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I am not sure when this happened but it happened. We used to know who the bad guys were and who the good guys were. Well in the fight world it seems to be a little more difficult to distinguish the two now doesn’t it?
Let’s start by talking about smokers in New Mexico. “Smoker” doesn’t refer to someone who sucks on a cigarette. A Smoker in the fight world is an all amateur event where kids (and sometimes adults) can test their skills against each other. There isn’t a purse and the prizes, if any, are usually just ribbons or trophies.
New Mexico doesn’t have a deep enough pool of fighters to give these up-and-coming kids as many fights as someplace like NY, so when someone puts on a smoker it is huge for our kids. It gives them experience, it gives them a goal and, dare I say it, it gives them a little bit of pride.
A lot of these kids that participate in the fight world are under privileged/poor. Boxing, kickboxing, grappling and MMA all have the ability to pull them out of that hole and make them special, if not for a lifetime, at least for the duration of that fight.
That being said, why is the State commission trying to get involved in these smokers? They don’t make any substantial profit, and what they do make usually goes back to the gyms that host the event to provide better equipment and opportunities. It can’t be the money that’s making the commission take an interest in Smokers since most of them barely break even.
What about safety then – if the state gets involved in smokers then certainly they’ll be safer for the kids, right?
The coaches and staff definitely know better than the state what is safe for these kids (at one point the commission lead was a substitute from another division of the state that had no affiliation or experience with combat sports). Because they can read a regulation in no way makes them knowledgeable about the sport.
On the flip side you have the coaches, who for the most part are struggling to keep their gyms open and they absolutely do not want these kids to get hurt because these kids pay the bills. Not to mention many of them are motivated by the fact that maybe by fighting one of these kids might get off the streets and away from drugs. Or even better, become a boxing superstar. I have never seen a coach not absolutely adore the kids that dedicate completely to training in the sport.
So it can’t be the fact that the state thinks that it can better protect the kids and the sport by getting involved in smokers – unless they really are that delusional (Condit isn’t impressed).
What does the state bring to these smokers by getting involved you ask? Maybe it’s worth it?
Let me see if I can show you what the commission is planning to do by changing (or adding) regulations. Really it’s just about control – they want to make themselves feel like they have ABSOLUTE POWER.
188.8.131.52- changes the definition of “amateur contest” “contact exhibition” “contest” plus several others. Can you guess why ? Uh yeah we can assume it’s to get undisputed jurisdiction over non-professional fights (smokers).
184.108.40.206- once the commission has control, that means that if a fighter goes into a ring that is not blessed (aka sanctioned) by the commission that person who put on the event may lose their license.
220.127.116.11- states that you must have a permit for any event (pro or amateur) which means you have to have (or publish) the following: a promoters license, date of contest, contracts, location, insurance, list of participants in main event, number of rounds in total, security, ambulance and medical techs, grant the state right to your books and accounts, and if that wasn’t enough already, you have to wait until the next scheduled meeting for the almighty commission to bless your event. This will eventually lead to blood tests, and health verification, pregnancy tests and (I’m just speculating here) that may also include DI’s at each event and commissioners at each event.
I won’t go into everything (yes, there is more) but my point is that this adds a lot of money, a lot of effort, a lot of regulation, a lot of waiting and simply a huge pain just to put on an amateur event. So much in fact that a lot of coaches and gyms are not going to want to do it or even bother with it.
Who gets hurt with all of these changes?
JUST THE FIGHTERS – JUST OUR KIDS.
Who benefits from all these changes?
Nobody really. Unless you count all the “people” who now get a piece of the action when someone does decide to put on an event.
I have to ask then, if the kids don’t have any way to show accomplishment and get the “W” what is their incentive? Learning is great, health is great, but most of them do it to win. I don’t know of anyone who trains in a contact/combat sport and says to themselves “I really hope I don’t ever have to actually fight anyone with these skills”.
What am I getting at?
Why am I sharing this?
Because I believe in the small gym’s, I believe some of the best boxers in the world come from small gym’s.
If you coaches, parents, and the general public don’t wake up and start going to the athletic commission meetings – like this next one coming up with the proposed rule changes – you are going to have you’re a$$ handed to you.
EDITOR’S UPDATE: As “Tom’s Foot” pointed out in the comments below, the next athletic commission meeting is tonight (5/12/15). Click here for more information and directions.
They are going to change the rules on you and you’re not even going to know it until your next smoker costs more than double what you bring in.
Wake up people! If you give the state full control without care, they will abuse that control every time. And you’ll be left holding this.
Now what they may try to say is that they want to do it with no additional fees and minimal changes. But what I would question is what about the permit fees, blood tests, medical personnel and so on? Those aren’t “additional fees” but it ends up costing A LOT more to put on an event with those kind of “minimal changes”.
Once the Government gets involved, cost always goes up cause government always wants their cut. What the government will say is the reason? It’s for the safety of the fighters…
When is the last time that you went to a smoker and someone has gotten hurt (at least more than can be expected for a sport that involves hitting)?
I love this sport and will do everything that I can for it to remain a great sport. But if the coaches don’t fight this, and actually take the time to go to the meetings, my words and efforts will mean nothing! And you will only be going to fights that the larger gyms can have, because they will be the only ones that can afford it.
Think about that coaches! All the power in the hands of the government and the bigger gyms. Can you figure out what will happen next? I can.