WASHINGTON, DC – The Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), held a hearing today examining the regulatory and competitive framework of the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) industry and discussing H.R. 44, the Muhammad Ali Expansion Act, introduced by #SubDCCP member Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK).
Chairman Latta began the hearing by providing brief background on the sport and industry, “The history of mixed martial arts goes back to Ancient Greece, when the first Olympians in the 7th Century B.C. fought. Today’s MMA is far more regulated— all 50 States permit the sport, subject to rules governing issues like banned substances, equipment requirements, round length, weight classes, and allowing referees and physicians to halt a fight to protect the competitors. In some ways MMA is regulated in a manner similar to boxing, however; there are differences.”
Randy Couture, President, Xtreme Couture MMA, spoke to the industry and competitive differences between MMA and professional boxing, “MMA athletes do not have an organized and respected amateur system to establish merit. Unlike in boxing and kick-boxing, MMA promoters do not, and have not been required by the athletic commissions to utilize independent or objective rankings. In addition to the lack of independent rankings, MMA promoters also issue their own championship titles – and in fact, can take them away just as quickly as they award them.”
Marc Ratner, Senior Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs, Ultimate Fighting Championship, shared his perspective on the role of state regulations, “We are proud to report that MMA is regulated by every state, with an athletic commission, and in many countries around the world. This subcommittee should understand that state regulation is real and effective.”
Greg Sirb, Executive Director, Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission, described his state’s current framework for the sport, “Currently in Pennsylvania, we treat the boxer exactly the same as the MMA fighter. Every aspect of the Boxing Act, of the Ali Act, is implemented for the MMA fighter.”
For more information on today’s hearing, including a background memo, witness testimony, and archived webcast, click HERE.