MI cracks down on unregulated MMA

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                                MI cracks down on unregulated MMA

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                    <p style="line-height: 20.8px;">Michigan was one of 13 states that allowed amateur MMA but do not regulate it.</p>

The state so egregiously failed to adequately regulate amateurs that in 2014 the Association of Boxing Commissions took the unprecedented step of asking the member commissions to bar amateur Michigan fighters, or those who have recently competed in Michigan.

Safety in Michigan was left solely in the hands of for-profit promoters. While some promoters were responsible, pre-fight screenings were generally minimal or non-existent, with no tests for AIDS or Hepatitis, fighters under 18 were allowed compete, multiple fights in one night were permitted, no ringside physician was required, no ambulance was required, and more.

This came to a head in 2013, when Felix Elochukwu Nchikwo, a 35-year-old Nigerian living in Hamilton, Ontario on a student visa, died following his participation in an unregulated amateur MMA bout in Michigan.

Last year Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed a regulatory bill into law. And now that law is being enforced. 

 Jameson Cook has the story for the Daily Tribune.

A Clinton Township man is among a handful of people accused of violating new state regulations while operating a Mixed Martial Arts fight club that staged events in Clinton and Kimball townships and Port Huron.

The Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau (CSCL) of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) suspended the professional promoter’s license of the Amateur Fighting Club, owned and managed by Aron Anglebrandt of Kimball Township in St. Clair County.

The CSCL ordered Anglebrandt to “cease and desist from any and all activity requiring a professional promoter’s license,” officials said.

Ramsey Beard, a featherweight fighter from Clinton Township, was among those accused of violating the state Unarmed Combat Regulatory Act, which was amended in February to include amateur MMA events, according to LARA officials. Also accused of violations are Shannon Hale of Redford Township, Joseph Battaglia of Westland and Zhakwarius Johnson of White Lake.

“All amateur Mixed Martial Arts fights in Michigan must operate lawfully, and be state-approved to protect the health, safety, and welfare of all contestants,” LARA Director Shelly Edgerton said in a press release. “We want to ensure that professional and safe environments are provided for the athletes.”

An event scheduled for July 9 at the Angry Bull was postponed Monday until Aug. 13 due to the new regulations, Anglebrandt wrote on his Facebook page late Monday. Anglebrandt said: “With everyone needing to get licence (sic) and blood work and only 9 people having it done and ready to go this is why we are putting it off. It cost so much money now to put on a fight with the insurance and having to pay all the state officials and all the other things all fights need to have.”

The state can take action up to license revocation and a $100,000 fine on top of cost of the investigation and legal fees, said LARA spokeswoman Jeannie Vogel.

Anglebrandt can fight the order and request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge or request a “compliance conference” in which he can “demonstrate compliance” with the law and rules or “admit fault and negotiate a settlement of the formal complaint allegations,” Vogel said. If a hearing is held, the judge issues a report of “findings of fact and conclusions of law” and can recommend a fine. The case then goes to the Unarmed Combat Commission or LARA director.

State officials said the violations include conducting unapproved amateur mixed martial arts contests; allowing contestants to compete without proper licensure; allowing contestants to compete without the proper medical clearance; allowing contestants to compete without submitting the results of required medical tests; aiding and abetting an amateur mixed martial artist to act as a contestant without a license; aiding and abetting a referee to act as a referee without a license; failing to ensure that an inspector and a trained, licensed referee were present during the entire event; failing to ensure that there were three licensed judges present to evaluate all bouts; failing to report the results of each contest to CSCL, including any physician recommendations; failing to provide contracts between the promoter and the contestants to CSCL; engaging in fraud, deceit, or dishonesty in performing the duties of a promoter; participating in a sham or fake contest or event; and engaging in conduct that is detrimental to a contest or exhibition.

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