BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                AB 1186
                                                                Page  1

        AB 1186 (Bonilla)
        As Amended  September 6, 2013
        2/3 vote.  Urgency
        |ASSEMBLY:  |     |(May 30, 2013)  |SENATE: |36-0 |(September 11, |
        |           |     |                |        |     |2013)          |
                  (vote not relevant)

        Original Committee Reference:    ED.  

         SUMMARY  :  Clarifies that the California State Athletic Commission  
        (Commission) is authorized to regulate all forms of full contact  
        martial arts contests involving participants 18 years of age or  
        younger, including all forms and combinations of forms of full  
        contact martial arts contests deemed by the Commission to be  
        similar, and that an amateur contest includes a contest where full  
        contact is used, even if unintentionally.

         The Senate amendments  delete the Assembly version of the bill and  

        1) Remove "partial contact" from the definition of a contest or  

        2) Clarify that "full contact" means the use of full force in a  
           martial arts contest that may result, or is intended to result,  
           in physical harm to the opponent, including any contact that does  
           not meet the definition of light contact or noncontact.

        3) Clarify that an amateur contest or match includes a contest or  
           match where full contact is used, even if unintentionally.

        4) Specify that an amateur contest or match does not include light  
           contact karate, tae kwon-do, judo, or any other light contact  
           martial arts as approved by the Commission and recognized by the  
           International Olympic Committee as an Olympic sport.

        5) Clarify that the Commission shall have jurisdiction over all  
           forms and combination of forms of full contact martial arts  
           contests involving participants 18 years of age or younger.
        6) Require the Commission to establish an advisory pankration  


                                                                AB 1186
                                                                Page  2

           subcommittee to investigate the rules and conduct of contests  
           involving or claiming to involve pankration by persons under 18  
           years of age, or any style deemed by the subcommittee to be  
           sufficiently similar.  Require the subcommittee to make  
           recommendations to the Commission regarding any administrative  
           actions or statutory changes to be enacted that may be necessary  
           to improve its regulation and oversight of contests in order to  
           adequately protect participants.  Provide that the pankration  
           subcommittee shall consist of three members of the Commission who  
           meet and examine the following, including, but not limited to:

           a)   The legality and safety of contests.

           b)   Whether or not legislation should be enacted to impose  
             age-based requirements or restrictions, which may include a  
             prohibition on participants engaging in contests.

           c)   Appropriate safety precautions for persons under 18 years of  
             age engaging in contests.

        1) State that this is an urgency measure necessary to take effect  
           immediately for the immediate preservation of the public peace,  
           health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the  

        2) Add double-jointing language consistent with SB 309 (Lieu) of the  
           current legislative session to avoid chaptering-out issues.

         AS PASSED BY THE ASSEMBLY  , this bill established the Common Core  
        Implementation Block Grant and expresses the intent of the  
        Legislature that school districts, county offices of education, and  
        charter schools use block grant funds to support the integration of  
        common core academic content standards in instruction for  
        kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, to establish quality  
        instructional programs for all pupils. 

         FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Senate Appropriations Committee,  
        pursuant to Senate Rule 28.8, negligible state costs.

         COMMENTS  :   

         Author's Statement of Support  :  According to the author, this bill  
        is necessary to ensure the health and safety of young children  
        participating in certain amateur Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) events,  
        known as pankration.  According to the author, event organizers have  


                                                                AB 1186
                                                                Page  3

        used loopholes in state law to escape Commission regulations, which  
        puts kids at risk for serious injury.  Pankration organizers have  
        testified at numerous Commission meetings and in communications to  
        the Commission that their sport includes only light or partial  
        contact, thus does not fall under the jurisdiction of the  
        Commission, which has oversight responsibilities for full contact  
        sports.  Pankration event organizers in California have also argued  
        that the Commission does not license athletes under the age of 16,  
        and since the youth participating in their events are under 16, the  
        Commission does not have jurisdiction to regulate pankration events.  
         According to the author, clarifying the definition of full contact  
        to ensure proper oversight of youth events in California will  
        provide for important safety precautions at youth pankration events,  
        including physical examinations for participants, physician  
        attendance at all events, and a medical insurance program for all  
        Background - California State Athletic Commission  :  The Commission  
        is responsible for protecting the health and safety of its  
        licensees; boxers, kickboxers and martial arts athletes.   
        Established by initiative in 1924, stemming from concerns for  
        athletes' injuries and deaths, the Commission provides direction,  
        management, control of and jurisdiction over professional and  
        amateur boxing, professional and amateur kickboxing, all forms and  
        combinations of full contact martial arts contests, including MMA  
        and matches or exhibitions conducted, held or given in California.   
        The Commission oversees licensing, prohibited substance testing, and  
        event regulation.  Functionally, the Commission consists of four  
        components; licensing, enforcement, regulating events and  
        administering the Pension Fund.  

        The Commission is responsible for implementation and enforcement of  
        the Boxing Act and the State Athletic Commission Act.  The  
        Commission establishes requirements for licensure, issues and renews  
        licenses, approves and regulates events, assigns ringside officials,  
        investigates complaints received, and enforces applicable laws by  
        issuing fines and suspending or revoking licenses.  In 2012, the  
        Commission supervised close to 200 events.  The Commission has so  
        far supervised over 40 events in 2013.  The Commission licenses a  
        number of individuals related to the participation in, oversight for  
        and management of events in California. 

