Capital City Capitalizes On Mma:dc Legalizes The Sport
Capital City Capitalizes on MMA:
DC Legalizes the Sport
By Jim Genia
(January 10th, 2007) Slowly but surely, the sport is taken over the country. By a unanimous vote, the DC Boxing & Wrestling Commission last night legalized professional mixed martial arts in the Nation’s capital — making Washington, DC the latest addition to the growing list of MMA-friendly locales.
"I think that there’s a huge wave on the horizon and DC has got to get near the crest of the wave and ride it on in," said Commission Chairman Dr. Arnold McKnight. "Our citizenry is crying for the intensity that mixed martial arts brings."
In adopting the Unified Rules of MMA (the same rules used by such states as New Jersey and Nevada), the DC Boxing & Wrestling Commission has opened the door for such big promotions as the UFC and IFL, as well as a plethora of smaller events, to come calling — and with a high-capacity venue like the MCI Center in the downtown area, this dense population hub is certainly a prime place for a visit.
Said McKnight: "I’m overwhelmed how [pro] wrestling can sell out at the MCI Center, or at least give us twelve- to seventeen-thousand [in attendance], then at a recent boxing show here in the District we got as few as a thousand people. And yet wrestling can sell out a venue! As you well know, wrestling is scripted. Mixed martial arts is not scripted, and I am sure it’s going to bring a fan base as large as wrestling."
Just how soon can fans expect an event in Washington, DC? "We will have everything in place in six weeks," said McKnight, who mentioned fledgling MMA promoter Omar Olumee as someone already planning to promote a show. What if someone wanted to put on a show sooner than that? "If a promoter said they wanted to put on a show two weeks or three weeks from now, we’d utilize the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board’s referees and judges to make sure the event was carried on in a professional way."
As for the sport’s burgeoning amateur scene, the District of Columbia will follow the Garden State’s lead. "We’re going to meet with the head of the recreation department here in the Nation’s capital," said McKnight. "We want to start staging events here on an amateur level. I talked with [New Jersey Commissioner] Larry Hazzard about that and he thought it was a great idea."
Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Miami, Los Angeles, and now Washington, DC — from the looks of it, mixed martial arts will definitely be coming to a city near you.
For more on the legalization of MMA in Washington, DC,
check out the upcoming issue of Full Contact Fighter.