Cal. Ath. Comm. may not be giving women’s MMA fair treatment

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    Chad Moechnig
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    local13
    Post subject: Cal. Ath. Comm. may not be giving women’s MMA fair treatment Post Posted: Wed May 16, 2007 8:33 pm

    Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 10:10 pm
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    A very nice woman who operates this website:  gave me the email address of Armando Garcia, Executive Officer of the California Athletic Commission, which regulates boxing and martial arts fighting in that state.

    Mr. Garcia responded quickly to my email and stated that the rules call for 5 five minute rounds in martial arts matches (other than kickboxing) in California. Here is the exact language of the rule he sent me:

    512. Rounds; Number; Length; Rest Period.

    (b) Non-title martial arts bouts other than kickboxing shall not exceed 5 rounds, each round not to exceed 5 minutes, with a rest period of not less than one minute nor more than 2 minutes, as specified by the sanctioning body. Except with the approval of the commission, pursuant to Section 18748 of the code, title bouts shall not exceed the maximum length or number of rounds specified in this subsection and in no event shall the rest period between rounds be less than one minute.

    However, Mr. Garcia did say on occasion based on the experience of the fighter the Commissio may reduce the rounds to 3 in number and/or lower the time from 5 mintues to 3 minutes per round. I wrote him back inquiring whether there was another regulation that authorized the commission to reduce the numer of rounds and the minutes contained therein. I also asked him if it were the practice to have women’s MMA matches operate under the shorter round/minutes criteria. He has yet to respond to my latest inquiry. If he does, I will post his response.

    The post above in bold was written about a week ago and still no response from Mr. Garcia. As an attorney with some experience in discrimination, I believe I can safely state that it is highly possible the California Athletic Commission may be treating women’s MMA in an unlawful manner.

    The regulation cited above is apparently the only one governing MMA in California. The regulation is gender neutral and only essentially states that there may be up to 5, 5 minute rounds in a MMA match. Thus, on its face this regulation is not discriminatory, which in legal lingo means there is no de jure discrimination.

    However, if this regulation is applied in a discriminatory manner, it could constitute de facto discrimination. This type of discrimination occurs when you apply a valid regulation in a legally impermissable manner. For example, if men in California were routinely allowed to have 5, 5 minute matches, while women were only offered say, 3, 3 minute or 5, 2 minute rounds, it would appear there may in fact be some unlawful discrimination. The determining factor would be to analyze the men’s matches in California to see if there is a pattern of different treatment for men as compared to women.

    If there is disparate treatment for no good discernable reason, women MMA participants competing in California may have a good lawsuit for violation of their right to equal protection under the law. However, before one runs off and files suit, it may be worthwhile to document your facts before the commission and ask that they cease and desist treating women’s MMA in an unfair manner. If they still fail to do so, I would at that point recommend contacting legislators for assistance in passing clear laws that treat women’s MMA fairly, and also consider litigation.

    If anyone wants to contact me, but for any reason does not want to do so in this public forum, please feel free to contact me at the email address provided in my profile.

    I hope this information helps.

    Barry
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    Maulinator
    Post subject: PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 9:43 pm
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    You rock Barry! Very good information. I agree with you that people shouldn’t run and file lawsuits. I think it would give the wrong impression. I don’t want it to look like a bunch of whining women. It may end up backfiring, and they cut of MMA entirely. The sport is still new in the state (legally) and I don’t want to see it ruined for everyone. Let’s just see if we can get them to recognize that they are using an unfair practice, and hopefully just stop doing it.

    I believe there is going to be a women’s fight here in Cali at the end of this month. Maybe we can use it as a test to see if there is any bias going on (which there obviously already is, but hey givethem a chance to correct themselves). Like compare the women’s records to the men’s and see if it affects the round timing.
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    local13
    Post subject: Some action is needed soonPostPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 11:37 am

    Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 10:10 pm
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    Dear Ms. Helsel,

    Although I do not advocate running off to the courthouse to file suit immediately, I also would not suggest female MMA competitors in California just sit back to see what happens. Changes of this nature do not happen easily and calls for proactive action to attempt to effect the desired change.

    I notice that the next meeting of the California Athletic Commission is coming up on May 23rd. These meetings are open to the public and should occur on a regular basis. I would recommend some persons interested in women competing in MMA in California either attend the meeting or find out how to get the women’s MMA issue before the commission for the next meeting. Here is the link to the agenda for that meeting:  Also, the link for the home page of the Commission’s website is:

    Finally, I note that there was a town hall meeting recently on May 8th, 2007, whereby MMA competitors were invited to appear before the California commsion to discuss informally issues that concern them. Future town hall meetings are planned. I would think this format would be a good one to air some concerns about women’s MMA in California.

