BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1186
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          Date of Hearing:   September 12, 2013


           ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT, SPORTS, TOURISM, AND  
                                   INTERNET MEDIA
                               Ian C. Calderon, Chair

                  AB 1186 (Bonilla) - As Amended:  September 6, 2013
           
          SUBJECT  :   State Athletic Commission.  

           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.   
          Specifically,  this bill  :  

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

          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  
             subcommittee to investigate the rules and conduct of contests  
             involving or claiming to involve pankration by persons under  








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             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 Constitution.

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

           EXISTING LAW  : 

          1)The Boxing Act, or State Athletic Commission Act (State Act),  
            provides for the licensing and regulation of boxers,  
            kickboxers, martial arts athletes and events held in  
            California by the Commission within the Department of Consumer  
            Affairs (DCA) and makes the Commission inoperative and  
            repealed on January 1, 2014.  [Business and Professions (B&P)  
            Code Section 18602.]

          2)Provides that protection of the public shall be the highest  
            priority for the Commission in exercising its licensing,  
            regulatory, and disciplinary functions, and whenever the  
            protection of the public is inconsistent with other interests  
            sought to be promoted, the protection of the public shall be  
            paramount.  (B&P Code Section 18602.1.)









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          3)Provides that "contest" and "match" are synonymous, may be  
            used interchangeably, include boxing, kickboxing, and martial  
            arts exhibitions, and mean a fight, prizefight, boxing  
            contest, pugilistic contest, kickboxing contest, martial arts  
            contest, or sparring match, between two or more persons, where  
            full or partial contact is used or intended that may result or  
            is intended to result in physical harm to the opponent.   
            Provides that in any exhibition or sparring match, the  
            opponents are not required to use their best efforts.  (B&P  
            Code Section 18625.)

          4)Provides for the following definitions:  (B&P Code Section  
            18627.)

             a)   "Martial arts" means any form of karate, kung fu, tae  
               kwon-do, kickboxing or any combination of full contact  
               martial arts, including mixed martial arts (MMA), or  
               self-defense conducted on a full contact basis where a  
               weapon is not used.

             b)   "Kickboxing" means any form of boxing in which blows are  
               delivered with the hand and any part of the leg below the  
               hip, including the foot.

             c)   "Full contact" means the use of full unrestrainted  
               physical force in a martial arts contest.

             d)   "Light contact" means the use of controlled martial arts  
               techniques whereby contact to the body is permitted in a  
               restrained manner, no contact to the face is permitted, and  
               no contact is permitted which may result or is intended to  
               result in physical harm to the opponent. 

             e)   "Noncontact" means that no contact occurs between either  
               contestant.

          1)Provides that the Commission has the sole direction,  
            management, control of, and jurisdiction over all professional  
            and amateur boxing, professional and amateur kickboxing, all  
            forms and combinations of forms of full contact martial arts  
            contests, including mixed martial arts, and matches or  
            exhibitions conducted, held, or given within this state.  
            Provides that no event shall take place without the prior  
            approval of the Commission and no person shall engage in the  
            promotion of, or participate in, a boxing or martial arts  








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            contest, match, or exhibition without a license.  (B&P Code  
            Section 18640.)

          2)Provides that the Commission may authorize a nonprofit boxing,  
            wrestling, or martial arts club or organization, upon approval  
            of its bylaws, to administer its rules for amateur boxing,  
            wrestling, and full contact martial arts contests.  Requires  
            the Commission to review the performance of any such club or  
            organization annually.  Requires the Commission to review  
            compliance with requirements for amateur contests to be  
            preceded by a physical examination of every contestant, that a  
            physician is in attendance at the contest and that the  
            organization has a medical insurance program covering all  
            contestants.  Requires an organization to provide written  
            financial reports of receipts and disbursements within 90 days  
            of an amateur event.  Authorizes the Commission to have  
            representatives present as are necessary to obtain compliance  
            with the requirements for amateur events.  Authorizes the  
            Commission to require any additional notices and reports from  
            an organization it deems necessary. 
          (B&P Code Section 18646.)

          3)Provides that no person under the age of 18 years shall  
            participate as a contestant in any contest or match or  
            exhibition, except that any person 16 years or over may be  
            licensed as an amateur and may participate in an amateur  
            contest or match.  (B&P Code Section 18702.)

          4)Creates an advisory committee on medical and safety standards,  
            which consists of six licensed physicians and surgeons  
            appointed by the Commission for the purpose of studying and  
            recommending medical and safety standards for the conduct of  
            boxing, wrestling, and martial arts contests.  (B&P Code  
            Section 18645.)

          5)Authorizes the Commission to appoint a martial arts advisory  
            committee, composed of individuals, residing in California,  
            who have prior to their appointment, been promoters, fighters,  
            trainers, managers, or officials in publicly held kickboxing  
            or full-contact martial arts events.  (B&P Code Section  
            18769.)

           Existing Federal Law  :  The Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act  
          (Federal Boxing Act) prohibits events from taking place in a  
          state without a regulatory commission unless the fight is  








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          regulated by either another state's commission or on sovereign  
          tribal land.  (Title 15 U.S.C. Section 6303.) 

