by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
The growth of mixed martial arts in America just took another step forward as the state of Arizona recently pass legislation introduced by state representative Jonathan Paton that will allow the state boxing commission to oversee and regulate the sport of MMA.
This new law will allow the boxing commission to use the regulations first introduced by the New Jersey State Athletic Commission that are widely known throughout MMA as the “unified rules” to sanction and regulate professional MMA.
Stricter medical testing and licensing for fighters and promoters will also allow the state to invite the most widely recognized forms of MMA into the state for the first time ever.
Legendary MMA fighter and trainer, Ken Shamrock, was one of many advocates involved with getting the law passed in the state of Arizona.
“I wanted to clear up any misconceptions members had about MMA. It is far from the ‘human cock-fighting’ analogy used years ago by John McCain,” said Shamrock in a press release. “There are rules in place to ensure the safety of participants. Over the years fighters have sustained fewer injuries during MMA competitions than in boxing. Mixed Martial Arts is a legitimate sport that takes considerable skill and intelligence.”
It is interesting to note that McCain, who is currently running on the Republican ticket for president, is a Senator from the state of Arizona.
Also helping out with the effort to sway lawmakers were Arizona based fighters such as Jamie Varner and Arizona Combat Sports lead trainer Trevor Lally, who said that the new rules will not only institute the correct policies, but it will entice professional MMA fighters to seek out Arizona.
“What we stressed to them is when you’re going to go to professional rules, you’re going to get the professional athletes,” stated Lally. “And with professional athletes, all the kids that fight down here out of their garage on a week’s notice, or a week’s training, just because they say they’re a cage fighter, that’s going to go bye-bye. No one’s going to want to put their kid in against a kid who’s actually seasoned with these types of rules.”
It’s the professional aspect of the new rules and regulations that Lally feels will make the sport legitimate in his home state.
“It was almost giving the sport a very amateur look to it, basically it was amateur here,” commented Lally about previous MMA competitions in the state. “But now with the new rules, the really trained fighters, the professionally trained fighters, the guys that actually know what they’re doing once they get in there and are actually prepared for it are going to make this sport look a whole lot better with the legislative (body), the crowd, the promoters. It’s just going to be better for everybody.”
The new law was signed by Governor Janet Napolitano and will officially go into effect 90 days after the legislation ends.