Kentucky takes swing at red tape surrounding regulation of boxing, wrestling and mixed martial arts in state
Kentucky has delivered a knockout blow to the state agency regulating boxing, wrestling and mixed martial arts (MMA).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky has delivered a knockout blow to the state agency regulating boxing, wrestling and mixed martial arts (MMA).
Governor Bevin abolished the Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Authority in hopes of bringing larger events to the Commonwealth.
In the home of Muhammad Ali, and the state that trained John Cena, the boxing and wrestling industries are strangled, some say, by state regulation.
"One of the big issues and archaic rules Kentucky had was that all wrestling had to take place in the four squares of the ring," said Louisville Metro councilman David James."Coming through the crowd would have gotten you a fine," James added. "It was a head-scratcher for me."
It's why Councilman James championed a bi-partisan effort to see Kentucky relax its rules.
"I can tell you, yes, I do feel it's very stringent, but there's also a reason for everything, a rational," said Chad Miller.
Miller leads the team tasked with cleanup, Chairmen of the newly formed Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Commission. It replaces the KBWA.
The difference, he says, is the prior agency focused more on regulation, while his duty is designed to build up business.
"We want a partnership with USA boxing and golden gloves...to begin to build up, and again put boxing and wrestling and combative sports on another level."
Dereco Murray runs one of the few boxing promotions left in the state.
"I'm shocked," said Murray. "I'm thinking hopefully in the next five years it will snowball, and boxing will make a comeback."
On the wrestling side, Kentucky must mend some fences.
The WWE hasn't brought a television or pay-per-view event to the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville since 2010. After getting a fine because of the stringent rules, the company started running its biggest events right around the state: Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Nashville.
Miller says a newly formed medical advisory panel will reconsider the state's rules on blood in pro wrestling. Unlike boxing or MMA in Kentucky, if a wrestler bleeds, a match must be stopped. "There's millions upon million of dollars leaving our state every day."
In this case, the bottom line is money. The WWE's biggest events bring more than $100 million in economic impact to its host cities.
Councilman James said he'd like to see Louisville put in a bid for Wrestlemania, considered the "Superbowl" of pro wrestling. Last month, AT&T Stadium, home of Dallas Cowboys, played host to the event. In recent years Atlanta, Phoenix, Orlando and Houston have all benefited from the show. Fans flock from around the country and world filling local restaurants and hotels.
The new Commission's first meeting is Wednesday afternoon in Frankfort.
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