UFC vs The Oklahoma State Athletic Commission (Update)

I was reading my local paper today and saw this article on the UFC's potential lawsuit against the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission and thought I'd share with everyone. Tulsa World article after the break.

Original BE story

UFC challenges legality of state's fee on pay-per-view telecasts. Writer: Bill Haisten

UFC challenges legality of state's fee on pay-per-view telecasts

By BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer Published: 3/21/2012 2:04 AM Last Modified: 3/21/2012 5:12 AM

With the Ultimate Fighting Championship group having threatened a lawsuit, the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission faces the possibility of losing its primary source of funding.

Since it was established in 1999, the Oklahoma commission has collected a 4 percent fee on the purchases by state residents of pay-per-view fight telecasts (including mixed martial arts, boxing and professional wrestling).

The Las Vegas-based UFC is challenging the legality of the fee.

"The commission's attorney is researching that now ... to see if (the UFC) would win a challenge in court," said Joe Miller, head of the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission. "If he doesn't have a good feeling that we can defend it, we'll probably repeal the fee and try to establish a different model of funding so that the commission can continue to function."

"Legally, we should know the result of this within the next two or three weeks," Miller added.

The Oklahoma State Athletic Commission operates on an annual budget of $350,000, Miller reported. The commission is heavily reliant on pay-per-view fees. Over the last three years, Miller said, the commission collected about $240,000 annually in pay-per-view fees.

Miller says the commission provides "proper oversight" for any combative-sports live event in Oklahoma. Among the regulated sports are amateur and professional mixed martial arts, along with professional boxing, professional wrestling and professional kick-boxing.

Before any combative-sports event, participants are examined by state medical personnel. Inspectors and medical personnel are ringside for all events.

In 2011, the commission sanctioned 279 live events in Oklahoma. There were 67 boxing or mixed martial arts shows and a total of 212 professional wrestling events.

In response to possible legal action by the UFC, Miller had planned to suspend the commission's operation after March 31. On Wednesday, however, after discussing the commission's budgetary status with Oklahoma House leaders and senators, Miller told the Tulsa World that the commission will continue to function beyond March 31.

"In case (the pay-per-view fee) is shown to be unconstitutional, we discussed various other methods of funding. We've got their support," Miller said. "The right people in the right places are taking very hard looks at how the commission can function, if we have to eliminate the fee."

By the end of the current legislative session in May, Miller said, "we'll have a definite direction of how we'll function from that point forward. We'll know whether we need minor cuts, major cuts or intermediate cuts."

Original Print Headline: Lawsuit is possible for athletic commission

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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