Legislators Get Tough on Extreme Fighting Competitions

Legislators Get Tough on Extreme Fighting Competitions
By: Arnold Wyrick

CARBONDALE, Ill - The days of bar room brawling in front of a paying audience is over in the state of Illinois.  The change comes after the governor signs a new law into effect regulating extreme fighting competitions.
"Now you've got to make sure you've got fire exits, proper seating.  You have to make sure the state sanctions you.  They look at the fighters.  Are these guys legitimately trained athletes?  Where do they train?  How do they train?  Who do they train under?  How are they taught?  Versus in the past where someone might just come in and say, hey I want to fight," said Sports Blast owner Dirk Borgsmiller.
Under the new law fighters have to be insured and sponsors must carry the insurance.
They're all professional mixed martial arts competitors who undergo extensive physical training and coaching before ever stepping into the ring.
"They're highly trained athletes.  MMA fighters are some of the best athletes in the world.  They have to be extremely well-rounded, extreme good conditioning.  They undergo physicals," said Promoter/Matchmaker Tim Fickes.
Those involved in extreme fighting competitions say the new regulations and changes are long overdue.
"All of these types of things that are now being sanctioned and required, I don't know if that's been done in the past.  So in my mind this legislation's been called for, I think it's a good thing," Borgsmiller said.
"That's the reason I fight in 'Kage One.'  You know you're going to fight a pro-trained fighter one way or another.  It's not going to be someone off the streets or somebody out of the stands," said R. J. Colborn of Carbondale.
The new law doesn't take affect until June 2008, but the upcoming extreme fighting competition at the Sports Blast in Carbondale on September 29th will be conducted under the new regulations.