Posted on 17. Dec, 2012 in News

A national framework for combat sports led by Victoria will ensure mixed martial arts (MMA) is made safer and provide the state with an opportunity to tap into the multi-million dollar industry, Shadow Minister for Sport and Recreation, John Eren said today.

Launching Labor’s Combat Sports Safety Regulation Reforms Policy, Mr Eren said it was time Victoria lead the push for world best practice safety regulations.

“Victorian Labor’s policy aims to not only make combat sports safer through world’s best practice safety regulations but also boost Victoria’s sports tourism ensuring our state remains the sporting capital of Australia,” Mr Eren said.

“Regulatory reform is required to produce a uniform national code of practice for all states and territories as well as the introduction of a safe alternative to a boxing ring for MMA events.

“A move towards national regulation has previously been raised at a meeting of all Sports Ministers and it needs to be led by the states.”

Labor would push strongly for a national code that included:

• Need to regulate both amateur and professional combat sports

• Have a common minimum age

• A registration data base for all bouts

• A common approach regarding medical supervision for bouts, blood and drug testing

• A national accreditation system for coaches, officials and event managers

• Need for common approach to how often a fighter can compete and for all state bodies to have access to this information

“The Professional Boxing and Combat Sports Board (PBCSB) has recommended to Sports Minister Hugh Delahunty that MMA events be required to use a specially designed structure known as an ‘Octagon’ to replace the current use of a boxing ring,” Mr Eren said.

“It needs to be clearly understood that MMA’s are not contests where there are no rules fighting but are a strictly regulated and highly skilled sport.

“Under current Victorian rules it is possible for a contestant to be thrown out of a boxing ring and therefore potentially face the prospect of serious injury.

“The Octagon is an eight sided enclosure that assists fighter safety, and it is safety that should be a priority in regulating the sport.”

Mr Eren said many MMA events come under the jurisdiction of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The UFC is regulated in 46 USA states as well as NSW, SA and WA.

“Victoria should be tapping into this sports tourism and jobs potential with a Sydney 2011 event attracting more than 18,000 fans,” he said.

“Holding a UFC event in Melbourne could be a tourism winner for Victoria creating a number of direct and indirect jobs and adding to Victoria’s status as Australia‘s sporting capital.”


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