BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                AB 1186
                                                                Page  1

        (  Without Reference to Fil  e)

        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)

        |COMMITTEE VOTE:  |5-0  |(September 12,      |RECOMMENDATION: |concur    |
        |(A.,E.,S.,T. &   |     |2013)               |                |          |
        |I.M.)            |     |                    |                |          |

        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  


                                                                AB 1186
                                                                Page  2

           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 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  

           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.

         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  


                                                                AB 1186
                                                                Page  3

        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.
        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  


                                                                AB 1186
                                                                Page  4

        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.

         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  


                                                                AB 1186
                                                                Page  5

        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 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  

        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  

        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,  

        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  


                                                                AB 1186
                                                                Page  6


        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.

        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.

        Please see the policy committee analysis for full discussion of  
        this bill.

         Analysis Prepared by  :    Dana Mitchell / A.,E.,S.,T. & I.M. / (916)  
                                                                FN: 0002832 


                                                                AB 1186
                                                                Page  7