Pa. steps into mixed martial arts ring

February 23, 2009 10:14:36 AM PST
Pennsylvania will allow mixed martial arts events beginning Friday after state officials wrote new regulations to govern fight safety. The sport combines elements of karate, judo, jujitsu and kickboxing. Proponents say mixed martial arts has evolved from its no-holds-barred past that Sen. John McCain once called "human cockfighting."

States including New Jersey, Ohio and Maryland already permit it. Pennsylvania officials say the State Athletic Commission expects to regulate four to five events per month.

The commission worked for more than a year on the sport's regulations.

Promoters and fighters must be licensed and insured. Fighters also must take a pre-fight physical exam by a commission-approved doctor while emergency personnel must be at ringside at all times.

Ultimate Fighting Championship is the biggest name in mixed martial arts.

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