The New York State Athletic Commission, in a very brief meeting this afternoon, approved a health insurance rate hike that has been heavily protested by numerous boxing promoters as being existentially threatening to the sweet science in the Empire State.
The meeting, which lasted a mere ten minutes, also voted to approve regulations to legalize Mixed Martial Arts in New York.
The health insurance section increased basic health insurance minimums from $10,000 to $50,000 for all combat sports, in addition to requiring a $1,000,000 insurance bond in the event of serious head injury that many promoters have argued is excessive and unreasonable.
DiBella Entertainment and Star Boxing, headed by promoters Lou Dibella and Joe DeGuardia respectively, had attorneys present to express concern and dissent with the proposed and eventually approved new regulations.
Both promotion companies have little planned in terms of events and bouts in New York for the remainder of 2016, pointing to the additional cost of doing business in the State.
This proves very unfortunate especially for Brooklyn-born DiBella, who has been widely credited for helping bring boxing to New York City and keeping it competitive with cities such as Las Vegas and London.
DiBella was quoted in the New York Post that the new insurance measures, which many health insurance providers would hardly consider underwriting at all, let alone at an affordable rate, would:
“Be the end of boxing on a regular basis in New York.”
Despite approving the protested regulations, the New York Department of State issued a statement after the meeting, which was emailed to me as the following:
“While some combative sports industry professionals expressed concern over the premiums for the $1 million coverage, these amounts are as yet determined. However, from discussions with insurers about to enter the market, we believe the costs will be reasonable.”
The statement continued:
“Ultimately, the frequency and severity of life-threatening brain injuries incurred in New York State will drive the premiums. NYSAC believes the best way to keep premiums down is to keep injuries to a minimum.”
The new regulations come following a scandal plaguing the NYSAC after the departure of commission Chairman Tom Hoover.
Hoover had submitted his resignation after a damning report by the New York State Inspector General’s Office, alleging corruption and nepotism on Hoover’s behalf.
The report alleges that at least one friend of Hoover’s was allowed into the Commission even though the said individual was knowingly unqualified and that he had obtained false credentials for other colleagues so that they could attend boxing events for free.
These acts, the office states, may be a violation of the New York State Public Officers Law.
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