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Tag: MMA regulation

Man Dies After Competing in Unregulated Michigan MMA Event


Photo of Felix Pablo Elochukwu via BloodyElbow

Thirty Five year-old Felix Pablo Elochukwu died Saturday night in Michigan after fighting in the AFC Unleash the Beast event. Elochukwu lost his fight via third round stoppage and soon collapsed while sitting on a chair, according to Sports Net. Despite being tended to by paramedics and being taken to a hospital, Elochukwu died shortly after.

Sometime in the third round, Elochukwu was mounted and was not intelligently defending what were deemed to be soft hammer fists. The referee made the decision to halt the bout, potentially believing that Pablo was not going to be able to improve the position he was in.

“Elochukwu appeared to be fine during the announcement of the final decision and walked away on his own accord, albeit, with some assistance to ensure the fatigued fighter could make it to a seat.

When he did sit down, those around him noticed something was wrong and offered him some orange juice, believing his blood sugar may have dropped significantly. He then fell off the chair, where paramedics were called in to assist.

They showed up within minutes and apparently revived him, but took him away to be safe, likely to the nearest hospital. Shortly thereafter, Elochukwu passed away, and it is currently unknown if he did so en route to the hospital, or at the medical facility,” SportsNet reports.

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Despite His Hatred of MMA, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard Will Sign Bill to Create State Athletic Commission


(Time to put some new heroes on that boring old rock. Illustration via Sherdog/Erik Ebeling)

On July 1st of this year, South Dakota will officially become the 46th U.S. state to regulate mixed martial arts. The news was broken on Friday by reporter David Montgomery at the Argus Leader, who confirmed that S.D. Governor Dennis Daugaard will sign the bill creating an athletic commission in the state, despite his personal distaste for cage-fighting.

One thing I’ve learned about this cagefighting, it’s going on now, and it’s going on in an unregulated fashion,” Daugaard told Montgomery. “I know some of the proponents of this bill made the argument that regulating it would create more safety than exists today, and I have to agree that’s true…Would I like this kind of thing to not occur at all in South Dakota? I would, yes. It doesn’t deserve the word sport in my mind.”

If you’ll recall, the proposal to regulate MMA in South Dakota was the subject of controversy last month, as Daugaard blasted “the bloody violence that those kinds of spectacles create,” while State Representative Steve Hickey torpedoed any chance for a civilized debate when he compared the sport to child porn, then got into an ill-advised blog war with Seth Falvo. Nevertheless, the athletic commission bill was passed overwhelmingly by votes in the South Dakota Senate and House of Representatives, and will now be signed into law by Daugaard. Score one for the good guys.

With the addition of South Dakota to the MMA map, only New York, Connecticut, Montana, and Alaska remain as the holdout states that don’t formally regulate professional MMA competition. Alaska lacks an athletic commission, though MMA events are still regularly held there. (Remember Gerald Fike getting slinky-KO’d? That happened in Fairbanks.) And of course, Montana remains a hotbed of flying-motorcycle vale tudo.

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UFC Scores Major Victory in Legal Battle With New York State; Promotion Could Begin Holding Events Under Third-Party Sanctioning


(Is this real life? / Dream-fight poster via NixsonDesign)

A hearing yesterday afternoon related to the UFC’s ongoing lawsuit against the State of New York — which challenges the validity of the state’s 1997 MMA ban on constitutional grounds — ended in the UFC’s greatest victory thus far in its fight to hold events in the Empire State. Jim Genia was on the scene at the U.S District Court of the Southern District of New York, and broke the news for Fightline.com:

In what was supposed to be a day of oral arguments pertaining to the State Attorney General’s most recent motion to dismiss, attorney John M. Schwartz — representing the Attorney General’s office — acknowledged unequivocally that the law prohibiting pro MMA did not apply to amateur versions of the sport, and that as per the statute, a pre-approved third-party sanctioning body could oversee MMA events in the state. The admission of the latter prompted the counsel representing Zuffa’s interests to say that if that were truly the case, then there’d be no further need to pursue the lawsuit – which in turn prompted the presiding Judge Kimba Wood of the U.S District Court of the Southern District of New York to push both sides to immediately settle…

Notwithstanding whether a settlement is reached, the door is now open for Zuffa — or any other MMA promotion — to circumvent the ban by utilizing one of the pre-approved sanctioning bodies enumerated in the statute. Those sanctioning bodies include the World Karate Association (since renamed the World Kickboxing Association, a.k.a. the “WKA”), the Professional Karate Association and the U.S. Judo Association, among others…

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Autopsy Shows Amateur Fighter Dustin Jenson Died of Unrelated Blunt Force Trauma


Jenson, pictured on the right (black shorts), died of a seizure after competing in an unregulated MMA event.

