Fighters previously denied New Jersey fight licenses for HIV are fighting in New York amateur bouts

Michael Nagle

The NJSACB says that they have denied fighters licenses for HIV, hepatitis C, subdural hematoma only to see those same fighters compete on the New York amateur scene.

That New York has been the battleground state in MMA regulation over the past several years is not news to anyone. New York has held out for years against popular opinion (and economic benefit) on legalizing the sport on a professional level.

A loophole of sorts does allow amateur mixed martial arts bouts. That loophole has served to make New York a dangerous spot in the MMA world.

Just how dangerous? The answer to that question is covered by Nick Lembo of the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board in an article by Jim Genia at Deadspin:

"There have been many contestants who have been banned from regulated combative sport in New Jersey because of subdural hematoma, hepatitis C, HIV, detached retinas, and other medical concerns who have competed freely in amateur MMA and kickboxing in New York under the direct supervision of state-approved sanctioning bodies, or at shows without such direct supervision," he says.

He can't name these athletes—New Jersey privacy laws and federal HIPAA regulations prevent that—but according to him, dozens of them have fought and bled in New York rings and cages.

The article goes on to talk about other concerns with results not being reported, thus other commissions can't act in the best interest of the fighter's safety, poorly trained officials, poorly run events and so on.

The argument has been made that the legalization of MMA in New York is as much about fighter safety as anything, and the idea that fighters are competing in seriously dangerous conditions seems to back that up.

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