Bonilla Bill to protect children in mixed martial arts

Bill approved by Governor

Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1186, by Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla, which will protect young athletes who participate in full contact mixed martial arts events.

“This measure is a high priority because it strengthens protections for the health and well-being of our children who enjoy these sports,” said Assemblywoman Bonilla. “Young athletes who participate in unregulated mixed martial arts competitions can be at risk of serious injury. With stronger oversight from the state, AB 1186 will improve the safety of all kids participating in full contact mixed martial arts contests.”

Pankration, a limited version of mixed martial arts, has its roots in ancient Greece as a blend of boxing and wrestling. For the past several years, promoters throughout the state have organized tournaments where children as young as four years old compete in unregulated pankration events. This July, the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) issued a cease-and-desist letter to mixed martial arts organizations warning them to stop all youth pankration competitions until the Commission has completed its review of the sport.

AB 1186 would clarify CSAC’s authority to regulate all forms of full contact mixed martial arts contests involving participants 18 years of age or younger, including pankration. This bill would also direct CSAC to create a subcommittee to examine pankration and make recommendations to the full commission.

“The Commission appreciates Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla taking important steps to ensure the safety of children participating in mixed martial arts,” said Andy Foster, Executive Officer of CSAC.

AB 1186 is supported by the following organizations:  Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Roy Englebrecht Promotions, and Bellator MMA.

Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla was first elected to the Assembly in November 2010, and represents California’s 14th Assembly District, which is comprised of the north and central portions of Contra Costa County and southern portion of Solano County.