Split Decision | Kentucky drops blood ban in pro wrestling while - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Split Decision | Kentucky drops blood ban in pro wrestling while MMA promoters fight new rules

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Nathan Pierce fights for fun and for fitness. And as an amateur MMA fighter in Kentucky, he fights for free.

"Eighty percent of the fights here locally are amateur," Pierce said. "You are not going to get fights here. They're just going to quit altogether."

The 24-year-old is grappling with word of new state rules. Under the proposed rules, amateur boxers and MMA fighters would need a new physical every 90 day, in addition to the one they already get on the night of a fight.

"Financially, it would be horrible," Pierce said.

Promoters must also lock in their card with all competitors licensed 15 days out from a show.

"My concern is it's going to make it harder for amateurs to fight," said Vanessa Higdon a promoter for Hardrock MMA. "Making it harder for fighters to fight means less fights on the fight card ... less fights and events throughout the state."

That was not the intent. Councilman David James lobbied Frankfort to relax restrictions on combat sports to bring in major shows.

"The archaic rules we had before were just ridiculous," James said.

Former Gov. Steve Beshear knocked out the old Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Authority last spring and appointed a new team. And in some areas it may work. 

For example, the WWE hasn't produced a television or pay per view event here for six years, but the blood ban on sports entertainment that kept its cameras away is being lifted. 

"We've actually spoken with their officials, and they are interested in coming back," said Chad Miller, Chairman of the Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Commission.. "In fact, they're in the process with multiple venues in the state to bring back their production company."

Boxing and MMA officials fear the latest changes will pin down their side of the industry. 

"You will have fighters go to other states where the (regulations) are a little bit more reasonable," Higdon said.

"Everything we're doing is geared toward the betterment and health and wellness of our fighters," Miller said.

The new rules passed through a legislative committee last week. Leaders say they want to listen and they are still making tweaks.

The Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Commission meets again Wednesday in Frankfort.

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