My experience as a politician….

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    Post subject: My experience as a politician…. PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 2:32 pm
    Pro Fighter

    Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2004 9:43 pm
    Posts: 451
    Location: Hawaii, fighting out of San Diego, CA
    I spoke at the Hawaii State House of Representatives hearing today to testify against HB1963 – to completely ban the sport of MMA in the State.

    More information pertaining to the Bill can be found at

    This was a very interesting experience for me. I started by e-mailing the Senate and House Representatives and actually got one of them – the pusher of this bill – to respond back to me. From the get go he seemed not to be so solid in his stance, and was actually grateful for new information he had not been privy to.

    So the next step was to prepare a written testimony that had to be dropped off 24 hours prior to the hearing, which I did yesterday.

    This morning I was extremely nervous to testify in person at the hearing. I was really scared that I would be the only person there representing MMA. Not the case… the room was almost filled with people from the MMA community including fighters BJ Penn, Ronald Juhn and Niko Vitale. Also in the house were Icon Sport promoter TJ Thompson and ROTR promoter JD Penn.

    We took almost an hour testifying our side of the case and not one person testified from the opposition. The people that spoke had very educated and informed testimony, also some very moving personal testimony from Ron Juhn that would bring tears to your eyes.

    One of the news channels did an interview with me after the hearing, which was great because it showed that it is not necessarily a bunch of brutes in there thirsty for blood (well I didn’t look like it today anyway 😛 )

    This was a very great experience for me. It taught me how to “play the game” to get my voice heard, which after walking away today – I honestly feel it was. It brought the MMA community together and we all stood as one to make our case. It showed me that the people involved and concerned for this sport will take the time to “play the game”.

    The best news of all – they voted against this bill and all of my friends and training partners can continue to puursure their goals in MMA and hopefully I can still have a chance to come back and fight in front of my home crowd.

    Your voice does get heard. FIGHT THE POWER!


    Post subject: PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 2:34 pm
    Pro Fighter

    Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2004 9:43 pm
    Posts: 451
    Location: Hawaii, fighting out of San Diego, CA
    Here is a copy of my written testimony that I presented to the House to day:

    TO: Rep. Jerry L. Chang, Chair
    Rep. Kyle T. Yamashita, Vice Chair

    FROM: Molly Helsel
    Professional MMA fighter

    DATE: Tuesday, February 7, 2006

    SUBJECT: Against HB1963, Relating to No-Rules Combat

    My name is Molly Helsel. I am a female professional MMA fighter. I do not represent one particular organization, but MMA fighters and participants in Hawaii as a whole. I am testifying against HB1963, Relating to No Rules Combat. Fighting is one the most naturally occurring behavior anywhere in nature; it is a part of being human. To ban MMA in Hawaii would not only be detrimental to the community, but also actually increase the violence on the streets of Hawaii.

    1) What is really the issue at hand? Is it that MMA is dangerous or is it that kids are imitating these actions?
    a) Is MMA dangerous?
    i) Yes, MMA can dangerous. So is Surfing. So is Football. So is waking up and getting out of bed every morning.
    (1) This Bill was presented with the statement “As evidenced by thirteen deaths nationwide since 1981 and six cases of serious injury since 1980, no rules, extreme or ultimate fighting is very dangerous behavior and not an activity that should be viewed as a sport.” This is inaccurate. My research shows that one participant in Russia, who had a pre-existing condition of blacking out 3 months prior to his fight, had died after his fight. The statement of 13 deaths is unsubstantiated to relate to MMA alone. This is the ONLY documented death in MMA that I could find.
    (2) MMA is the safest of all combat sports. Participants are educated and aware of the risks involved. Participants have an option of “tapping out” when they feel they have had enough. Because of the nature of the sport, and the equipment used there is less chance of being injured by repeated blows, as you see in boxing.
    b) Are kids imitating MMA?
    i) Children imitate. That is how they learn and grow. I see more children imitate Pro-Wrestling (WWE), than MMA.
    (1) Even if the sport of MMA were to be banned in Hawaii, Children will still have exposure to the sport. They can see it on cable TV and rent videos.
    (2) I believe that there are other important issues that contribute to the violence that these children imitate more so than MMA. I feel that Domestic Violence and the prevalence of ice usage in our community has more harm in influencing violence in children than does the sport of MMA.

