WSOF LW tournament not happening in Washington State

August 28, 2015

On Monday the World Series of Fighting tweeted out an announcement stating that the World Series of Fighting would hold a one night lightweight tournament in Seattle.  However, upon further review with the regulatory body of Washington State, combat sport tournaments are illegal in the state.

On Wednesday, I was able to speak with a representative with the Washington State Department of Licensing, the regulatory body for combat sports in the state of Washington.  According to the representative, she stated that the World Series of Fighting reached out to the department “a week and a half ago.”  It was not until this Monday that the state contacted WSOF to let them know that tournaments are not legal, in fact a class C Felony, in the State of Washington.

The representative forwarded me the relevant statutes it looked to when it informed WSOF that it could not hold an elimination tournament.

RCW 67.08.002 defines an elimination tournament as “any contest in which contestants compete in a series of matches until not more than one contestant remains in any weight category…”

RCW 67.08.015 states:

(4) No amateur or professional no holds barred fighting or combative fighting type of contest, exhibition, match, or similar type of event, nor any elimination tournament, may be held in this state. Any person promoting such an event is guilty of a class C felony. Additionally, the director may apply to a superior court for an injunction against any and all promoters of a contest, and may request that the court seize all money and assets relating to the competition.

Although there are tribal casinos in the state of Washington which hold combat sport events (including MMA and boxing), the Department of Licensing are sometimes asked to regulate the events. Thus, any alternative to hold an event in Washington is unlikely.

A representative from WSOF indicated that they are working on a plan for the lightweight tournament but nothing has been made public as of yet.

Payout Perspective:

It’s unfortunate that WSOF will not be holding a tournament in Seattle as there are many MMA fans in the area. One would have hoped that WSOF would have cleared the tournament with the state prior to its announcement. Moreover, they could have done their own independent research to see if a tournament was legal in the state.  Thus, it looks like the tweet as a miscommunication or poor execution. There is no word if WSOF will make it back to Seattle for a regular event in the future.

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