NY Commission to vote on new health insurance costs on Wednesday
The future of boxing in New York State will largely be determined at a public meeting on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the New York Department of State offices in lower Manhattan.
There, the New York State Athletic Commission will vote on new regulations in the new MMA bill set to go into effect on Thursday that will spike health insurance costs, making it difficult for promoters to hold shows in New York.
Interested observers already had a public comment period to make their voices heard on the regulations. Thus, Wednesday will either be a day to rejoice or provide another nail in the coffin of a sport that seemed to be in the middle of a resurgence in the city in recent months. No professional boxing shows appear to have been scheduled for the remainder of 2016 in New York as promoters wait to see what the new regulations will look like. A check of the New York Commission event calendar shows no scheduled shows in the ensuing months.
“There will be various NYSAC issues discussed (at Wednesday’s meeting), and obviously, one of the items on the agenda will be the vote for the new regulations (on health insurance), and then they vote,” Department of State spokesman Laz Benitez told RingTV.com in an email on Tuesday. “The public already had a public comment period to which to provide feedback and commentary, so tomorrow will simply be a vote by the Commission on the final regulations, among other items being discussed.”
Only three people will be voting, according to Benitez; they are: interim chairperson Ndidi Massay and commissioners Edwin Torres and John Signorile. Those in attendance will not be able to voice their opinions at the meeting, Benitez said. The bill that legalized mixed martial arts in New York also increased insurance rates for boxing and MMA from $10,000 to $50,000 for basic medical coverage. There is also a $1 million insurance policy in the event of a serious head injury that promoters say is not feasible and would force them to hit the road and do shows elsewhere because they wouldn’t be able to pay for the $1 million insurance bond.
Two of the most prominent promoters in New York, Lou DiBella of DiBella Entertainment and Joe DeGuardia of Star Boxing penned a joint letter on Aug. 27 to James Leary, general counsel of the New York Department of State, which supervises the boxing commission. DiBella and DeGuardia called the $1 million health coverage cost “unnecessary, arbitrary and excessive,” in the letter, obtained by RingTV.com, saying it’s “20-times higher than even the most protective states’ minimum medical insurance requirement” and asking that it be eliminated.
“Indeed, the $50,000 minimum medical insurance requirement is a significant, sufficient insurance amount that is consistent with and,” the letter reads, “in many cases, exceeds other respected jurisdictions.”