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Michigan looks to regulate amateur mixed martial arts fighting


State lawmakers are scheduled to discuss a new effort to regulate amateur mixed martial arts fighting.

Michigan law currently regulates professional MMA bouts, but not amateur matches.

State Rep. Harvey Santana, D-Detroit, fights in Michigan.

He says state lawmakers didn’t anticipate the growth in amateur MMA fighting when they passed the original regulations several years ago.

Santana says there are now five amateur MMA fight cards to every one pro fight card in Michigan. He says there’s little preventing anyone from stepping into the ring.

“Any person out there who thinks they got what it takes to get into a cage and fight can literally do so,” says Santana.

Santana says that willingness to fight has led many amateur MMA fighters to step into the ring against far more experienced fighters. Santana says some fighters have been seriously injured. 

In 2013, Felix Elochukwu Nchikwo, of Hamilton, Ontario, died after appearing in an amateur MMA in Michigan.    

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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