On May 18th, twenty-six year old Sturgis, South Dakota native Dustin Jenson competed in an unregulated Ring Wars event in South Dakota. Although Jenson was quickly submitted by a triangle choke by Hayden Hensrud, he took no significant blows to the head and remained conscious after he tapped out. However, shortly after the fight Dustin was found by another fighter having a seizure. He was rushed to Rapid City Regional Hospital, where he would eventually die on May 24th.

An autopsy has revealed that blunt force trauma suffered the week before his fight is the official cause of Dustin Jenson’s untimely demise. As The Rapid City Journal reports:

The autopsy indicated the cause of death was a subdural hemorrhage resulting from blunt force trauma to the head. A subdural hemorrhage is a collection of blood on the surface of the brain and often causes brain injury and death.

The cause was related to an injury about a week earlier, according to the autopsy. The Sheriff’s Office said there is no conclusive evidence the injury was sustained in the fight.

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New York Drops the Ball Once Again, Will Not Regulate MMA in 2012


(Sheldon Silver: Son of a bitch.)

You know, there was a time when we believed that an online petition could change the world. Ah, the naivete of youth. But despite years of UFC lobbying efforts and fan support, MMA is still at square one when it comes to regulation in New York State. In what has become an annual letdown, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver — who has never been an ally of the sport — determined during a closed-door meeting yesterday that a bill seeking to legalize MMA in New York didn’t have enough support to pass. According to a New York Daily News report, the circumstances seemed profoundly shady:

The decision not to bring the bill to the floor helped highlight a growing split between younger members of the Assembly and older lawmakers, insiders said. “[Silver] is still siding with a dwindling number of aging veterans,” one source in the room griped.

The source said after eight people had spoken in favor of legalizing MMA and eight against, Silver called on members who don’t support the bill to raise their hands. About 25 members did. Then he asked for a show of hands of those who support it before saying that it looked even, the source said. 

An upstate member who supports the measure complained it didn’t look even to her, the source said…The speaker took another informal vote, with 25 again raising their hands against. The “ayes” seemingly had more than 60, the source said.

Silver then said others had expressed opposition privately and that the votes weren’t there to move the bill.

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Wyoming to Create First Ever MMA-Only Commission Starting July 1st


(Pictured: Wyoming’s remaining residents react to the great news.) 

After becoming the 45th state (we’re looking at you, New York) to regulate mixed martial arts last Thursday, when current Governor Matt Mead signed House Bill 87 into law, Wyoming will become the first state to assemble a commission focused entirely on MMA. As we know, boxing and athletic commissions carry this responsibility in many of the states that have legalized MMA, and this is where Wyoming ran into trouble in the first place. In the past ten years, state lawmakers have attempted to reinstate the position of State Boxing Commissioner, who would then be placed in charge of MMA regulation, five separate times, but were met with overwhelming opposition from the state’s boxing industry.

The bill to legalize the sport was unanimously approved on Thursday by Wyoming State Senate and House of Representatives, and though MMA was never dubbed “illegal” in Wyoming, all fights held within the state until this point were not recognized on fighter’s records due to a lack of a sanctioning body to regulate the sport.

Now here’s where things get interesting: the committee will consist of three individuals appointed by Gov. Mead and will be funded by a five percent tax on gross receipts from all MMA events. This stipulation apparently has local promoters and fighters up in arms, fearing that the tax will discourage big name promotions like the UFC from visiting the state. Because, you know, Wyoming was next on Dana White’s agenda after he figured out this whole “international takeover” thing. Wyoming hosts an average of 20 mixed martial arts events a year, with the average crowd holding strong at around 500-700 attendees. Local fight promoter Stephen Alley told the Casper Star-Tribune that he believes this additional fee will crush the already depleted MMA scene, telling the publication in an interview that, “If they bring in a commission, most of the people that you see operating right now, they won’t be around.”

