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California MMA Resurrected:
November 8th Public Forum Scheduled to Notice Rules and Regulations
By Loretta Hunt
It was a single document, Bill # 1549 sponsored by Senator Liz Figueroa of Fremont, which quietly made its way to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk last Wednesday and changed the course of mixed martial arts in the Golden State forever. Schwarzenegger signed off on the bill that extended the life of various licensing boards, including the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC), and whose verbiage finally clarified that the CSAC "has complete management and control of professional ans amateur boxing, kickboxing, as well as all forms and combinations of martial arts contests including mixed martial arts."
"We’ve been working for years to try and bring MMA to California," said an elated Dean Lohuis, Interim Executive Officer of the CSAC. "The end is in sight."
Up till this point, MMA in California had been in virtual limbo, even though rule and regulations for the sport had been drafted and adopted by the CSAC some three years ago, and other states like New Jersey and Nevada had gone on to use variations of these guidelines with success of their own. Yet in California, the fledging sport had always hit a brick wall in the Dept. of Consumer Affairs and its budget office, which oversees the Athletic Commission and its spending. "They had questions, not budgetary, but whether we had the regulation authority," explains Lohuis. "That was the reason that the Department of Consumer Affairs would not approve it, because the budget office did not believe that the language was strong enough that we had the ability to regulate mixed martial arts. The question all along was whether the California State Athletic Commission had the authority to regulate MMA."
With a stroke of Governor Schwarzenegger’s pen, that quandary has been unequivocally answered, and Lohuis says he and his staff have wasted no time in taking the necessary steps to get MMA up and running in the State. According to Lohuis, a proposed budget has already been sent to the appropriate officials, with a decision expected by the end of this week or the beginning of next. Although there is the chance the committee could ask the Commission to scale back on their monetary requests, the budget office can no longer turn down the proposal and will have to come to some figure one way or another. Lohuis is confident the submitted budget will pass.
In addition, the already tentatively approved MMA rules and regulations for California State have been picked back up and dusted off, and will be "noticed" at a public meeting currently scheduled for November 8th. Lohuis says this meeting will be a public forum where the mixed martial arts community can review, discuss and voice its concerns regarding the soon-to-be implemented guidelines. "We want to make sure these rules and regulations are [with] how the sport has evolved," he says. The CSAC is requesting that all those interested in attending acquire a copy of the revised rules beforehand at www.dca.ca.gov./csac (click on Laws and Regulations for the June 17, 2003 Proposed Regulations pdf at the bottom of the page and check back for announcement of venue). Within those regulations, MMA had been identified as Full Contact Martial Arts, with revisions both underlined and crossed-out. Additional questions have been directed to the CSAC Sacramento office at (916) 263-2195.
In the CSAC office, application drafts have already been sent to its legal counsel for review, and pending approval, fighters, promoters, and officials may soon be able to register in one of the most culturally rich MMA states in the nation. When all is said and done, how soon will fans be able to catch a fully sanctioned MMA event in California? Says Lohuis, "We’re gonna shoot for the beginning of 2005."
CLARK COUNTY (NEV.) JUDGE DENIES MOTION TO PREVENT
UFC® FROM HOLDING WELTERWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT, OCT. 22
Former Welterweight Champ BJ Penn Sought To Stop Title Bout
LAS VEGAS, NEV., September 30, 2004…The scheduled Ultimate Fighting Championship® welterweight title fight between former champion Matt Hughes (37-4-0) from Hillsboro, Ill., and Georges St. Pierre (7-0-0) of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, will come off as scheduled October 22 at UFC 50: War Of 04 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ, following the recent (Tuesday, Sept. 28) ruling by a Clark County (Nev.) judge that denied a motion by former champion BJ Penn that sought to prevent the title bout.
Clark County (Nev.) District Court Judge Ken Cory denied the motion and an official court order concerning the denial will be issued in the near future.
"The judge listened to hours of legal arguments and testimony, then ruled that BJ did not have the right to stop the UFC welterweight championship from taking place on October 22. We are pleased that the judge did not allow BJ to use the court system to prevent us from conducting our business," said Dana White, UFC president. "We have no hard feelings towards BJ and wish him well with his career in K-1."
Penn won the UFC welterweight title January 31 in Las Vegas with a first-round, tap out victory over Hughes. But he then signed a contract to fight in K-1, an international kickboxing organization.
From the event’s promoter:
FEDOR EMELIANENKO MAKES A STOP ON THE ROAD TO THE TITLES
PRIDE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION TO ATTEND EUPHORIA
Atlantic City, New Jersey — PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko makes a stop on The Road To The Titles in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Red Devil Fight Team stand out will attend Euphoria at the Tropicana Casino and Resort on Friday, October 15, 2004. When asked why he would take time away from training for his upcoming PRIDE fight, Emelianenko replied, "I look to support a quality production" in Euphoria. This will be the first visit to the United States for the 28-year-old who won the title in March 2003, ending the 3-year undefeated streak of Antonio Rodrigo Noqueira.
Euphoria looks to bring world class fighters to their ring "one day maybe I fight in Euphoria," said Emelianenko, from his home in St. Petersburg, Russia. The European and World Sambo champion shows he believes Euphoria has great potential by personally attending the first round in a series of tournaments to crown Euphoria champions.
Euphoria fans will have an opportunity to meet one of the hardest hitters in the sport of MMA at an autograph session scheduled before the start of the fights.
From the event’s promoter:
Combat Zone Results
Combat Zone 8: Street Justice
Oct. 2, 2004 @ Club Lido, Revere, MA
Trilogy/Black Belt Productions
Mixed Martial Arts
Next Show: Combat Zone 9, December 4, @ Club Lido, Revere (MA)