In August 2009 the state of California officially delegated to CAMO (California Amateur MMA Organization) the exclusive authority to regulate Amateur Mixed Martial Arts and Pankration in the State of California.
The movers behind CAMO are former EliteXC matchmaker JT Steele as well as former EliteXC head of fight operations Jeremy Lappen. All across the US amateur MMA is often overlooked by state regulators.
Does a organization like CAMO in California help amateur MMA or just provide more hoops for promoters and fighters to jump through?
Excerpt from interview below
ULTMMA: What are the biggest misconceptions people have about CAMO?
Steele: That's a good question. We are a new organization and the concept of amateur mixed martial arts is a new concept. Some people don't understand and they may not be sure what role amateur MMA has in the world of MMA right now. Really the story right now is still being written. I think the biggest misconception is maybe more of a misconception of what amateur MMA is.
A lot of people don't know about us yet. We have a strong brand presence, but outside of the state people may not understand. It's really important for people to understand that we are a regulatory body and that's what we do is regulate. We bring structure to the amateur sport and we bring health and safety standards. I think if anything is misunderstood is our role as a governing body rather than a sanctioning body or promoter.
ULTMMA: Can the template for CAMO be applied to other states such as Ohio, New Jersey, or Texas?
Steele: I think it can be used all over the board. A couple of those states you mentioned, Ohio have a very dynamic and large amateur program. Some places it might be needed more than in others. Where I think it could be more helpful is in states that are in the same predicament that CA is in, that don't have any amateur regulation going on or its illegal or the state might be turning a blind eye to it and letting it go unregulated. Those are the type of places where this model can be very good.
That being said we are 501 © (3) nonprofit corporation and traditionally amateur sports have been regulated by these types of organizations. You look at the different type of organizations like USA amateur boxing is the same thing as well as a lot of the Olympic sports and the NCAA. Being a nongovernmental body we are able to react, adapt and change very quickly. In a sport like amateur MMA that is so new it really helps to that flexibility.