Mixed martial arts and boxing events could be banned in Tennessee by July 1, according to a report by nashvillesportsmix.com.
The Tennessee Athletic Commission, which was set up in 2008, is expected to dissolve on July 1 unless new legislation is passed on Feb. 12. At that point, MMA and boxing events would become illegal in the Volunteer State.
According to the report, the lack of major events in the state the past couple years has resulted in dwindling profits, making the commission difficult to maintain from a financial perspective. Early in its existence that was not the case, as the UFC twice brought fight cards to Tennessee in 2009, including UFC 107, a pay-per-view event in December that saw B.J. Penn defend his lightweight title against Diego Sanchez in Memphis.
In April 2010, Strikeforce held a star-studded event in Nashville that was televised on CBS and infamously ended with a post-fight melee between Jake Shields’ camp and Jason Miller.
However, big-ticket offerings have largely disappeared since then. The UFC has been back just once, for UFC on FX “Guillard vs. Miller” on Jan. 20, 2012, a card that lacked the star power of its predecessors in the state. That Friday night card drew a disappointing attendance of 7,700, according to the report.
The regional shows held across the state have not made enough money to support the TAC, which has had to rely on state funding to survive. That will no longer be the case if new legislation is not introduced next month. The TAC has been struggling for several years now, but it was granted a temporary reprieve last January, when a bill was introduced to extend the commission until June 30, 2015.