Since last June I’ve been working on trying to rally the troops to save the Tennessee Athletic Commission. I’m not going to rehash everything here, instead I’ll post the links to the other stories below for those hadn’t read them.
Last week I spoke with House Speaker Beth Harwell’s office and asked them what their position was on the Commission sunsetting. They didn’t know about it at the time but told me they would look into it and get back with me. This afternoon I received a phone call from the Speaker’s office. I was told that on January 26, 2014 Senator Mike Bell and Rep Judd Matheny sponsored bill SB 1564 – HB 1586 that gave the Athletic Commission a one year extension to keep it out of sunset. Speaker’s Hartwell’s office informed me that it was likely that the Commission would be given another year and legislation would be introduced by Rep Jeremy Faison from the 1th District in East Tennessee. As chairman of the Government Operations Committee Mr. Faison would be the one to sponsor a bill giving the Commission another year.
If you want to speak to Mr. Faison about the commission he can be contacted via email, email@example.com or by phone, (615) 741-6871.
The UFC is also aware of what is going in the Volunteer State. I have been in touch with Zuffa and they tentatively have plans to bring a show to Nashville this year. A lot of that hinges on what happens with the Commission though. The vice president of regulatory affairs for the UFC, Marc Ratner went on record with MMAFighting.com today stating that the UFC was aware what was going on in Tennessee and were working to help the commission. It’s unclear what exactly they can do but the UFC obviously has deep pockets and a lot of clout when it comes to regulation.
The UFC has two of the most notable fighters from Tennessee on their roster. Rampage Jackson or Ovince St. Preux would draw a lot of local interest and pack the Bridgestone Arena if they were on the card. A fight in Nashville between the two men from west and east Tennessee would likely sell it out.
Sherdog, MMAMania, MMAFighting, and the underground have all picked up on the story and have helped energize the hardcore fans in Tennessee. The problem is that fans in Texas and Kentucky can’t fight this battle. It has to come from Tennesseans.
Today the local media in Clarksville did a piece on what is going on. I was also contacted by Channel 5 in Nashville and they are working on a piece that will air at 6 PM Central. They did their own investigation and shot some footage at Nashville MMA.
It’s good that local media is starting to take note but we still must encourage other journalists, talk show hosts and reporters to report on what is going on.
Keep on fighting. It’s not over yet.