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

           COMMENTS  :   

           1)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 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 contests.

           2)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.  








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            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 regulated competitive sporting events, through  
            ethical and professional service.
             
           3)Commission Has Delegated Authority for Oversight of Amateur  
            MMA and Boxing  :  Current law allows the Commission to delegate  
            its authority to oversee amateur sports to a qualified  
            nonprofit organization if the Commission determines that the  
            nonprofit "meets or exceeds the safety and fairness standards  
            of the Commission."  The Commission has the "sole direction,  
            management, control of, and jurisdiction over all professional  
            and amateur boxing, professional and amateur kickboxing, all  
            forms and combinations of forms of full contact martial arts  
            contests, including mixed martial arts, and matches or  
            exhibitions conducted, held, or given within this state".   
            Thus, under current law, the Commission's delegated authority  
            for amateur regulation would also have oversight of the same  
            sports as the Commission.
          
            The Commission has exercised this authority and delegated its  
            regulatory oversight responsibilities of amateur boxing and  
            MMA to two different nonprofit organizations; USA Boxing, Inc.  
            and the California Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Organization  
            (CAMO), each of which has encountered difficulty.

            For instance, there have been several issues with USA Boxing  
            that raise some concern regarding the oversight of amateur  
            boxing.  In 2009, the Commission suspended USA Boxing's  
            authorization to regulate amateur boxing for three weeks in  
            response to media reports of improprieties including underage  








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            alcohol consumption and gambling at USA Boxing sanctioned  
            events and concern for the health and safety of amateur  
            athletes.  That delegation was reinstated after the Commission  
            staff negotiated stricter requirements regarding safety,  
            background checks, uniformity, reporting and record keeping,  
            and included promises for USA Boxing to be more responsive to  
            the Commission.  The Commission voted to place USA Boxing on  
            probation until June 2010.  Earlier this year, the Commission  
            informed USA Boxing that it would be randomly sending  
            Commission inspectors to USA Boxing sanctioned events to  
            ensure safety at those events.

            When CAMO was first created and received authority from the  
            Commission to oversee amateur MMA, there was no consensus on  
            safety standards for amateur MMA and CAMO founders reported  
            that it was unnecessary and even dangerous for the fighters to  
            wear headgear.  It does not appear that the Commission ever  
            adopted regulations to clearly outline the difference between  
            professional regulations and amateur regulations prior to  
            delegating its authority.  Additionally, the Commission  
            struggled with a definition of what constitutes "full contact"  
            and should therefore be regulated.  While CAMO presented  
            substantial regulations and clear standards for the components  
            necessary to oversee amateur MMA, there is some concern that  
            the Commission was not yet in a position in its own process  
            and according to its own procedures to assist in the creation  
            of the CAMO program.  The Commission also worked with a small  
            group of stakeholders to create a new model for regulation  
            which may have omitted the input of many passionate athletes  
            and organizers.  CAMO established a fee structure for  
            licensing that exceeds any of the fees collected by the  
            Commission.  Many groups determined to be under CAMO's  
            regulatory authority still balk at the fee structure, citing  
            that high fees are cost prohibitive to conduct events.  Bureau  
            of State Audits also reported that the Commission may have  
            opportunities to generate revenue by regulating amateur MMA  
            rather than delegating its authority to CAMO.  


           4)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  








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            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 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  








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            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.   
              


           5)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:

            a)  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.

            b)  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.

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

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

            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 sport:

             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 -  








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               particularly from the Legislature and the media.

             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 events.

             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.

           1)Prior and Related Legislation  :

             a)   SB 309 (Lieu), extends the operation of the Commission  
               until 2016.  Makes various changes to the laws governing  
               the Commission's operations and the Commission's oversight  
               of 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.  SB 309  
               is currently pending on the Senate Floor for concurrence in  
               Assembly amendments.








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             b)   AB 2100 (Alejo) of the 2011-12 Legislative Session,  
               would have required that the Commission, in consultation  
               with the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC),   
               establish and enforce a professional code of conduct, as  
               specified, and that persons seeking payment as promoters  
               must make specified disclosures to the CSAC prior to being  
               compensated.  AB 2100 was held on the Assembly  
               Appropriations Committee Suspense File.

             c)   SB 543 (Price), Chapter 448, Statutes of 2011, extended  
               the Commission sunset date for        2 years, from January  
               1, 2012 to January 1, 2014.

             d)   SB 294 (Negrete McLeod), Chapter 695, Statutes of 2010,  
               extended the Commission sunset date for one year, from  
               January 1, 2011 to January 1, 2012.

             e)   SB 963 (Ridley-Thomas), Chapter 385, Statutes of 2008,  
               extended the Commission sunset date from July 1, 2009 to  
               January 1, 2011.

             f)   SB 247 (Perata), Chapter 465, Statutes of 2006,  
               re-established the Commission on           January 1, 2007,  
               as an independent board through July 1, 2009.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          None on file

           Opposition 
           
          None on file

           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Dana Mitchell / A.,E.,S.,T. & I.M. /  
          (916) 319-3450