    2) What is the solution?
    a) Having MMA gyms and venues to compete available helps a person learn the proper way to train and fight. Overall it impacts the personal growth in a person for the better.
    i) MMA is an elite athletic sport. Participants learn self-discipline, anger management and personal honor when they train in this sport.
    ii) Training also requires a participant to be in top athletic shape. This means no smoking, no drinking and no getting to trouble on the street. It gives them a chance to let out aggressions through training rather than on the street.
    iii) Training in a gym teaches a participant teamwork, honor and respect for others.
    iv) Competing in MMA Events teaches a participant to invite personal challenge and to strive for their highest goals.
    b) There are other issues that contribute more to the prevalence of violence in children, than MMA does
    i) Issues of domestic violence in the home teaches children from an early age that it is OK to solve problems with violence, or that that is the ONLY way to communicate frustrations.
    ii) Ice usage on the islands has a huge impact on the violence we see on our streets.

    3) The consequences of banning MMA in Hawaii.
    a) Eliminating competition means the elimination of gyms to train.
    i) Eliminating training leaves a person with idle time on their hands. When a person is in the gym training, they are not out on the street causing trouble.
    ii) Banning MMA in the state leaves no opportunity for a person to have a controlled, safe avenue to test their skills and knowledge. This will result in a huge influx of unsafe, uncontrolled underground fighting.
    iii) Children will continue to imitate what they see on TV or videos, and they will not have the opportunity to learn the self-discipline, honor and respect that they would otherwise learn in a gym.
    iv) Banning competition will result in a huge loss of State revenues. MMA is a huge draw in Hawaii. People from all over the world travel to see these competitions in the state of Hawaii. This has a landslide effect in the revenues drawn by the hotels and the venues where these competitions are held.
    v) Hawaii is pivotal in the MMA world. Many world champions have come out of Hawaii in martial arts related competitions. This state has more martial arts influence than any other state in the Nation. The fighters that are trained in Hawaii have an opportunity to represent our great State by training and competing all over the world. This in turn gives our citizens and fighters something to be proud of, a way to make our impact on the bigger picture.

    In conclusion, the banning of MMA will be more detrimental than good. As a matter of fact banning MMA would have quite the opposite result of our goal of preventing overall violence in Hawaii. It is better to have gyms and competition venues that allow for an outlet of aggression in a controlled, safe atmosphere. Fighting will always happen; it is the most natural aspect of being human. We need to be sure that we provide controlled, safe environments for the youth of Hawaii to learn honor and self-discipline. You can take Hawaii out of the fight, but you will never take the fight out of Hawaii. Thank you for your time in hearing my testimony, and I urge you to vote AGAINST HB1963.


    Post subject: PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 4:23 pm

    Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2005 10:10 pm
    Posts: 144
    That’s great that you guys testified and had no opposition. Did the legislator you talked to say why he got it into his head to try and ban MMA? Those “thirteen deaths nationwide since 1981” must be mostly from Toughman, which is a piss poor organization and a blight on MMA and boxing.


    Post subject: PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 7:30 pm

    Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2004 6:56 am
    Posts: 915
    Location: Lexington, KY
    It’s great to hear that it got thrown out.


    Post subject: PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 5:31 am

    Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2004 10:25 am
    Posts: 364
    Location: Evansville, IN

    from Molly’s #1 and #2 fans.


    Post subject: PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:32 am

    Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2005 11:27 pm
    Posts: 20
    Location: Carleton Place, Ontario, Canada
    Hey Molly,
    Way to go, girl!!!

    Here in Ontario, MMA is illegal (not so for every Canadian province, by the way). There was a newspaper article in one of the Ottawa papers that claimed MMA in Japan was a sparsley-attended “underground” event (guess the writer never heard of Pride). I wrote a letter to the editor. It never got published.

    Glad you had a chance to be heard. Thanks from all of us who love what we do and are so often misunderstood by people who seem to have more opinions than they do knowledge of the subject.

    Take care, Molly,
    Tanya xxoo


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