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Lou DiBella questions Gov. Cuomo over boxing health insurance spike

Fighters Network

Photo courtesy of DiBella EntertainmentPhoto courtesy of DiBella Entertainment

Lou DiBella questioned the motives of Gov. Andrew Cuomo in signing the MMA bill that would increase health insurance costs, making it difficult for promoters to hold shows in New York.

The legislation goes into effect on Sept. 1 and would increase medical and death benefits from $10,000 to $50,000; it would also force boxing and MMA promoters to have $1 million in health coverage in case of a serious head injury, which a number of promoters say would basically sink boxing in New York.

“I’d like to know the motivation of people (who) have written that law in the first place and how it applied to boxing,” DiBella said. “I knew the late Gov. (Mario) Cuomo. I don’t know this Gov. Cuomo. But I knew the late Gov. Cuomo. He was a great man. He was also a boxing fan. I’m sort of shocked that things are going this way. I also wonder how this happened. I don’t believe that Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to see big-time boxing retreat from New York or the local club shows and smaller events that are the heart and soul of boxing in New York State disappear.”

DiBella doesn’t have any shows planned beyond Sunday’s PBC on NBC card in Coney Island that saw Errol Spence Jr. viciously knock out Leonard Bundu in the sixth round. In fact, his next Broadway Boxing card is scheduled for Sept. 1 at Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.

Another New York-based promoter suggested the bill was specifically written to drive out boxing in New York, clearing the way for the prosperous UFC, which will be able to afford the high insurance, to have unrivaled competition in the city. The insurance benefit of $1 million is supposed to cover the treatment of life-threatening brain injuries, which the promoter said is more likely in boxing than in MMA, where spinal cord-related injuries are more common, he said.

“It’s interesting to me there’s no similar provision for spinal cord injuries and some million-dollar insurance for spinal cord injuries with respect to MMA,” the promoter said. “It seems to me in a law that was put into effect, primarily because MMA was coming into New York– they in effect are in the process of killing boxing and certainly appear to be clearing away where there are no shows in New York before that big MMA show in November (on Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden). So is that an agenda? And is that a political agenda? I’m questioning the politics of what occurred here. I don’t understand it.”

An email to the Department of State for comment was not immediately returned.