The Oklahoma State Athletic Commission has suspended all combat sports due to lack of funding. According to MMAValor, the commission has halted all permits after March 31 (with the exception of a previously set boxing event on April 7).
The article mentions the commission is facing legal action from the UFC’s parent company, Zuffa LLC., for its pay-per-view tax that taxes all PPVs that air in the state to provide funding for the commission to operate. The tax, which has been in place since 2004, provides the commission additional funding to operate events in the state. This is key, because the commission receives no state funding to operate.
Financial restraints are one of the main problems for most state athletic commissions these days. With state funding dropping in many states, athletic commissions are often the first offices to lose funding. The irony of course being that the commissions are facing increased demands with more events in many states, leaving many commissions struggling to figure out how to meet these demands.
Oklahoma State Athletic Commission director explained his state’s issue to MMAValor, stating:
“It takes approximately $360K for the Commission to provide regulation for the approximately 275 events per year we regulate. The Oklahoma State Athletic Commission does not receive any state funding. We are funded solely from license fees, assessment on live events, and an assessment on pay-per-view events. We receive approximately $137K per year through license fees and assessments on live events. Receipts from Pay-per-view are approximately $240K per year. About $80K per year comes from UFC PPV. The UFC has threatened a law suit against our PPV law unless our legislature repeals our PPV law during this legislative session. The Commission loses either way. OK has been collecting on PPV since 2004 and this is the first time the issue has been brought to light. For the Oklahoma Commission to survive and for Combat Sports to continue in Oklahoma it will be up to the Oklahoma legislature to come up with a solution to the funding shortfall. You can do the math.”
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