H. B. 2562
(By Delegates Morgan, Stephens, Hartman,
Manypenny, Martin, Staggers, Swartzmiller,
Talbott and Azinger)
[Passed March 12, 2011; in effect ninety days from passage.]
AN ACT to
amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new section, designated §29-5A-3a,
to the State Athletic Commission; authorizing the commission
to regulate mixed martial arts; providing for use of the
unified rules of mixed martial arts; stating powers of the
commission; defining terms; creating licensing requirements;
providing for rule-making authority; and prohibiting
municipalities from imposing a license tax on mixed martial
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new section, designated §29-5A-3a, to read as
ARTICLE 5A. STATE ATHLETIC COMMISSION.
§29-5A-3a. Power to regulate mixed martial arts.
(a) The commission has sole power, direction, management and
control over all professional mixed martial arts contests, matches and exhibitions, or any form thereof, to be promoted, conducted,
held or given within the state.
(b) As used in this article, the term "mixed martial arts"
means a combative sporting contest, the rules of which allow two
competitors to attempt to achieve dominance over one another by
utilizing a variety of techniques including, but not limited to,
striking, grappling and the application of submission holds.
(c) A mixed martial arts contest, match or exhibition
promoted, conducted, held or given within the state shall be under
the commission's authority and be in accordance with the provision
of this section. The provisions of this article that apply to
boxing shall also apply to mixed martial arts as appropriate.
(d) In exercising its jurisdiction over professional mixed
martial arts contests matches and exhibitions, the commission shall
follow the current unified rules of mixed martial arts as adopted
by the Association of Boxing Commissions, to enable the proper
licensing of all participants, referees and judges, and the
approval of contests, matches or exhibitions conducted under the
provisions of this section.
(e) The commission may issue and revoke a license to promote,
conduct, hold or give mixed martial arts contests, matches or
exhibitions and may issue and revoke a license to be a contestant.
Each license is subject to the provisions of this section and
article, and the rules of the commission.
(f) The commission shall propose rules for legislative
approval, in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, to implement the provisions of
this section, including:
(1) Procedures and requirements for the issuance and renewal
of licenses: Provided, That the procedures and requirements shall
(A) Limit or prohibit mixed martial arts contests, matches or
(B) Include a provision that a licensee be a West Virginia
(2) Exemptions from licensure;
(3) Procedures for revoking licenses;
(4) Adopting the unified rules of mixed martial arts;
(5) A fee schedule;
(6) Limitations or restrictions necessary to
safety of the participants;
(7) The requirements for fair and honest conducting of the
contests, matches or exhibitions; and
(8) Any other rules necessary to effectuate the provisions of
(g) Notwithstanding the provisions of this code to the
contrary, a municipality may not impose a municipal license tax
under section four, article thirteen, chapter eight of this code on
mixed martial arts clubs. The granting of a license to a club by
the commission, or the holding of a license by a club, individual,
corporation or association, does not prevent the commission from
revoking the license to conduct an event, as provided in this section: Provided, That nothing in this subsection limits the
authority of a municipality to impose any other taxes or fees on
mixed martial arts contests, matches or exhibitions, pursuant to
article thirteen, chapter eight of this code.