New legislation cuts costs, extends Tennessee Athletic Commission

tsj state news 1By Kevin Walters

New legislation that streamlines and modernizes the Tennessee Athletic Commission took effect when Gov. Bill Haslam signed Senate Bill (SB) 0212/House Bill (HB) 0392 into law on May 4.

SB 0212/HB 0392 eliminated obsolete provisions in the Tennessee Athletic Commission Act without changing the commission’s core purpose of overseeing professional boxing and mixed martial arts sporting events in Tennessee.

Prior to 2015, the commission was financially insolvent, put into wind down and scheduled to be terminated. The legislation extends the commission to June 30, 2017. The extension took effect when the bill was signed into law.

“Changes needed to be made to the Tennessee Athletic Commission in order to create a better-functioning commission,” said Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville), who sponsored the legislation in the Senate. “These updates ensure that boxing and mixed martial arts events will continue to be held in Tennessee. I thank my fellow members of the General Assembly for their support.”

The legislation’s changes include: Current commission members must vacate the commission by Jan. 1, 2016 and five new members will be appointed for new terms. The legislation does not prevent current members from being reappointed.

The commission will no longer employ a director to oversee the commission’s daily operation. Instead, the commission will now be attached to the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance’s Division of Regulatory Boards. The division’s director (or his designee) will oversee administrative functions.

Any monies collected by the commission must be carried forward to cover future commission expenses. No monies from the General Fund can be used to cover commission expenses.

Promoters must cover procedures such as participants’ physical examinations and blood tests as well as the costs of referees, a ringside physician, a neurologist and an ambulance.

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