    The ball is in your court now. I trust there are enough interested persons who advocate for fairness in women’s treatment in MMA to pursue all avenues available for change.

    BTW, I wish you luck in your upcoming match on Saturday night in Indiana.

    Barry
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    MNkkgMMA
    Post subject: PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 9:19 pm
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    I was recently offered a fight in Cali and with the offer came an ASSURANCE (the promoter would include in writing my contract) three five minute rounds……..

    So maybe the problem will work itself out as LARGER televised promotions begin to include women’s matches…..

    Lets all wait and see what happens over the next several months
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    local13
    Post subject: PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2007 6:25 am

    Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 10:10 pm
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    Location: Chicago
    Dear Ms. Kobald,

    You are one of the top female MMA competitors, so you have more clout than the average female MMA fighter. Plus, I know you are based in Minnesota. I am merely suggesting that any female MMA’ers that are unhappy with the time and round limits in California should take proactive action to ensure they are treated fairly.

    I have been involved in many causes over the years, dealing almost exclusively with disadvantaged persons, and I can say with certainty that change only occurs when the persons who are disadvantaged take action to change the way things are. I can provide advice and counsel, but there must be interested persons willing to carry the torch. All I am saying is that if the average female MMA participant wants change in California, it will take some doing to accomplish that goal. It will not occur without it being pushed by those who support the cause for equal protection for women competing in MMA in California.

    Good luck to you all,

    Barry
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    Rikki
    Post subject: PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2007 8:28 am
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    What if the athletic commision began receiving letters from female fighters around the country stating that they won’t compete in California under the current restrictions? That is all I can think of to help, seeing as how I’m in Kentucky.
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    local13
    Post subject: letters or petitions should helpPostPosted: Fri May 18, 2007 1:30 pm

    Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 10:10 pm
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    Location: Chicago
    I agree that letters or petitions would help. However, I think if the women MMAers could get on the agenda for one of the regular Commission meetings, and also get some media coverage for the issue, that would be more efficient and effective to get more equality in women’s matches in California.

    Barry
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    XcashXmoneyX
    Post subject: PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 5:14 pm
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    let me assure you of one thing: armando garcia does not give a rats ass about your feelings.
    the only language he DOES understand is money, so the prospect of losing some is about the only thing that seems to make him cooperate.
    i know this as well as anyone so if you all want to get your 3 or 5 minute rounds you better do your homework and hit him where it hurts.
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    local13
    Post subject: PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 8:35 pm

    Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 10:10 pm
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    Location: Chicago
    I do not know Mr. Garcia, but I suspect Ms. Huehn is correct. I surmise from his non-response, that he realizes he may have some legal exposure for the disparate treatment of women MMa participants compared to their male counterparts. However, that realization will not cause him or the California Commission to change their ways, but some sort of economic pressure or unfavorable media attention coming the way of the Commission might be quite effective.

    MMA is covered in the media quite a bit these days compared to a couple of years ago. Female MMA participation is an interesting part of the total MMA picture. I think female MMA competitors who would like to compete in California under fair conditions should take advantage of the current favorable climate and take some proactive measures to achieve the equality they deserve.

    Barry
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    XcashXmoneyX
    Post subject: PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 6:49 pm
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    thanks, and i agree. it just disgusts me every time i think about it…its unfortunate, because the fans are great even though garcia is convinced no one wants to see women fight. who knows…as long as no one does anything besides complain about it, nothing will happen.
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    satanico
    Post subject: PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 7:47 pm

    Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2005 10:10 pm
    Posts: 144
    I hope female fighters are able to do something with Garcia because he has been a jackass on many MMA issues.
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    foxylicious
    Post subject: PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 3:40 pm

    Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 11:04 pm
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    I spoke with Susan Lancara (AEO, CSAC) a few months ago about this….after Fatal Femmes in February, this went in to effect…she explained to me that they have the option of changing the rounds/minutes for women based on the fighters’ experience and fight record, meaning if it’s a female fighter’s pro debut they have the option of allowing say, 3-3 minute rounds, yet on the same card two more experienced women may be allowed 5-5 minute rounds. So I guess it’s discriminatory but that’s how they try to justify t. I guess they should have the same rules for the guys, right?
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    Maulinator
    Post subject: PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 5:50 pm
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    I am bummed I missed the hearing. I will see if I can make the next one. Probably better anyway because I would not have been as prepared as I would like to be in a situation like this. Kellyn, Foxylcious – ready to fight the power? Let’s get our shit together and make the next hearing.

