February 15, 2013
A committee of the Michigan legislature is considering a bill that would require participants in amateur mixed martial arts fights to prove they are not positive for HIV or hepatitis prior to fighting. Michigan legalized amateur mixed martial arts fighting, which includes boxing, wrestling, and jujitsu, in 2008.
Rep. Harvey Santana (D-Detroit) urged the legislative committee to pass the bill, which would establish HIV and hepatitis testing requirements, standards for the length and number of rounds, and weight classes. The safety measures also would mandate the presence of a medical professional at all fights and require fight promoters to insure fighters for at least $10,000 of medical expenses. The committee must first approve the bill before sending it to the legislature for a final vote. The bill could face opposition from lawmakers who oppose additional government regulation.
The bill's advocates included Al Low, owner of Michigan's Fight Club Proving Ground and former chairman of the Unarmed Combat Commission for professional mixed martial arts.