Department of Public Protection
New Law Covers Amateur Mixed Martial Arts

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, April 29, 2008  
Contact Information:  Jim Carroll, 502-564-7760  

   A bill passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Steve Beshear will make the growing sport of amateur mixed martial arts (MMA) safer in Kentucky.

     House Bill 684, sponsored by Rep. Steve Riggs (D-Louisville), extends regulations enforced by the Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Authority to amateur MMA bouts. Previously, only professional MMA matches were covered. The bill also establishes a medical review panel for the authority.

     The authority’s rules help ensure the safety of participants by requiring a medical exam for each competitor, requiring a ringside physician for each match, and mandating prompt access to an ambulance, among other measures.

     “This was needed legislation and we are glad it has become law,” said Larry Bond, commissioner of the Department of Public Protection, which includes the boxing and wrestling authority. “The legislation will allow some regulation in a contact sport where amateur MMA competitors were exposed to risk and injury by competing in unregulated matches.”

     The medical review panel, which will consist of three to five physicians, will review medical issues that come to the attention of the boxing and wrestling authority. Among their tasks will be reviewing the medical records of competitors and making recommendations to improve health and safety.