Daugaard opposes commission for mixed martial arts"I'm offended that the state would legitimize cage fighting and the bloody violence these kinds of spectacles create," Daugaard said.
By: Chet Brokaw, The Associated Press
PIERRE (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard said Friday he opposes a bill that would create a state athletic commission because the legislation also would legitimize mixed martial arts fights, which he says are so violent they don't deserve to be called sport.
"I'm offended that the state would legitimize cage fighting and the bloody violence these kinds of spectacles create," Daugaard said.
The Republican governor spoke just after the Senate State Affairs Committee approved a bill that would create a South Dakota Athletic Commission to oversee boxing, kick boxing, mixed martial arts competitions and sparring exhibitions. The bill next goes to the full Senate.
The bill's main sponsor, Sen. Mark Johnston, R-Sioux Falls, said many mixed martial arts already take place in South Dakota, and the Legislature needs to set up a regulatory system to protect the safety of athletes who take part in boxing and mixed martial arts.
Johnston also noted mixed martial arts events are shown regularly on television. They feature highly trained athletes, including some former standout collegiate wrestlers, he said, adding, "This is a sport."
Daugaard said it's "absurd and ridiculous" to call mixed martial arts a sport.
"The way one wins in those contests is by beating up your opponent, bloodying them, kicking, scratching, punching," Daugaard said. "I don't support in any fashion anything the state would do to legitimize this kind of behavior. I think it's a sad commentary on what our culture allows in some areas."
A bill passed in 2009 created a similar commission, but Johnston said that commission doesn't exist because former Gov. Mike Rounds never appointed anyone to serve on it. The bill approved Friday by the committee would allow the governor to appoint one commissioner, while the other four would be appointed by legislative leaders.
Daugaard said he opposes the bill, but if lawmakers proceed with the measure they should at least change the wording so they would appoint all the commissioners and he appoints none.