In the wake of a death in an amateur bout, Michigan has moved forward with regulating MMA for amateurs. Felix Nchikwo, a 35-year-old Canadian, died after his amateur bout in Michigan on Saturday. The vote was planned before his death, but the death did bring a spotlight on the need for amateur regulation in the state.
Nchikwo died in the hospital after fighting in an amateur bout in Port Huron, Mich. The Michigan coroner found no evidence that the death was caused by trauma. After the fight, his cornerman said he was dizzy and a "little exhausted," but then he was brought to the hospital after he collapsed.
Even though trauma was not behind Nchikwo's death and we'll never know if amateur regulation could have prevented it, it is a good move for Michigan to address this hole in their laws. With regulation, protections will be put in place for fighters such as required pre-fight medical and blood screenings. Professionals who try to fight amateurs could be charged with a felony.
Professional MMA has been regulated in Michigan for years. The UFC has been to Michigan twice, but both events were marred by controversy. UFC 9 was the event that led to Sen. John McCain's crusade against the sport and its removal from several cable providers. At UFC 123, several years later, Maiquel Falcao filed a formal complaint with the state commission because of a timekeeping problem.