Questions Still Remain Ahead of 10/1/15 Amateur MMA Regulations

by Felix Falcon

As we reported back in February, a new amendment to the legislation that oversees MMA/Boxing in the state was voted into law earlier this year. Whereas the state has never regulated the amateur MMA market before, starting October 1st, they will be overseeing and approving individual sanctioning organizations that in turn would regulate amateur MMA/Boxing promotions held within the Commonwealth.

One of the biggest impacts of this new regulation, for fighters, is that effective October 1st, amateur competitors will be required to have blood work done (HIV, Hep B & C) within 180 days prior to an event they are competing in.

With less than three weeks from the implementation date of the new legislation, however, there are still many questions as to how these new regulations will be rolled out. MMAinVA.com reached out to DPOR (the State’s regulatory body for Boxing and MMA) and here are some of the answers we have been able to find out so far.

Applications for sanctioning organizations have been available at the DPOR website since August 10th. There are no deadlines for an organization to apply and the information for approved organizations will be listed publicly on DPOR’s website. Per Mary Broz Vaughan, spokesperson for DPOR, they have not received any completed application packages to date.

If multiple organizations are approved (which DPOR hopes is the case) it will be the up to the individual promoters to select which one to use for their events.

The most interesting part of the communication Ms. Broz Vaughan sent us, regarding questions on whether the approved sanctioning organizations or DPOR itself would regulate things like modified rules, age limits for competitors, protective gear, etc., reads as follows:

“Amateur Sanctioning Organizations will operate under their own internal Standards & Operations, but in order to obtain the required state approval, the statute passed by the General Assembly mandates they be at least as strict as the law and regulations applicable to professional events/participants regulated by DPOR.”

So, it looks like the very minimum baseline needed to be approved as a sanctioning organization has to be in line with what the state mandates for its professional events and fighters.

Following that logic, and reading through the application itself, sanctioning organizations will have to prove that they comply with the minimum age requirement, pursuant to DPOR’s administrative code 18VAC120-40-70(B) which states that a fighter has to be at least 18 years of age.  So, we gather that amateur fighters under the age of 18 will no longer be allowed to compete in the state after 10/1.

It seems that all other rule modifications will be up to the discretion of the sanctioning organizations, once approved.

There are still questions we are trying to figure out at the time, like whether amateur fighters will need to apply for licensure, and whether that would be through DPOR or through one (or every single) approved sanctioning organization. If that is the case, when/where will the applications be available? Also, we want to know if there will be an implemented method for all approved sanctioning organizations to share/look up information regarding fighter suspensions, which will take that burden off individual promoters.

We will keep our eyes out for as much information as possible regarding this implementation and continue to update you with what we find. If there are any other questions or concerns regarding these new regulations, feel free to share them in the comment section below. In the meantime, feel free to read through the two official FAQ’s from DPOR here and here.