Today, the Massachusetts Senate debated and voted on the Mixed Martial Arts Bill, An Act Regulating the Sport of Mixed Martial Arts. The bill passed the Senate, 34-1 (I voted in favor of it). If it is passed by the House and signed by the Governor, Massachusetts will join 37 other states in issuing regulations for Mixed Martial Arts, a sport that has previously been unregulated in Massachusetts.
I supported this bill because I believe it will bring much needed revenue to our Commonwealth at a time when we desperately need it. At the same time, the regulations we passed today will ensure the safety of participants in what could otherwise be a quite dangerous sport.
Much of the focus of the Legislature (and media) over the past six months has been on major reforms to our transportation, pension, and ethics systems – and rightly so. But in addition to these major bills, the Legislature works on smaller bills every day — many of which most people never hear of — that can end up having a significant impact on residents of the Commonwealth.
The Mixed Martial Arts Bill is just one example of a seemingly small matter that can have a big impact – to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue for the state, and still more money injected into the local economies of cities holding an Ultimate Fighting Match.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, also known as Ultimate Fighting, it is a fast growing full-contact sport that incorporates a variety of fighting techniques and martial arts. Although, as with boxing, going to an Ultimate Fighting match isn’t for everyone, it is a sport that is growing in popularity nationwide.
By regulating the sport, we’ll allow the Ultimate Fighting Champion to hold sanctioned events in the Commonwealth while ensuring the safety and well-being of competitors participating in the events. Safety measures, issued by the Department of Public Service, will help make an otherwise dangerous sport safer for participants.
Additionally, this bill will bring much-needed revenue to our currently struggling economy. Ultimate fighting, or Mixed Martial Arts, is one of the fastest growing sports in America. This sport sells out venues around the nation. Allowing this sport to come to the Commonwealth will attract tourists who will spend money on tickets, hotel rooms, meals out, highway tolls, and souvenirs, adding revenue to the Massachusetts economy. At a time when we are both cutting services and raising taxes, supporting this economic growth measure was a no-brainer for me.