A new bill is making its way through the Arizona state Senate that would better regulate the mixed martial arts and boxing industries in the state.
"(House Bill 2263) passed out of committee in the Senate. We are headed to the Rules (Committee) then to the floor of the Senate then to the governor," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Tom Forese.
Forese said he's a fan of the MMA, but he's concerned about the dangers competitors face, especially those at the amateur level.
"This is a way to raise the elevation of the sport and to highlight the need of the health of the fighters," he said.
According to the bill, all amateur and professional events in Arizona must have a doctor at the event, athletes must be tested for blood-borne illnesses and the cages that the fights take place in must have an easy way to enter and exit.
"We want to make sure we're creating safety for all of the fighters, not just the guys that are in the main bouts," said Forese.
Adam Gillespey, a striking coach at the LAB, an MMA gym in Glendale, said he thinks the regulations will only strengthen the sport.
"You want to see the knockouts. You want to see the submissions, but you don't want to see people get hurt," he said.
Gillespey says the legislation will only improve the safety for the countless athletes on the amateur level that hope to one day become pros.
"The pool is getting bigger and bigger. The athletes are getting better. The trainers are getting better. So we need to have that safety net to have people stay safe as they move their way through the ranks," said Gillespey.
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