Message from Tim Lueckenhoff, President of Association of Boxing Commissions, on Unregulated Amateur MMA in New York

Written by: Eddie Goldman
Timothy J. Lueckenhoff.jpgTimothy J. Lueckenhoff.jpg

(Timothy J. Lueckenhoff)

From Tim Lueckenhoff:

Tim Lueckenhoff
Executive Director
Missouri Office of Athletics
President, Association of Boxing Commissions

April 2, 2012

Dear Membership:

Recently, the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board has made me aware of somematters that I wish to share with the membership. In New Jersey's neighboringState of New York, amateur and professional kick boxing and Muay Thai isoverseen by sanctioning bodies, not the state athletic commission. Reportedly,as of May 2012, New York has seen fit to also now allow amateur MMA under thedirect control and supervision of sanctioning bodies.

While the below examples just involve New Jersey and New York, it is anImportant issue for the entire membership because contestants frequently travelto various jurisdictions. In addition, It is important because many sanctioningbodies are regional or national In nature, so that their actions/inactions arelikely standard policy regardless of contest location.

In the past few months, combat sports competitors have been allowed to competeIn the State of New York underage, well past age 40, and under drug, medical ordisciplinary suspension in New Jersey. All of the New Jersey suspensions Inplace were listed and denoted on the ABCs MMA record keeper database,, and also sent to FightFax, the ABC's official boxingrecord keeper database.

In short, it is concerning that combat sports contestants have very recentlybeen granted to compete In New York while under suspension in New Jersey forreasons such as positive Hepatitis C results, the need for retinal surgery,felled stress echocardiograms, and MRE scans. A contestant on permanent suspensionfor a history of subdural hematoma was also granted clearance and fought In NewYork without any testing.

Furthermore, the sanctioning bodies have not reported the results of any ofthese competitions in New York. Thus, absent voluntary and complete disclosurefrom the contestant, or attendance at each event, there is no way of knowingwhether a contestant has competed in New York and the results of such competition.The sanctioning body, as it falls to report results, also fails to list anymedical suspensions. Thus, it is difficult to determine whether a contestantwas KO'd last week, and it is also difficult to determine whether a contestanthas the experience of 5 or 15 combat sports competitions.

As Commissioners, we need to suggest that sanctioning bodies register theirevents and check for yellow labeled suspended fighters, and follow up with thesuspending commission regarding the suspension. Sanctioning bodies should alsoreport results to the proper registries. In the absence of that, Commissionersneed to be aware of the need to directly inquire as to the contestants lastcompetition, as such may not show on the database if regulated by a sanctioningorganization.

It is strongly suggested that Commissions who allow and utilize sanctioningbodies consider requiring minimum medical testing, medical Insurance, on sitesafety precautions, drug testing and weigh in controls. Currently, in New York,such are, at times, not even required or can simply be waived on fight night.Despite detailed operating procedures denoted in some sanctioning body manuals,these procedures are frequently waived. It may be prudent to have thesanctioning body advise the appropriate athletic commission of proposed eventdates in advance, so that the state, province or tribal agency can send arepresentative to the event or follow up on the receipt of bout results andsuspensions.

All combat sports have Inherent medical risks and safety concerns, and proper regulatoryoversight is needed at all levels. We should always remember that the healthand safety of the contestant, and the fairness and integrity of the contest areour primary goals.

Thank you for your consideration of these concerns.

Very truly yours,

Tim Lueckenhoff