Mass expects final bill to be approved by 11/18

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                                Mass expects final bill to be approved by 11/18

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                    <p><strong>Martial arts closer to being regulated</strong><br />

The House has now joined the Senate in passing legislation to regulate mixed martial arts fights in Massachusetts, a move supporters say could attract large events to places like Boston's TD Garden.

State Sen. James Timilty, D-Walpole, said there are some differences between the Senate and House versions of the bills that have to be reconciled, but he expects a final bill to be approved by Nov. 18.

The bills would give the state Boxing Commission the authority to regulate the fights as it oversees boxing.

It also would set safety standards, age limits and require doctors to be on the scene of an event.

Mixed martial arts, or MMA, is enormously popular on television, but Timilty said some of the largest promoters will not hold events in Massachusetts because of the lack of regulation. Promoters who do operate in Massachusetts have said they support the regulations and are already observing most of the requirements.

"MMA has considerable support across the commonwealth and within my district," said state Rep. Bill Bowles, D-Attleboro. "I believe this piece of legislation is the best way to regulate this vastly popular and growing sport by maintaining state and local involvement in its development."

Timilty said he believes the regulations will bring large, profitable events to the state.

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