The most important thing for you to know is that the California Department of Consumer Affairs operates the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC). CSAC maintains regulatory oversight over all professional boxing and MMA events in the State of California. Right now, CSAC also maintains control over amateur boxing and will soon be regulating MMA as well. CSAC has certain financial reporting requirements, training requirements, and safety regulations that all participants must abide by. Failure to respect and abide by these rules can actually lead to a civil enforcement action by the Attorney General's or by local law enforcement (where the violation has occurred). The groups that are active in promoting the regulation of MMA are California Mixed Martial Arts, USA MMA, Roy Englebright, Elite XC professionals, and others.
Do I Need to Be Licensed to Fight in MMA or Boxing?
In California, it is important that all professional bouts be officially sanctioned by the State of California or by its designees under the California Government Code. Right now, any professional event will be overseen by the Commission and oversight is extended to amateur boxing events. USA Boxing, a nonprofit delegatee, is responsible for overseeing amateur boxing in the State of California. It has several Local Boxing Clubs who supervise geographical areas within the state. Each LBC puts on authorized training courses for coaches and officials. In order to compete, officiate, or coach, for boxing in the State of California, you must complete certain requirements with the State of California (through USA Boxing). You will need to complete certain forms promulgated by the Department of Consumer Affairs and you will need to comply with USA Boxing's internal regulations and rulebook. As for MMA, the law is currently developing and will be clarified in 2009.
What if I Have A Grievance with Boxing in California?
Under current regulations, officials, coaches and participants may file a grievance with USA Boxing directly. This will be handled by the internal USA Boxing process and will cost $150.00. The grievance fee may be waived by USA Boxing. If you have a grave concern about something you are alleging, you may go directly to CSAC or other state agencies with your complaint. Any problems with gambling, safety concerns, or other criminal issues, can be brought to the attention of CSAC, USA Boxing and local law enforcement. MMA will soon have a grievance procedure in place as well. The process will likely be administered by the delegatee of CSAC's regulatory function in this area.
Do I Need a Lawyer as a Fighter?
If you are an MMA fighter, you may need a lawyer to ensure that the event promoter has provided for proper insurance, has not financially exploited you, and that your interests are adequately represented as to ranking and other elements necessary to proper matchmaking. There are few lawyers who represent the interests of fighters in the State of California. Whichever lawyer you hire must have a foremost concern for your safety and ability to stay competitive within the industry. The other area of concern for fighters is in the area of licensing and use of your image within commercial settings. You have a right to control the use of your likeness in commercial ventures and you are entitled to compensation where someone else is profiting from your image or hard work in the ring. Make sure to hire an attorney who is willing to fight for the highest value of your hard work.
Do I need a Lawyer for Grievances?
If you are concerned about not being treated fairly at an administrative level, you should consult with an attorney. The most likely areas of concern will be with a ranking problem, extended suspension due to an alleged injury sustained in a bout, or with respect to financial issues. Don't wait to bring your complaint forward to USA Boxing or CSAC. There may be certain time limits or practical considerations which will limit your ability to get relief for violations of your rights. Again, it is important that you choose legal counsel who possesses the unique knowledge necessary to navigate through this legal area.
Where Do I Get More Information on Boxing and MMA law?
You can contact www.InlandValleyAttorneys.com, www.CaliforniaMixedMartialArts.org, or www.dca.ca.gov for more important information on your rights as a promoter, coach, official or fighter.
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