August 31, 2016

Department of State Announces New York State Athletic Commission to Begin Accepting Combative Sports License Applications

Department of State Announces New York State Athletic Commission to Begin Accepting Combative Sports License Applications
Athletic Commission approves final regulations governing mixed martial arts events in New York State

The New York Department of State announced the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) will begin accepting new combative sports license applications on Thursday, September 1, 2016. The announcement follows NYSAC’s final approval today of regulations implementing and governing combative sports in New York State.

“Today, New York State opens its doors to mixed martial arts, and begins writing a new chapter in our rich history as a mecca for combat athletes,” said New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. “These regulations will protect the health and safety of combat athletes in New York State, and enhance the experience of combative sports for fans and competitors alike.”

Applications for licensure from prospective fighters, officials and promoters can be found here. The Commission had previously put forth proposed regulations and provided a 45-day public comment period for stakeholder feedback before approving the final rules.

The Department received several comments to this rulemaking. Some identified purely technical issues and others provided suggestions to amend proposed language in order to clarify intent and meaning. Many such suggestions were accepted and have been incorporated into the text.

However, a number of comments were directed towards the insurance requirements.  Many opined that while they recognize and agree with the need to protect participants in New York, the minimum insurance coverage requirements are anticipated to be too costly.  Despite such comments, the Commission is approving these regulations to meet the legislative mandate by implementing the most robust insurance requirements in the country, while preserving the opportunity for professional combative sports events to occur in a well-regulated and practicable manner within the State.

The regulations promulgated today strike a reasonable and appropriate balance, acknowledging both the anticipated costs to promoters and the increased protections afforded in the event of injury, including life-threatening brain injury, to the participants it licenses.

MMA’s expansion into New York is projected to yield more than $137 million in economic activity for the state’s economy, roughly half of which is expected to be spent in Upstate New York, and result in $5.4 million in state and local taxes on an annual basis.