Elizabethton, TN – Two of the most popular sporting events across the state could soon be coming to a close.
Mixed martial arts and boxing events will become illegal as of July 1, 2015, if no new legislation is passed.
According to a report by nashvillesportsmix.com, lawmakers see the Tennessee Athletic Commission as unprofitable and will terminate the commission if no ideas are produced.
The TAC was created in 2008 and approved by the Tennessee State Legislature by the “Tennessee Athletic Commission Act of 2008” to allow professional boxing and MMA events to commence in the area.
After being stated as a “hotbed for MMA” by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Vice President of Regulatory, Marc Ratner, Tennessee was profitable during 2009 and 2010 with events from the UFC and the now-defunct Strikeforce promotion but has not seen a national brand come to the state since Jan. 20, 2012. The UFC event in Nashville was scheduled during the week and drew 7,700 spectators, according to numbers presented following the event, a steep decline from 10,200 that were in attendance for the first UFC fight in Music City, according to report.
The TAC, based in Nashville, was created to generate a sizable profit from national brands, like UFC, to cover the cost of having members of the commission attend events, cover the costs of insurance and other items.
Since 2012, Tennessee has featured a multitude of amaetur and professional MMA and boxing events on the regional scene but the profits are not enough to cover the expense of having TAC members attend every event and stay active, lawmakers argue.
Tennessee has produced a batch of current UFC fighters, including Rampage Jackson, Ovince Saint Preux. Along with the nationally signed fighters, the Tri-Cities is home of pro fighters currently garnering attention including Adam “Prime Time” Townsend from Hampton and Dustin “All Day” Long, from Elizabethton. On the boxing scene, locals like Brad Austin have had the opportunity to box in events televised on HBO. Fighters would be able to continue their careers but no longer have the opportunity to fight in their home state at the professional level.
Recent events locally included Apex Fights 4’s MMA event at Sullivan Central High School, where percentage of money went to benefit the athletic program. Bang Bang Promotions also presented a boxing fight night in Johnson City two weeks ago.
Facebook campaigns from fighters and promoters have taken form since recent reports on the potential of losing the two sports from the state.
Fighters and promoters urge fans to contact their local representatives to show support for the athletic events while ideas are being floated around, including regulating professional wrestling.