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DRL plans education with launch of MMA rules

The Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing holds a series of town hall meetings around the state in early August to educate the mixed martial arts (MMA) industry about the rules that will govern the sport beginning Sept. 1.

Earlier this year, Governor Jim Doyle signed Senate Bill 290 (Wis. Act 111) placing sport under the authority of regulation and licensing, and requiring the agency to formulate rules for the sport.

"We want to be proactive in our education of the industry so that they are well informed of the rules before they take effect," said Hector Colon, DRL executive assistant and Wisconsin's Boxing/MMA Commissioner. Meetings are planned in Green Bay, Wausau, Milwaukee and Madison.

DRL Secretary Celia Jackson appointed an advisory committee consisting of eight industry experts and one public member to assist DRL in drafting the rules. Collectively, the eight MMA industry representatives have more than 100 years of experience in the sport. The advisory committee has covered a variety of topics to formulate the rules for MMA including definitions and general terminology, weight classes, qualifications of referees and judges, bond requirements, promoter fees and duties, and cage specifications.

"The work of the advisory committee has been a tremendous asset to the DRL because of their expertise and concern for public safety and protection," said Colon. Staff at DRL also played a significant role in formulating the rules by researching other states while adopting best practices here in Wisconsin.

Jess Gonzalez has been hired by DRL as the Program Coordinator for boxing and MMA. He formerly worked for the Department of Corrections as a supervising officer. He has firsthand experience with the sport, having participated in MMA for 14 years. Gonzalez will play a key role in overseeing the rules and regulations of the sport while coordinating the staffing for MMA and boxing events statewide.

Wisconsin became the 43rd state to sanction and regulate MMA.