MMA in Maine Makes Legislative Headway

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                                MMA in Maine Makes Legislative Headway 

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                    <p><strong>Proposal to Allow Mixed Martial Arts in Maine Makes Legislative Headway</strong><br />



The Maine House has overwhelmingly approved legislation allowing mixed martial arts competition in Maine by a vote of 119 to 17.  Supporters point out that several of the top-rated mixed martial arts fighters are from Maine, yet they can't compete in their own state.  According to Capitol News Service, they also argue that allowing the fights would give the economy a boost.



Rep. Matthew Petersen, a Rumford Democrat who's sponsoring the bill, says the sport is now "regulated and recognized by the world's most pretigious sports regulatory bodies."



"According to the Ohio Athletic Commission, this single MMA (mixed martial arts) event produced $11 million in external economic activity for the city," Petersen said.

 

But opponents argue that the mixed martial arts competition is nothing more than fighting with little oversight, and that it sets a bad example for kids. They say the state should not be allowing events that are bound to be violent, vicious and bloody and brutal. The proposal faces further votes in both the House and Senate.


 

 The full article here.  As much as I appreciate the enthusiasm from Marcus and Matt on this, come on, the UFC isn't coming here.  There is no venue in the state that could hold it.  Now I could completely see the WEC holding an event at the civic center in Portland, especially if Mike Brown is still the champ at the time or I guess if he's on it at all. 




Martial arts fights near final approval




By Mal Leary

Capitol News Service

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AUGUSTA, Maine — Legislation that would allow mixed martial arts fights in Maine has received all but final approval from lawmakers, and Gov. John Baldacci says he will consider signing the measure after his administration opposed a similar bill earlier this year.


“The original bill had the Department [of Public Safety] regulating it, and there was just not the expertise and staff to handle it,” Baldacci said in an interview. “That is not what is called for now.”


The measure passed by the House and Senate is a different bill from that crafted by the Business, Research and Economic Development Committee. The new measure would establish the Mixed Martial Arts Authority of Maine to regulate and promote mixed martial arts competitions, exhibitions and events. The governor would appoint the five members to the authority.


“This legislation provides for the oversight of what is one of the fastest-growing sports,” said Rep. Matthew Petersen, D-Rumford, sponsor of the original bill. “Maine is missing out on a golden opportunity to bring in new revenues.”


Mixed martial arts is defined in the bill as a combative sport for compensation that features a mixture of karate, jiu-jitsu, muay thai, tae kwon do, boxing, kick boxing, wrestling, judo, and striking and grappling techniques.


Gov. Baldacci said he is willing to consider signing the bill and plans to speak with both supporters and opponents if the measure is enacted. The House passed the bill 119-17 and the Senate gave it all but final approval without debate or a recorded vote.


“I know there is a big fan base for this, “Baldacci said. “At the same time, as I watch it, it is very graphic.”


Bob Williams, the deputy chief of the Maine State Police, testified against the original bill, questioning whether the state should get involved in supporting such “vicious” events.


“The legislation would have the state of Maine officially sanctioning events that are bound to be bloody and brutal and potentially deadly to the persons involved in the fighting,” he said.


That concern also was expressed during the House debate with Rep. Joe Wagner, D-Lyman, arguing that mixed martial arts contests are not a sport. He said unlike boxing rules, mixed martial arts contests can be very brutal, even sadistic.


“I see this as a human demolition derby,” he said. “Now, there are rules, but not rules created by the Marquis de Queensbury but [rules] by the Marquis de Sade.”


Supporters argued that while not everyone may like the events and that some may find them brutal, they are no more violent than other contact sports such as boxing and football.


“I am a martial artist, a first- and second-degree Black Belt for many years,” said Rep. Kerri Prescott, R-Topsham. “I believe martial artists sometimes get a bad rap. The word ‘violence’ often comes up. Martial artists are actually a very passive group of people, and the words control and discipline come to my mind.”


Marcus Davis of Bangor, a mixed martial arts fighter, testified for the original legislation.


He wants to see state regulation and licensing with use of the standardized rules of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He described that organization as the “big league” of the sport that has worked out a lot of the rules and regulations needed to oversee the matches.


Davis told lawmakers that UFC matches draw large crowds and often are televised. He predicted the state would see events that will spur the economy if they are allowed.


“The UFC will come to Maine. I can’t say what town, but they will come here,” he said.


Rep. Petersen said a single event held in Columbus, Ohio, was estimated by the Ohio Athletic Commission to have brought $11 million in economic activity to the area.


“The UFC itself purchases 600 hotel rooms when they bring an event to town, “he said.


Public Utilities Commissioner Jack Cashman also supported the original legislation. He served as the commissioner of economic development before being named to the Public Utilities Commission.


“I think this is an economic development opportunity,” he said. Jayson Allain, the head wrestling coach at Foxcroft Academy, told lawmakers at the public hearing that allowing the matches would help the sporting community in Maine and the state’s economy.


“We can wrap a vacation around watching a competition,” he said. “We can bring a lot of people to the state if we do this right.”


The measure faces final votes in the House and Senate before it goes to the governor for his consideration.



" Grittys: from what I have heard there is a very good chance the UFC would come to Maine. And that is from very good sources."

Seth, there is a zero point zero percent chance of that happening unless it was a small fight night show. The civic center is a fucking dump of an arena. It only holds maybe 7 thousand. I don't see why Dana would come here when he could go to the Verizon Center in Manchester or get the final approvals needed for the Boston Garden. Hey, I would love for the event to be here, I just don't see how.

"Isn't portland building a brand new arena?"



No, not even close. We've blown good chances at getting new ones and now we are just stuck with this relic of 1976 or whenever it was built. Like I said, I'm sure you could do a WEC up here but the glitz and glamour of the UFC simply couldn't be done here.



Dana went to school in the Boston area not Maine, right?



Anyway, we'll still be able to do smaller local shows at the Portland Expo and perhaps something up in the Bangor area. Got some good fighters around here that are sick of travelling everywhere else. 



You're further up north Seth?  Hell, at least Bangor actually has a new arena planned and somewhat set to go thanks to the money from the slots up there. 

Thanks, guys.

Let's keep it positive as we move through the final stages of the process and hopefully see the Governor sign this bill. It's taken a village to get this far. Despite how far we've come it's easy for us as fans to forget that there is still a significant element out there that doesn't understand the sport and is dead-set on seeing us relegated back to the dark days. I've been tangoing with those folks at least once-a-day for the last five months here in the Leg.

Whether it's the UFC or the WEC, we'd love to have 'em here in Maine. Mike Brown is a Maine native. Marcus Davis, Dale Hartt, and Tim Boestch all on the same UFC card--all from Maine--doesn't sound like such a bad show to me. UFC Fight Night in Marcus' hometown of Bangor? Whatever the scenario, it would be good for Zuffa and good for Maine.

Thanks to all the members of the UG for your support of this initiative over the past several months. We're not home yet and it's too soon to celebrate, but we're on our way and it's looking good. Continue to stay positive!