On Dave Meltzer's Wednesday update at The Wrestling Observer, there was a very strange single line stating that the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) told commissions to no longer recognize events that take place in the state of Michigan, nor license any fighters from the state. The ABC is made up of commission members from across the country and exists to provide communication between different commissions, standardize record keeping, ensure adherence to federal regulations and look out for the health and well being of fighters. Despite the name, they are just as involved with the MMA aspects of commissions as they are with the boxing side, and the letter that was sent out specifically notes mixed martial artists, not boxers.
After issuing a few requests I was able to get my hands on the letter sent out to the ABC members and get the actual details of what is going on. Basically it comes down to Michigan's continued inability (or unwillingness) to adhere to basic standards of regulation. The state has continually failed to report results of events and injury suspensions as well as ignoring existing medical and drug suspensions of fighters which came out of issues in other states.
This has been an ongoing problem which basically forced the ABC to take the drastic step of requesting its members not recognize Michigan events and, much more importantly, blacklist fighters who are coming out of the state.
This is just one of the many, many issues with the Michigan MMA scene. Being from the state, I've seen multiple events held with the only medical professional on hand being a local "diet doctor," events where guys show up to the building with their hands already wrapped, guys with lengthy pro resumes fighting on an "amateur" card (where they get paid) against a guy with only one amateur fight and other horrific situations. The commission does a laughably poor job and this is yet another hurdle that ensures the UFC won't be coming back any time soon.
When reaching out to members of two different prominent commissions I was told that most commissions will, in fact, honor this letter. Effectively, fighters who reside in Michigan are now unlikely to be able to find any fights outside of the state until the commission cleans up its act and shows that they're willing to act like the professionals they are supposed to be.
The full letter can be read after the jump...
Update: I just got off the phone with the Michigan Unarmed Combat Commission which told me they have no formal response to this situation yet. They were supposed to meet March 15 for a standard commission meeting but that it will be canceled as they "have no agenda items." When I said that this seems to be a pretty big agenda item for that meeting, they had no comment.
Here's the full letter that was sent out to ABC members:
On October 6, 2011, I sent the attached letter to Dr. James Webber, Chairman of the Michigan Unarmed Combat Commission. The purpose of the letter was to formally provide notice of the concerns which the ABC had with the non-regulation of events in Michigan. After speaking to Dr. Weber, he seems very concerned about the way both professional and amateur sports are being regulated in Michigan, but he realizes the way the law is written in Michigan, the Commission has no power whatsoever to remedy these blatant and obvious health and safety concerns. The Michigan legislature has a great opportunity to make changes for the betterment of the sport and protect the health, safety and welfare of the contestant and ensure fair and equitable contests for all involved. Sadly, HB4295 in its present from fails to remedy the issues at hand in any fashion.
The ABC has failed, through its many and repeated communication attempts, to get the State of Mchigan to amend its policies and practices. However, the ABC cannot sit idly by while Michigan's actions, or lack thereof, constitute threat to the health and safety of mixed martial arts; and the integrity and fairness of mixed martial arts contests.
Michigan has allowed promoters of events to consistently fail to comply regarding the reporting of results and any suspensions from mixed martial arts contests. In addition, Michigan has a repeated record of allowing mixed martial artists to compete regardless of medical or drug suspensions in place. In conclusion, the ABC sees no other option but to ask its over eighty-seven member commissions to bar any fighter with a Michigan address, a Michigan mixed martial arts identification card, or a recent record showing competition in Michigan. Otherwise, member Commissions may not realize the true record of the competitors, the medical status of the competitors, and the suspension history of the competitors.