        The current Commission mission statement, as stated in its Strategic  
        Plan, is as follows:  The California State Athletic Commission is  
        dedicated to the health, safety and welfare of participants in  


                                                                AB 1186
                                                                Page  4

        regulated competitive sporting events, through ethical and  
        professional service.

         Sport of Pankration (Also Known As MMA for Kids) Safety Concerns  :   
        According to the United States Fight League, (USFL) Web site,  
        pankration is the oldest Martial art on record and was the most  
        prestigious event of the Ancient Olympics which combined elements of  
        boxing and wrestling.  "The rules were brutal and simple, all but  
        eye gouging and biting was allowed while the referees enforced their  
        rules with a large stick. 

        "Modern pankration is a martial art that encompasses grappling,  
        limited contact and full contact competitions.  Rules emphasize  
        technique and sportsmanship at all levels.  The amateur program  
        presents a safe sport suitable for competitors of all ages from all  
        styles of martial arts.  The USFL provides the safest and most  
        progressive route to prepare for International Amateur Competition  
        or a professional fighting career."

        In March 2009, the Commission first expressed concern about youth  
        pankration events in California, specifically that head strikes were  
        taking place and the events were not regulated.    Commission staff  
        and Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) legal counsel attended  
        pankration events and reviewed videos and organization rules to  
        determine if the activity constituted full contact combat sports and  
        should be regulated.  Organizers are alleged to have modified rules  
        numerous times to evade regulation until the Commission received a  
        formal legal opinion in 2010, which found that pankration is a form  
        of full contact MMA, subject to the Commission's oversight.  

        Throughout 2009 and 2010, the USFL, which was known then as the  
        Amateur Pankration League/USA Pankration, came before the Commission  
        and the Senate Business and Professions Committee contesting the  
        determination that their sport is full contact, under the  
        Commission's jurisdiction, and since the group put on amateur shows,  
        would be regulated by California Amateur Martial Arts Organization  
        (CAMO) on the Commission's behalf.  The group continues to testify  
        at Commission hearings that they are not full contact, despite the  
        video clips recently highlighted on Nightline and Dateline, as well  
        as those used by the Commission's Legal Counsel to make the original  
        determination.  However, the USFL President has described his events  
        as "kids MMA" or "MMA events for kids" when promoting the  
        competitions, creating a significant lack of clarity.  A recent  
        subcommittee meeting of the Commission received testimony that there  


                                                                AB 1186
                                                                Page  5

        is a lack of consistency among the trainers and youth pankration  
        promoters in terms of requirements for medical evaluations prior to  
        competitions.  Pankration stakeholders also recently testified that  
        they believe that only practices which result in injuries, as logged  
        and tracked so as to create statistics about such injuries, should  
        be excluded from events and the organization's rules.  USFL recently  
        testified that it supports the regulation of youth pankration, but  
        that the events should only be governed by the USFL rules, rather  
        than general rules for full contact MMA as those outlined by CAMO.    

         Regulatory Responses to Concerns  :  At its annual meeting last month,  
        the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) Medical Safety Committee  
        issued the following guidelines for amateur combat events:

        1)Amateur events should be regulated by State Athletic Commissions  
          or participating jurisdictions, since amateur combat sports  
          participants have fewer skill sets, but run the same or greater  
          risk of injury as do professional combat sports competitors.

        2)Minimum medical requirements for participation in any amateur  
          event with modified rules (such as no elbow striking to the head  
          on the ground in MMA) should include:  i) annual history and  
          physical examination; ii) baseline CBC, blood chemistries, lipid  
          profile, clotting times; iii) communicable disease testing  
          (HIV1/2, Hepatitis BsAg, Hepatitis C Ab) every six months; iv)  
          annual ophthalmologic examination; v) baseline neurologic testing.

        3)The reviewing Commission/jurisdiction physician may require  
          further testing depending on the results of those submitted prior  
          to licensure/fight clearance.

        4)Suspensions of amateurs post-fight should be submitted to the  
          appropriate national Web site (Fight-Fax,  

        The Commission appointed a Youth Pankration Subcommittee, which  
        delivered the following recommendations and findings at the August  
        5, 2013, Commission meeting, after their investigation into the  

        a)Young athletes, particularly under age 11, mixed-gender bouts, and  
          children's fights in cages, have caused attention and concern for  
          the safety of the children - particularly from the Legislature and  
          the media.


                                                                AB 1186
                                                                Page  6

        b)Youth pankration is a full contact activity as defined in Business  
          and Professions Code Section 18640 and legal opinions interpreting  
          that statute.  Thus, it is within the jurisdiction of the  
          Commission to regulate.

        c)CAMO is the current delegatee of the Commission to regulate  
          pankration events.

        d)USFL officials intentionally created separate rules, including a  
          separate scoring system, for the purpose of avoiding "full  
          contact" regulation under the Commission and CAMO.

        e)USFL appears to be an organization of committed persons, families  
          and children who have the best interests of the kids as their  
          motivation and have heretofore done a good job creating a culture  
          of support, maturity and relative safety for youth pankration  

        f)The high cost of competing in CAMO amateur events is a major  
          factor in the effort to create a sport and sanctioning  
          organization for youth pankration separate and exempt from  
          regulation under the Commission and CAMO. 

        g)Youth pankration needs to be regulated to protect and assure the  
          proper support and safety of the children and parents involved.

        h)Statutory updates and clarifications would help define the  
          Commission's responsibility and authority over youth pankration.

         Analysis Prepared by  :    Dana Mitchell / A.,E.,S.,T. & I.M. / (916)