Full Contact Fighter Database







Sunday, Jul 22, 2001

It’s A Tko-mixed Martial Arts Sanctioned In Nevada!

Nevada Commission
It’s a TKO-
Mixed Martial Arts Sanctioned in Nevada!

MMA Garners Unanimous Approval
by Nevada Athletic Commission

By Aaron Crecy

LAS VEGAS–It was an anticlimactic finish to a life and death struggle, a hasty, uncontested vote following a morning of monotonous discussion on minutia. Mixed martial arts, a sport that had at one time all but disappeared from the minds–and television sets–of the general public, was suddenly thrust into the mainstream. That’s because on the morning of July 23rd, the Nevada Athletic Commission voted unanimously to sanction MMA competitions. Now, a sport that has long enjoyed only a cult-like following will soon bask under the bright lights of the Las Vegas strip alongside the likes of boxing and even professional wrestling.

The MMA industry was prominently represented at the public hearing by delegates from Pride Fighting Championships, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, King of the Cage and the International Fighting Championships. And though each of these organizations worked diligently with the Nevada Athletic Commission to develop a uniform set of rules and regulations, there was ample surprise that the vote was so swift and with such little fanfare.

Those in attendance looked at one another almost as if to ask, "Was that it?" And much to everyone’s delight, it was. Thus, it was with a sigh of relief and an air of encouragement that the sport finally earned the legitimacy it has sought.

Lorenzo Fertitta and Marc Ratner
Led by Chairman Dr. Elias Ghanem–teleconferencing from San Diego, where he is receiving treatment for cancer–the Nevada Athletic Commission adopted the same set of rules that were approved by the New Jersey Athletic Control Board, with several slight modifications. Though Dr. Flip Homansky joined Dr. Ghanem as a vocal supporter of MMA, the outcome was by no means a formality–because while Amy Ayoub maintained a neutral air throughout, fellow commissioners Glenn Carano and Dr. Luther Mack voiced several concerns. However, executive director Marc Ratner–who does not vote but whose opinion is highly respected by the Commission–appeared to side with Drs. Ghanem and Homansky, which proved to be a boon for MMA.

Celebrating its 60th year in existence, the five-member Nevada Athletic Commission is appointed by the Governor to regulates all contests and exhibitions of unarmed combat, including licensure and supervision of promoters, boxers, professional wrestlers, kickboxers, seconds, ring officials, managers, and matchmakers.

The coming out party in Nevada will take place on September 28, 2001 when UFC 33 becomes the first MMA event in state history. Taking place at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, the event also marks the UFC’s return to cable pay-per-view television on iN DEMAND. Shortly after it voted to sanction MMA, the Commission voted unanimously once again to grant Mandalay Bay’s application to promote the historic event. Upon review of its application, the Commission is also expected to approve Zuffa LLC–the UFC ownership group led by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta III–as co-promoters.

King Of The Cage reps
But the UFC’s competitors will be fast on its heels, as Pride, KOTC and the IFC are among the organizations that plan to host events in Nevada in late 2001 and early 2002. Of these, Pride promises to present the greatest and most immediate threat to the UFC U.S. market share.

Unlike the uniform rules adopted in Nevada and New Jersey, the Japan-based Pride organization does not utilize weight classes, has a longer first round and allows knees and kicks to the head when an opponent is on all fours, among other things.
Pride reps Hideki Yamamoto and Yukino Kanda
However, Pride spokesperson Yukino Kanda said that her organization would gladly adopt the required rules in order to hold an event in Las Vegas. And though it has no plans to change its format in Japan, it has already applied for a license to promote its show in Nevada.

Given Nevada’s influence in the world of combat sports, executive director Ratner is optimistic that other states will soon follow suit. To help facilitate the process, he plans to distribute the approved rules at the annual convention for the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC), July 25 – 28 in New Orleans.

"I give a lot of credit to the New Jersey Athletic Commission and commissioner [Larry] Hazzard," said Ratner. "There is an agenda item to talk about mixed martial arts [in New Orleans] and we will give this to all the different states. I don’t know if it will be adopted at this particular convention but it will certainly be started there. I think it will be nationwide very soon."

Nevada Rules Adaptations

While the Nevada Athletic Commission for the most part implemented the same set of rules that are already in place in New Jersey, they did include several unique modifications.

  • Promoters must schedule a fight card consisting of 20 total rounds
  • A dropped mouthpiece must be rinsed before being returned to a fighter when there is a break in the action
  • Weigh-ins: Fighters weighing in at 147 lbs. or below can cut two pounds in two hours, while fighters weighing in at 148 lbs. Can cut three pounds in two hours
  • Promoters must have television monitors in place so that fans can view the combatants when a fight goes to the ground
  • The Commission will designate a minimum height for a ring and a cage; it will also make a determination on whether or not to have a mandatory ring apron


Coleman Out

On July 23rd, Japan time, Dream Stage Entertainment will announce Marc Coleman’s withdrawal from PRIDE-15. He was scheduled to face Rodrigo Nogueira. However, due to the aggravation of a knee injury which originally occurred some time before his participation in a pro-wrestling match on July 20th, DSE accepted the request from his management and decided that Coleman would be replaced by Gary Goodridge.
posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
Have a comment about this story? Please share with us by filling out the fields below.

Comments are closed.