Thursday, February 7, 2013

OT - Mis-regulation Strangles Small Businesses

 Update #3 1:33pm: UNOFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE! The following was taken from an email from Lt. Craig, posted with his permission. The information below is from Dr. Priollaud. The complete and official information will be released and posted on the OSAC website as soon as it gets approved.


I have proposed the following as our course trying to achieve the best medical practice while maintaining the good relationship between competitors and the physicians/commission.:

1. Effective 2-4-13 if you fight in any non-OSAC regulated event then you cannot fight again in Oregon until 6 months passes and your repeat (after 6 months) disease testing is negative. This was the Committee decision in November 2012.

2. From 2-4-13 to 8-4-13, if you had a past fight (prior to 2-4-13) at a venue not sanctioned by OSAC and your negative blood testing is not performed at least 6 months after this exposure then you must inform your opponent in advance that you could possibly represent a disease risk using the attached form. This form must be received by OSAC in advance (7d) of the fight and verified the day of in order to meet the requirement of informed consent without the appearance of any coercion. Your opponent could clearly choose not to fight. Since Hep C can easily persist on the mat for the entire duration of an event, a terminal cleaning with bleach solution would have to be done after every fight that included such a person.

 Update #2 12:00 noon:  After my first conversation with Lt. Craig, he spoke with the Medical Board. The official release should be today - tomorrow at the latest.

But they are offering a compromise.

Short version - New blood work will be required of fighters that fight at an event where no blood work is required. That fighter would be able to fight in Oregon during that 6 month time, SO LONG AS their opponent, at least 7 days before the event, signs a disclosure release that states they understand the situation and still want to fight.

There is more than that, but that is the bottom line.

UPDATE #1 11:30am: Just wrapped up a 43 minute conversation with Lt. Craig of OSAC. They will be issuing a Press Release about the Out-of-State blood work situation, probably tomorrow.

Mis-regulation -- and a state government leadership vacuum -- have put one Oregon small business sector in a stranglehold. As elected officials scramble for ways to create private sector jobs, one potentially easy victory sits under their noses, ignored -- halting government mistakes that actively hurt business.

A perfect example of mis-government putting the smackdown on small business is the harm done by neglectful mis-regulation by the Oregon State Athletic Commission (OSAC) of the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) industry. MMA events in Oregon are controlled by OSAC, a division of the Oregon State Police. Over the past four years, OSAC's missteps and fumbles have driven the regulatory cost of an MMA event up by 138% -- from $1,200 to $2,860 -- and as MMA grows vigorously in other states, Oregon's MMA events have plummeted 82% -- from 120 to just 22. (OSAC's event-fee revenue has fallen 56%, from $144,000 to just $62,920.)

OSAC also added a swarm of new Administrative Rules, often sloppily and in violation of Oregon law. Then in June 2012, OSAC's Executive Director was put on Administrative Leave -- and the Lieutenant of the Tribal Gaming Commission now covers the duties of both Commissions.

OSAC started 2013 by doubling down on sloppy rule-making. On February 4th, they announced a rule change "effective immediately" -- with no previous notice or public comment. This new and ill-considered version of OAR 230-020-0405 Out-of-State Contests, effectively suspended an estimated 30% of Oregon's dwindling family of competitors for 6 months for the "crime" of participating in an out-of-state event -- yet there was no rule against their attendance when the event was held. It was impossible for any athlete to follow a rule that was not in place and not announced. This disorderly rule-making, and especially the "ex post facto" inventing new rules to apply to past actions, is unworthy of a state commission.

MMA Promoters have been leaving Oregon for Washington and Nevada. With events down 82%, athletes have no place to compete, leaving them without income to support their families. Professional fighters no longer have nearly as many venues to earn their purse, and both professionals and amateurs lose out on sponsorship income. Local gym owners are losing business, and many have shut their doors, as MMA athletes move to other states. Almost a dozen promotion companies have moved -- or shut their doors.

Total job losses are estimated at 125, at an average wage of $33,000 -- making Oregon $4,125,000 poorer.

OSAC's actions have cost the state's taxpayers over $50,000 a year in direct event fees, and a further loss of the 6% ticket tax -- roughly $1,620 per fight over the 98 missing fights, or another $158,760 per year.

And when OSAC cannot cover its own costs, the funds come out of the OSP budget, reducing funds available to other public safety programs.

OSAC's economic beat-down also hits businesses near the events. Athletes and fans alike need hotels, restaurants, locations for post-event gatherings, and even supplies. In smaller communities, the local hospitality businesses need that influx of customers to keep themselves going. OSAC's changes have driven up costs so much that they become untenable to hold in smaller areas, and the entire local community loses that revenue. This is just one small Commission, but their sloppy rule-making and misregulation of their industry has a negative impact (directly or indirectly) on every Oregonian.

Multiply this effect by the number of Oregon's 220 rule-making boards and commissions. How much revenue and how many jobs have been lost, when you add all these humble industries together? A half million dollars here, two million there -- it all adds up. While we are looking for ways to improve Oregon's economy, we must not just look at the huge dollar items, but look at all these little fiefdoms that are, unintentionally, putting a choke-hold on small businesses.

If you agree that MMA in Oregon should be properly regulated, to allow the industry to grow and prosper while keeping athletes and the public safe, contact your Legislator and tell them. We need our Legislators to remind OSAC to follow their own rules and stop impulsive and disorderly rule-making. Ask your legislator to consider whether the industry would be better served if OSAC's duties were removed from the Oregon State Police, and regulated like other businesses in Oregon, under the Bureau of Labor and Industries.

We need the Commission to immediately roll-back the improper February 4th rule that they had no authority to implement, and to start over, following proper procedure. OSAC should also adopt suggestions previously made to recruit and train more Officials so more events can occur. And we need a full time Executive Director dedicated to OSAC. We can stop the mis-regulation and neglectful policies of the Oregon State Athletic Commission and allow the MMA industry to grow again.

-Jeanene Hammers
593 Taybin Road NW
Salem, OR 97304
Cell: 503-432-9361

Note: Feel free to post this in it's entirety. 

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