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Update on NY Boxing/NYSAC Insurance Issue

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The New York State Athletic Commission held a public hearing at their Manhattan headquarters today (Aug 31) and boxing folk in NY were on the edge of their seats.

Why is that?

A new regulation which demands that boxing promoters insure every fighter on a NY card up to one million dollars payable if a fighter suffers a catastrophic brain injury is kicking in tomorrow. No insurance company would touch that ask, and write a policy which would be economically amenable to all but the biggest promotional bigwigs, quite likely, and this regulation could drive boxing from the state.

The impending regulation has put a chill on dates for promoters like Lou DiBella, who would have liked to place the forthcoming Danny Jacobs/PBC fight in Brooklyn. But he’s holding off on booking cards in NY till this issue plays out.

Ron Katz is an a matchmaker/exec with Star Boxing, headed by Joe DeGuardia from the Bronx. Katz attended the meeting and told NYF that his company has dates set in October and December but Star needs to have the insurance deal get re fashioned or they will have to move the shows.

Katz told me that Star and Dibella personnel met with the NYSAC crew and got an update on where the matter stands. He said that they were told that NYSAC is seeming to want to iron the issue out, and is in talks to find an insurer who will underwrite a viable policy. “The NYSAC people all seem to want to fix this, and we seem to be on the same page,” he said.

If a reasonable policy cannot be formulated, Katz said, the regulation would have to be reintroduced to the state legislature, and hopefully modified. He seemed reasonably optimistic that this will play out to benefit the promoters and boxers and staff who rely on pro boxing to make a living in NY.

DeGuardia weighed in to NYF as well: “I am very concerned about the situation. Unfortunately roads paved with good intentions don’t necessarily take you to where you think. The new regulations make boxing even more difficult to promote and will have the reverse effect desired; it will reduce revenues that flow to the state from boxing events and will also reduce opportunities for numerous boxers–and everyone else that the derives a benefit from the sport.”

NYSAC sent out this release hours after the session ended:

“Today, the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) voted to approve the final regulations governing combat sports in New York State. NYSAC’s primary objective is to ensure the safest environment for combative sports in the nation so that combat athletes competing in New York State incur the fewest and least severe injuries possible. While some combative sports industry professionals expressed concern over the premiums for the $1 million coverage, these amounts are as yet determined. However, from discussions with insurers about to enter the market, we believe the costs will be reasonable. Ultimately, the frequency and severity of life-threatening brain injuries incurred in New York State will drive the premiums. NYSAC believes the best way to keep premiums down is to keep injuries to a minimum.”

We will keep you all apprised.

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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