Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports creates Athlete’s Voice committee

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUG 06: Dean Thomas at the table in the studio during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 06, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Former UFC fighter Dean Thomas has joined the Athlete’s Voice committee set up by the Association of Boxing Commissioners. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

The rules of combat sports, and often the policies and procedures that Athlete Commissions use to govern these fights in the US, are often confusing, especially for the athletes themselves.

The Association of Boxing and Combat Commissions (ABC) is taking a step to bring athletes closer to this process. He formed the “Voice of the Athlete” committee, which will include seven current or former fighters, to try to refine the rules, educate and improve processes.

The committee, which will be chaired by Kim Sumbler, executive director of the New York State Athletic Commission, already includes former UFC fighters Dean Thomas and Carlos Newton. Hall of Famer Randy Couture is also expected to be a member, said Mike Mazzulli, president of ABC.

Mazzulli said the idea came from his interactions with fighters at various events over the years.

“At every weigh-in, I ask the fighters questions about the rules and regulations, and it is clear to me that most of the participants in the fights do not have a clear understanding of the rules and scoring criteria,” he said. “This committee will also allow the fighters to have a say at the negotiating table.”

In addition to Mazzulli, Sumbler, Thomas and Newton, the committee already includes Eric Magraquin of the ABC rules and regulations committee; Jack Reiss, legendary boxing referee; Tony Cummings, Executive Director of the Colorado Combat Sports Authority; Nick Meeker, Executive Director of the Wyoming Combat Sports Commission; and John Hollingsworth, administrator of the South Carolina Athletic Commission.

When Couture’s position becomes official, there will be four additional spots for fighters.

The committee will report fighters’ concerns to the appropriate ABC committees to help improve regulation of the sport. It will also have an educational element as non-fighters will explain issues such as scoring, fighters’ rights of appeal, and contracts and manager-related issues.

Sumbler said that the creation of the committee should be a boon for the fighters.

“This is a breakthrough for the industry,” she said.[This is] regulators and athletes are working hand in hand to improve martial arts. [It’s a] a great opportunity for athletes to have a meaningful and organized voice in their sport.”


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