As many know, I'm a big fan of Mixed Martial Arts, also known by some as Ultimate Fighting.
One of the fastest growing sports in this country is Mixed Martial Arts. It's often known as ultimate fighting. It's also illegal in Michigan, although we can watch the events in other states on Spike TV (UFC), Channel 20 (IFL), sometimes Fox Sports Detroit (Pride), and ION TV (Bodog).
Back in 1993, the UFC caused a big stir under it's old rules. No biting, throat strikes, fish hooks, or eye gouging I believe was about it. I have some of the old tapes and can dust them off to find the rules. John McCain had a snit about it, largely due to his major ties to the boxing industry, which doesn't like this new compeitition. He led a charge to ban UFC in as many avenues as possible. 36 states followed McCain's advice and banned it.
Michigan had one UFC event. UFC 9 in Detroit back in 1996. It had one of the worst fights of all time between two all time greats who usually had great matches. Dan Severn and Ken Shamrock. One of the reason the fight was weak was due to referee John McCarthy warning all the fighters not to hit with a closed fist under penalty of arrest. Before UFC9, UFC was in a court fight over this beforehand.
McCain got his way to a large extent with his pressure, and soon after UFC 9, UFC was removed from cable for a long time. In 2001, current CEO and fight promoter Dana White purchased the UFC, along with the Fertitta Brothers who owned Station Casino in Las Vegas. One of the Fertitta Brothers used to be on the Nevada State Game Comission. UFC was sanctioned in New Jersey and Nevada (under the New Jersey rules) legally and started to become mainsteam.
There's some good bipartisanship (instead of both parties getting together to take freedoms away) for a change in the state house. Not only is it bipartisanship in a good way, but both liberals, moderates, and conservatives are for this. I rarely agree with Mark Meadows on anything. He got this one right and cosponsored it. Our own Chris Ward is on board with this as well.
Barbara Farrah has introduced HB4869. This places Mixed Martial Arts under the same rules as boxing for law purposes, and uses the "New Jersey" Rules for MMA, which are generally used in the UFC currently. This is a good bill, and I support it as is. It's legalizes the UFC, and uses the same regulations the UFC is currently under.
The cosponsors are:
Barbara Farrah - (primary) (D)
Edward Gaffney (R)
Virgil Smith (D)
Dave Hildenbrand (R)
Frank Accavitti (D)
Jack Brandenburg (R)
Lisa Wojno (D)
Matthew Gillard (D)
Bert Johnson (D)
Tim Melton (D)
Mark Meadows (D)
Richard Hammel (D)
Joan Bauer (D)
David Agema (R)
Chris Ward (R)
Daniel Acciavatti (R)
James Marleau (R)
Arlan Meekhof (R)
10 Democrats and 7 Republicans are on board. Joe Hune needs to sign his name to this and make it 8.
Despite UFC's illegality here, I can name three current or former UFC stars with Michigan ties off the top of my head. Hall of Famer Dan Severn was from Coldwater. He was also a wrestling coach at Michigan State. Current UFC stars Gray Maynard and Rashad Evans were all American wrestlers at Michigan State. Unfortunately, under the current system, we can't have a UFC bout at the East Lansing Breslin Center. We can't have a UFC version of "Fight night at the Palace!" These are bigtime events that will bring tourists, business, and TV money here.
Let's legalize the UFC here in Michigan! Pass HB4869. As John McCarthy says - "Are you ready? Are you Ready? Let's get it on!"