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Logic Taps Out: Politicians Seek To Ban MMA In Watertown, South Dakota

“30-27, Leonard Garcia”

The latest political maneuverings straight from the Bob Reilly MMA Cock-Blocking For Dummies handbook are coming courtesy of the sleepy town of Watertown, South Dakota. Once again, a knee jerk reaction to emotional appeal has triumphed over common sense to help ban our sport from another city’s stage. While a serious, tragic event has shaped the decision in this case, the actions of Mayor Gary Williams and Watertown City Council are not just an affront to MMA, but to logic itself.

What we know is this: Late in the evening on March 13th, local MMA trainer Jerrin Stulken was involved in a street fight with Justin Jaton. Both men had been drinking in “uptown” Waterford. Jalton was severely injured in the fight, and this past Thursday he died as a result of those injuries. Stulken now faces charges of either second-degree murder or first-degree manslaughter. What we also know, but can’t at all understand, is that entire sport of Mixed Martial Arts has now been put on trial and found guilty by the city’s local government, which has banned promotions from staging events at the city’s event centers while it pursues full-scale prohibition. As you can imagine, we respectfully disagree with their decision.

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MMA Loses Another Battle in New York; State Assembly Pulls Sport From Budget Bill

UFC 111 poster New York City
(So the UFC is too brutal for New York, but children are allowed to see "Mamma Mia"? Explain that one to me. / Photo courtesy of graciemag.com.)

NYDailyNews.com breaks the unfortunate turn of events:

ALBANY – The push to legalize ultimate fighting in New York is on the ropes. Assembly Democrats stripped approval for the wildly popular violent sport from a budget bill that lawmakers will take up as soon as today.

Gov. Paterson sought to legalize mixed martial arts, saying fights could pull in more than $2 million in tax revenue for the cash-strapped state.

"The majority of voices who spoke about this issue in our conference were not supportive of approving it as part of the budget," said Assemblyman Steven Englebright (D-L.I.), a fight fan. Englebright said it’s a long shot the Assembly will revisit the issue. The state Senate has already approved the sport.

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Report: New York Governor to Endorse MMA Legalization in Budget Proposal This Month


(An open mind, and the ability to pull tall chicks. Gotta love this dude.)

From NYDailyNews.com:

ALBANY – Gov. Paterson is set to propose legalizing ultimate fighting and its controversial steel-cage matches to help wrestle the state’s fiscal woes.
 
Madison Square Garden and upstate venues have supported the idea in hopes of hosting its events. An Ultimate Fighting Championship league match scheduled for Newark in March sold out last week.
 
Paterson, who has said the state faces a deficit of up to $9 billion, is looking for ways to generate revenue without raising taxes or borrowing and will reveal his proposal in his 2009-10 budget plan Jan. 19, sources told the Daily News.
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‘Legalize MMA’ — The Movie


(Props: EckoMMA)

As longtime supporters of MMA regulation in New York, we’re thrilled that 2010 could finally be the year the sport loses its outlaw status in the Empire State. But there’s a long way to go before we can start celebrating. In this new short film from Bobby Razak and Marc Ecko, a host of fighters and other MMA personalities discuss the legalization efforts and challenges that they’ve faced in New York, as well as in Ontario, Canada. "Legalize MMA" highlights the inherent irony of the MMA regulation struggle in NY — that such a famous fight town, which is progressive on so many other issues, continues to marginalize the most modern and pure form of combat sports. Unfortunately, many of New York’s athletic commission officials remain the least educated about MMA as it exists today, clinging instead to outdated stereotypes of the sport’s brutality. "Madison Square Garden is a validator of great, iconic sports and athletes," Ecko says. For him, as well as interviewees like Frank Shamrock and reporter Ariel Helwani, the building stands as a symbol of the mainstream acceptance that MMA is closing in on, but hasn’t quite captured yet. Part two of the film is after the jump.

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