After two and a half months of being in limbo the Tennessee Athletic Commission will learn it’s fate on April 7th. Yesterday the Government Operations Committee placed it on their calendar after delaying it on March 31st. Bill HB0392, which would give the Commission another year passed in the House on February 11th. A similar bill, SB0212 also passed in the State Senate on the same day.
If the Government Operations Committee approves the bill next week it will go to the Governor’s office to be signed into law. State Senator Mike Bell, who chairs the committee, had been a critic of the Athletic Commission and wants to see it sustain itself financially. Vice-chairman John Ragan has also been very outspoken about the Commission and wants it to “sunset” if it cannot be self-sufficient. With the UFC announcing that they will be in Nashville in August it gives the Commission some legs to stand on.
Behind the scenes there has been some reluctance from the Bridgestone Arena in letting the UFC book the venue. Due to the Commission being in sunset and the uncertainty of MMA in Tennessee the Arena initially wouldn’t allow Zuffa to hold the date. The UFC has been working with legislators and it’s highly unlikely they would pull the plug and kill the upcoming show that would bring a lot of money to Tennessee and downtown Nashville. If the UFC thought that the Commission wasn’t going to be around they wouldn’t have made the announcement about the show last month.
To read more about what has been going on in Tennessee check out the following links.
Tennessee Athletic Commission to Receive One Year Extension
Tennessee Athletic Commission isn’t going down without a fight
The Government Operations Committee members are listed below. You can contact their office or send them an email to let them know how important MMA is in Tennessee, and how much money the UFC show will bring to the state and the local economy.
Chairmen Mike Bell
Vice-chair John Ragan
1st Vice-chair Ed Jackson
2nd Vice-chair Kerry Roberts
House of Representatives
John Ray Clemmons
If the Committee gives the Athletic Commission another year it is only a small victory. The Commission will have another year to operate and regulate MMA in Tennessee but it will go back into sunset. Lawmakers need to consider allowing pro wrestling to be placed under the jurisdiction of the Commission like Kentucky. This would allow the State to bring in more revenue and make wrestling shows safer.