The battle for combat sports in Georgia continues to rage as the political posturing between Secretary of State Brian Kemp and the Georgia’s Athletic and Entertainment Commission has brought the situation to a standstill. The state of Georgia suspended all future MMA, boxing, and combat sports licensing after the GAEC rejected Kemp’s choice for the position of executive director following former GAEC executive director Andy Foster leaving the state to assume the same role in California.
According to local Atlanta news station WSB, the issue boils down to suggested replacement Kelly Farr’s lack of experience with MMA. This is a key issue since part of the executive director’s role is to ensure all sanctioned fights be fair and legal. According to Georgia Commission Chairman Don Geary:
“Because we’re so critical about how we match, we’re the only state that’s not had a fighter die in the ring in a sanctioned fight,” he continued “He doesn’t have the skills that we require, and we’re not going to compromise.”
The loss of combat sports in the state of Georgia is a rather large economic hit to a state that runs a multitude of MMA and boxing events each year. The commission also stated a concern for many gyms in the Atlanta area – including American Top Team and Brian Stann’s Warrior’s Legion – leaving the state to states where MMA is regulated.
At this time there is currently no remedy in sight. However, the commission has found a temporary one month fix that will allow the American Boxing Commission to approve bouts.