A firewall would be in place between promoters and managers for all MMA fighters and other ‘fighters’ captured by the Bill who compete for 11 minutes or more (basically all MMA fighters who compete in 3 round fights)
    • Imposing criminal and civil penalties for those who violate this legislation.  More importantly it gives fighters the right to sue anyone who caused them ‘economic injury’ by violating the statute.  A powerful tool that MMA fighters currently do not have.

.

______________________________________

To amend the Professional Boxing Safety Act of 1996 to include fighters of combat sports in the safety provisions of such Act.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
May 26, 2016

Mr. Mullin (for himself and Mr. Kennedy) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce, and in addition to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

To amend the Professional Boxing Safety Act of 1996 to include fighters of combat sports in the safety provisions of such Act.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “Muhammad Ali Expansion Act”.

SEC. 2. INCLUSION OF MIXED MARTIAL ARTS FIGHTERS.

 

(a) Definitions.—Section 2 of the Professional Boxing Safety Act of 1996 (15 U.S.C. 6301) is amended—

(1) by redesignating paragraphs (4) through (15) as paragraphs (5), (6), (7), (9), (10), (11), (12), (13), (14), (15), (16), and (17), respectively;

 

(2) by inserting after paragraph (3) the following:

“(4) FIGHTER.—The term ‘fighter’ means an individual who fights in a professional mixed martial arts competition or other professional combat sport competition.”;

 

(3) by inserting after paragraph (7), as so redesignated, the following:

“(8) COMBAT SPORT COMPETITION.—The term ‘combat sport competition’ means a professional fight that allows fighters to use one or more forms of martial arts, including mixed martial arts. Such term does not include—

“(A) a combat sport that allows the use of a weapon or foreign object; or

 

“(B) a competition that is regulated by an amateur sports organization.”; and

 

(4) by adding at the end the following:

“(18) MIXED MARTIAL ARTS.—The term ‘mixed martial arts’ means a full-contact combat sport that allows fighters to use both striking and grappling techniques, and both standing and on the ground, from a variety of other combat sports and martial arts.”.

 

(b) Conforming Amendments.—

(1) Sections 3 through 21 (other than section 20) of the Professional Boxing Safety Act of 1996 (15 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.) are amended—

(A) by inserting “or fighter” after “boxer” each place it appears;

 

(B) by inserting “and fighters” after “boxers” each place it appears;

 

(C) by inserting “or combat sport competition” after “boxing match” each place it appears;

 

(D) by inserting “and combat sport competitions” after “boxing matches” each place it appears;

 

(E) by inserting “or competition” after “the match” each place it appears; and

 

(F) by striking “boxing service provider” and inserting “boxing or combat sport service provider”.

 

(2) Section 2 of such Act (15 U.S.C. 6301) is further amended—

(A) in paragraph (2), by inserting “and combat sport competitions” after “professional boxing matches”;

 

(B) in paragraphs (3), (6), and (14), by inserting “and fighters” after “boxers” each place it appears;

 

(C) in paragraphs (4), (11), and (13), by inserting “or fighter” after “boxer” each place it appears;

 

(D) in paragraphs (6), (9), and (14), by inserting “or combat sport competition” after “professional boxing match” each place it appears;

 

(E) in paragraph (9), by inserting “or competition” after “the match” each place it appears;

 

(F) in paragraphs (12) and (13), by striking “boxing service provider” and inserting “boxing or combat sport service provider”; and

 

(G) in paragraph (15) by inserting “or combat sports” after “boxing”.

 

(3) Section 3(2) of such Act (15 U.S.C. 6302(2)) is further amended by inserting “and professional combat sports industry” after “professional boxing industry”.

 

(4) Section 4(a) of such Act (15 U.S.C. 6303(a)) is further amended by inserting “and combat sport regulations” after “professional boxing regulations”.

 

(5) Section 6(c) of such Act (15 U.S.C. 6305(c)) is further amended by inserting “and fighting” after “risk associated with boxing”.

 

(6) Section 7(a)(2) of such Act (15 U.S.C. 6306(a)(2)) is further amended by inserting “or compete” after “box”.

 

(7) Section 9 of such Act is further amended—

(A) by striking “Within 2” and inserting the following:

“(a) Boxing Contracts.—Within 2”; and

 

(B) by adding at the end the following:

“(b) Combat Sports Contracts.—Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of the Muhammad Ali Expansion Act, the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) shall develop and shall approve by a vote of no less than a majority of its member State boxing commissioners, guidelines for minimum contractual provisions that should be included in bout agreements and mixed martial arts and other combat sport contracts. It is the sense of the Congress that State boxing commissions should follow these ABC guidelines.”.

 

(8) Section 10(a) of such Act is further amended—

(A) in paragraph (1)(B), by inserting “or fighter’s” after “boxer’s”; and

 

(B) in paragraph (2)—

(i) by striking “This subsection” and inserting “With respect to boxing contracts, this subsection”; and

 

(ii) by adding at the end the following: “With respect to mixed martial arts and other combat sport contracts, this subsection shall only apply to contracts entered into after the date of the enactment of the Muhammad Ali Expansion Act.”.

 

(9) Section 11 of such Act is further amended—

(A) in subsection (a)—

(i) by striking “Within 2” and inserting the following:

“(1) BOXING CONTRACTS.—Within 2”; and

 

(ii) by adding at the end the following:

“(2) COMBAT SPORTS.—Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of the Muhammad Ali Expansion Act, the Association of Boxing Commissions shall develop and shall approve by a vote of no less than a majority of its member State boxing commissioners, guidelines for objective and consistent written criteria for the ratings of mixed martial arts and other combat sports. It is the sense of the Congress that sanctioning bodies and State boxing commissions should follow these ABC guidelines.”; and

 

(B) in subsection (d)(1)(C) is amended by striking “boxer’s rating” and inserting “boxer or fighter’s rating”.

 

(10) Section 13 of such Act is further amended—

(A) in subsection (a), by striking “boxer’s purse” and inserting “boxer or fighter’s purse”; and

 

(B) in subsection (b), by striking “boxer’s purse” and inserting “boxer or fighter’s purse”.

 

(11) Section 17(b)(2)(B) of such Act (15 U.S.C. 6308(b)(2)(B)) is further amended by inserting “, and fighters participating in a mixed martial arts competition or other combat sport competition scheduled for 11 minutes or more” after “10 rounds or more”.

 

(12) Section 18(b)(3) of such Act (15 U.S.C. 6309(b)(3)) is further amended by inserting “or combat sport” after “State boxing”.

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