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Joe DeGuardia plans to take show on road with new health insurance costs

17
Aug
Photo courtesy of Star Boxing

Photo courtesy of Star Boxing

Promoter Joe DeGuardia is making contingency plans to start doing shows outside of New York with the anticipated cost of health coverage set to skyrocket on Sept. 1.

Promoters in New York will be on the hook for an additional insurance or a financial guarantee of $1 million on each boxer to cover treatment of serious injuries. That’s in addition to a rise in basic health insurance from $10,000 to $50,000 as part of the MMA bill that will go into effect on Sept. 1.

“It’s going to kill our sport,” DeGuardia told RingTV.com on Tuesday. “We’ll just have to do shows outside of New York. It’s very costly here anyway, so when you start adding additional things like that, you’re going to make it cost prohibitive to do boxing here. The very people that they’re professing to help — the boxers — they’re destroying because they’re not going to have opportunities to fight.”

A spokesman for the New York State Athletic Commission, Laz Benitez, told RingTV.com that regulations covering all combat sports in New York are being fine-tuned for Sept. 1 and suggested the guidelines could be tweaked before then. The Department of State is allowing room for public comments on the new law until Aug. 27.

“At this time, the proposed regulations are subject to and in the midst of an open comment period and the Commission looks forward to receiving feedback from all stakeholders before finalizing rules and their implementation,” Benitez said in an email.

DeGuardia, who co-promotes Demetrius Andrade and handles Joe Smith Jr. and Chris Algieri, has been developing fighters on club shows around New York since he formed Star Boxing in 1992. Last Friday, he promoted the 25th edition of his “Rockin’ Fights” at the Paramount Theater series in Huntington, Long Island. But he has not scheduled any shows for September, he said, admitting he’s planning to cut back on local cards in favor of events in nearby New Jersey, Connecticut or even down South if the health insurance costs spike.

“We have a successful series,” he said. “We develop our fighters. But we’re not making money putting on local shows. The sole purpose of those shows is to help a boxer get to the higher stage, which is how we ultimately make our money. But you can’t justify doing these shows if they’re going to make them cost prohibitive.”

DeGuardia questioned if the state will even be able to find a company to finance the new insurance costs. “The question is whether they’re going to have insurance,” he said. “Right now, they’re talking as if there’s a company that will underwrite it. But our information has been that that may not be the case. Insurance is very difficult for boxing as it is. So companies aren’t going to want to underwrite this policy now when they’ve added a million-dollar liability.”

DeGuardia added, “The reality is the legislature has got to get in line with reality and reality is you do a disservice to all these people who are trying to make a living. The fighters are going to suffer dramatically. There’s not going to be any fights.”

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