MMA is legal in New York, but boxing promoters are affected by new rules

September 1, 2016

Today, September 1st, will be the first day that one can apply for a New York promoter’s license to hold a combat sports event in the state.  With the legalization of MMA in New York, a proviso requiring a raise in insurance rates has caused some promoters to give pause about holding events in the state.  Mainly boxing promoters are speaking out about the new rules.

The bill which legalized MMA included a raise in insurance rates for all combat sports from $10,000 to $50,000 for general medical coverage and added a $1 million insurance policy in the case a fighter suffers a traumatic brain injury.

According to Jim Genia, there are multiple quotes floating around but the cost for a promoter would be approximately $750 per fighter up front.

Boxing promoters have indicated that they can’t afford the $1 million insurance bond and will go outside the state.  According to a WSJ article, Lou DiBella and Joe DeGuardia have spoken out about how this would hurt smaller boxing shows held in the state.

On Wednesday, the New York State Athletic Commission approved rules and regulations governing combat sports including the raise in insurance rates.  It named Anthony Giardina its interim Executive Director after a shakeup this past summer.

Payout Perspective:

While big events, such as the debut of the UFC in Madison Square Garden this November will likely be unaffected, the effect of the rule suggests smaller promotions which do not have ancillary revenue (i.e., PPV, merchandise, television rights fees, etc.) could no longer hold events in New York.  The health insurance rise in rates stem from the efforts of those concerned with the health risks of combat sports athletes.  The inclusion of the insurance policy may have been a concession when trying to pass the bill this past spring.  Likely, the insurance was also considered after the New York Office of the Inspect General released a scathing report on how the commission handled the November 2013 post-fight incident of boxer Magomed Abdusalamov.  The boxer had to take a taxi to the hospital after his fight amid multiple failures by the commission.  He remains in need of around the clock care after he suffered a stroke.  A lawsuit filed by Abdusalamov’s family against the commission is pending.

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