As first reported by MMAmania.com, South Carolina could soon be the 38th state to legalize MMA. In a vote to be held today, legislators in the Senate Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee are expected to lift the current ban on fighting and become part of the ever-growing list of states legally hosting MMA events.
The southern state has a huge fan base of the sport. That, along with the economic benefits that South Carolina will surely receive, seem to make for a relatively hassle-free vote.
State officials have estimated that the South Carolina Revenue Department and Athletic Commission could yield a 5% increase in total profits if the vote to legalize the sport succeeds.
State Representatives also seem to have a favorable opinion on the sport in general. “I don’t think it’s any more dangerous than football,” said Sen. Lee Bright (R-Roebuck) in a recent interview with the USA Today.
Sen. Jake Knotts (R-Lexington), who introduced the bill in 2008, said that lifting the ban and regulating the sport would help curb illegal fights. Legalizing the sport would be better than residents “going in the back woods somewhere and getting hurt.”
Michael Tyler, chairman of South Carolina’s Athletic Commission, said that he fields calls on a weekly basis from promoters hoping to get the ban lifted. “It would be a huge economic impact, monetarily for the state.”
All signs point to a successful vote to bring MMA to South Carolina. Stay tuned to FightLine.com for voting results.