(Photo: Daniel Mears / Detroit News, file)
Last Wednesday , Michigan House of Representatives approved a bill to add safety checks to amateur mixed martial arts fights.
The plan would add regulations for amateur MMA fights in the state such as required weigh-ins, score tabs and state-approved hand wraps. It would also bar minors from fights, create a new fine for those who violate the rules and require the state to establish official weight classes for amateur fights — one of the most important changes the bill would make, supporters argue.
The GOP-controlled House approved the bill 107-1 last Wednesday, with one Republican voting against it. It is heading back to the Senate for a final concurrence vote before it will likely be sent to Snyder.
The legislation would allow the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to levy a $10,000 fine on an amateur fighter who breaks the state’s MMA rules.
“LARA was very supportive of this legislation that would allow the department to administer the act more efficiently and move the state inline with national standards regarding weight classes,” said LARA spokesman Jason Moon
There was no debate in the House and no one argued against the legislation in panel hearings. Rep. Steven Johnson, R-Wayland Township, was the sole House lawmaker to vote against it, but did not give a public explanation to his colleagues.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. David Robertson, R-Grand Blanc, passed the Senate 38-0 in May.
It follows new MMA regulations Robertson also sponsored that Snyder signed into law in 2015 requiring testing for blood-borne diseases like HIV, AIDS and hepatitis. The plan also required blood tests for drugs and alcohol, created official weight classes and financial penalties for event organizers who break the rules.
Another bill Snyder signed in 2015 sponsored by former Rep. Harvey Santana, D-Detroit, made it a felony for a fight promoter to set up a bout between an amateur and a professional fighter.
Santana called for action in 2013 after an amateur MMA fighter died during a match in Port Huron that year.
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