The following information is from the Office of Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla:
Legislation introduced by Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord) which will protect the health and safety of young martial arts athletes, won unanimous approval today in the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee.
The bill, Assembly Bill 1186, would clarify that the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) is authorized to regulate all forms of full contact martial arts contests involving participants 18 years of age or younger, including pankration.
“Young athletes who participate in unregulated martial arts competitions are at risk of serious injury,” said Bonilla. “Cage fight matches between competitors as young as five years old has raised concerns for their safety. This bill will close a loophole in state law and will permit State Athletic Commissioners to properly examine and monitor these martial arts contests to ensure proper safety measures are being followed.”
Pankration, a limited version of mixed martial arts, has its roots in ancient Greece as a blend of boxing and wrestling. For the past several years, promoters throughout the state have organized tournaments where children as young as four years old compete in unregulated pankration events.
CSAC was created to protect the health and safety of athletes by providing oversight of sporting events in California. Existing law states that the “protection of the public shall be the highest priority for the State Athletic Commission.” In 2006, CSAC began regulating mixed martial arts.
This July, CSAC issued a cease-and-desist letter to mixed martial arts organizations warning them to stop all youth pankration competitions until the Commission has completed its review of the sport. Earlier today, the Commission voted unanimously to support AB 1186.
“The Commission is currently studying youth pankration to examine its safety procedures for participants under 18,” said Andy Foster, Executive Officer of CSAC. “Our goal is to ensure that every participant undergoes physical examinations, that a physician attends events in case of injury, and that all events are conducted with a medical insurance program. AB 1186 will help clarify the role of CSAC to ensure it has the authority to properly regulate these competitions.”