Stop the fight.
That’s what Iowa Labor Commissioner David Neil demanded when he issued a cease and desist order to stop an event which had been scheduled for last week in Bloomfield.
In a statement about alleged violations by Midwest Fighting Championships, Neil referred to new “Mixed Martial Arts” laws in Iowa requiring promoters like Midwest to submit fighter contracts, show proof of medical insurance and fighter medical fitness, and prove all fighters, professional and amateur, are 18 or older.
Midwest Fighting Championships had failed to provide the documentation required by law 24 hours before the scheduled Friday fights, the labor commissioner claims.
Efforts to reach the MFC representative listed on the paperwork, John George, were unsuccessful Tuesday afternoon.
Iowa Workforce Development, overseen by the labor secretary, issued a press statement in which Neil said that the few promoters who try to skirt Iowa’s laws present an unprofessional image.
But was MFC a big violator?
“This was their first major violation,” said Kerry Koonce, a spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Workforce Development.
The Davis County Sheriff’s office assisted the department in delivering the cease and desist order.
“They [the promoters] did not come up with the proper paperwork to be sanctioned by the state commissioner,” said Davis County Sheriff Dave Davis. “And with that, there were not going to be any fights allowed.”
The event had been scheduled for last Friday at the Davis County Fairgrounds. Davis did not get the impression, he told the Courier, that there was any confusion on the part of the fight promoter. The officials in charge of the venue, however, appeared to be unfamiliar with the MMA law, which just took effect this summer.
“The fair board was unaware of all the regulations and requirements [for such an event],” said Davis. “But there are regulations we’ve been made aware of: Things are going to be done the right way.”
“The laws surrounding mixed martial arts fights are there to protect everyone involved,” stated Neil. “The required blood work and physicals ensure that fighters are in condition before the match and the required health insurance prevents Iowans from picking up the bill for medical expenses when fighters frequently end up in the emergency room following a match.”
Around 50 promoters have requested fight licenses this year, said Koonce, and the majority get approved.
“Iowa has issued 37 licenses,” she said. “Most promoters do it right; It makes sense to do it right, up front, so you don’t cost yourself money.
The labor commissioner said that promoters who hold fights in violation of Iowa Mixed Martial Arts laws can face a $10,000 fine and the charge of a serious misdemeanor.
Koonce said the commissioner will not pursue charges against MFC because the fight did not proceed.