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Boxing Commission Is Brought Back by State

September 27, 2006|Greg Johnson | Times Staff Writer

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday signed into law a bill that resurrects the state commission charged with overseeing boxing and increasingly popular extreme fighting bouts. The new state Athletic Commission to be seated on Jan. 1, 2007, will replace a storied but troubled commission that closed its doors in July after failing to survive a state review of regulatory agencies that had outlived their usefulness.

Commission responsibilities were transferred this summer to the state Department of Consumer Affairs. SB 247 will shift those oversight and regulatory duties to the new Athletic Commission. The bill sets minimum qualifications for commissioners who will be appointed by the governor and legislators.

The bill was spearheaded in Sacramento by state Sen. Don Perata (D-Oakland). It was sponsored by the Center for Public Interest Law in San Diego and drew strong support from Hollywood production companies that have incorporated boxing into reality television shows.

The new commission, like its predecessor, will issue and renew licenses held by boxers and promoters, regulate fights, and oversee the mushrooming sport of modified martial arts. "This bill gives the commission tools it needs, a clear guidance in law, and greater accountability, so it can get back to work protecting these athletes and promoting the continued growth of the sport," Perata said.

The commission that fell victim to a regulatory agency review dated to 1924, when it was created to protect fighters and fans from shady elements. SB 247 was designed to give the new panel stronger regulatory power over medical issues that affect athletes. It also is expected to operate more efficiently than the old commission, which suffered from constant fiscal problems.

greg.johnson@latimes.com

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