    So this is the thing then – what constitutes enough “experience” to fight 5 min rounds? Lisa (8-2) vs. Masako (13-9-5) is not exactly inexperienced. Then Roxanne (8-4) vs. Cassandra (0-2) maybe I can see because Cassandra has way less fights, but if that’s the issue why did they approve the fight in the first place? Ended in split anyway, so obviously Cassandra has skill. And Jen (4-1) vs. Yoko (10-8), also not inexperienced.

    So then I went and looked at Sherdog records of fighters that fought in Total Combat (a California sanctioned promotion) and to my shock and awe 😕 I saw that there were fighters with 1-0 and 0-1 records that were fighting 5 minute rounds. Even on the same night that Kellyn fought there were fighters with less experience than Kellyn that fought 5 min rounds. There were too many specific examples for me to list here, but take a look for yourself. I only used TC as an example because the are a reputable and licensed promoter in California. Definitely don’t want to get the promoters in trouble, because this is not their fault (and they are my friends), but just goes to show……

    Got Discrimination?
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    local13
    Post subject: PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 7:45 pm

    Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 10:10 pm
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    From what I gather, the only regulation governing women or men’s MMA in California is the one that lists the 5 rounds limitation. There really should be a regulation that authorizes the Commission to apply lesser round and time limits to MMA matches based on experience. In the absence of such a regulation, the Commission is using its discretion to apply different round and time limitations for various fighters. Agencies are allowed to utilize discretion, but must apply it fairly and even-handedly. If they do not do so, the discretion may be considered de facto and unlawful discrimination. If you can document that men and women of similar experience are given different round and time limits, that would support your cause.

    I am in no way an expert on discrimination, but I do have some expertise in this area. I teach a law course on Administrative Agency Law, and from what I have seen the California Commission is treading on dangerous ground. If the female MMA women who want to compete in California can band together, I think you have a good chance on achieving some justice and equality here.

    BTW, I want to comment that I have been impressed with the sense of community among women MMA competitors. If you can extend that attitude of togetherness into a united political front, you should be able to achieve your goals.

    Good luck,

    Barry
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    XcashXmoneyX
    Post subject: PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 5:02 pm
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    women, regardless of experience…arent even allowed to fight 3 minute rounds anymore. as far as i know, my fight was the first and only at 3 minutes. they were soonafter switched to 2 minutes. THAT is what disgusts me.
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    foxylicious
    Post subject: PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 6:56 pm

    Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 11:04 pm
    Posts: 68
    This change was recent, right after Fatal Femmes, they made the ruling to use their discretion concerning experience etc.. Go to their website, it lists their phone numbers. Usually they pick up their lines directly and are usually okay with answering questions….depends on who you get. 😀
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    local13
    Post subject: PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 7:13 pm

    Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 10:10 pm
    Posts: 250
    Location: Chicago
    However, if the Commission put into effect a change after the Fighting Femmes event, they did so without promulgating a new rule. It takes 6 months or so to put a new rule into effect, as you have to publish a proposed rule, allow written comments by interested persons and publish a final rule. The regulation sent me by Mr. Garcia did not address considering experience as a factor in determining time or round limitations.

    In the absence of a rule, the Commission is using its discretion in determing the appropriate number of rounds and time limits for MMA events. If you apply discretion, instead of a rule, you must apply discretion consistently and in an even-handed manner. If it can be shown that men and women of similar experience levels have been treated differently by the Commission, the burden would be on it to show there was a legitimate basis for its action. In that scenario, a lawsuit could be filed, but I would first recommend using political action, media pressure and lobbying of Commission members to get women MMA fighters in California fair treatment.

    Barry
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    Maulinator
    Post subject: PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 3:42 pm
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    I went to the Total Combat event here in San Diego last Friday. I overheard the commission talking about the determining factor for the 3 minutes rounds.

    They said that anyone that has less than 5 fights = 3 min rounds.

    Now that we know what criteria they are using, it will be easier to see if they are using smile discrimination. The even changed one of the men’s fights from 5 min to 3 min right before the match because one of the guys had less than 5 fights.
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    local13
    Post subject: PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:58 pm

    Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 10:10 pm
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    Location: Chicago
    If they apply the same criteria in an even-handed manner to men and women that would be non-discriminatory. However if they do not, or have shorter or fewer rounds for women, they could be involved in unlawful discrimination. Someone should categorize all the fights in California the last 2 years or so to see if there is a clear pattern, or whether it is haphazard.

    It is also interesting that Bodog gives men and women the same 3 round 5 minute matches.

    Barry
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    fight4you
    Post subject: PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 7:52 pm

    Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2004 12:03 pm
    Posts: 429
    if u want it equal and nondiscriminatory, have the women fight the men
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    danc
    Post subject: PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 3:06 pm

    Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2004 4:47 pm
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    Location: usa
    fight4you wrote:
    if u want it equal and nondiscriminatory, have the women fight the men
    That’s a pretty stupid post.
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