Oregon State Athletic Commission Medical Advisory Committee
Mixed Martial Arts, Boxing, and Kickboxing are unique among sporting events in that the expressed primary goal is to injure the other competitor. As such, these sports have merited additional scrutiny by the State of Oregon in order to ensure that the safety of the competitors is maximized while minimizing the liability of the competitors, the promoters, and the State itself. Over the last 20+ years the growth of MMA internationally has been impressive, led in no small part by training centers in Oregon. Correspondingly, the Oregon State Athletic Commission's (OSAC) role has expanded to take the lead among western states in many areas. The lack of regulation, or in some cases lowered standards for regulation, in neighboring states presents unique concerns for competitors that choose to fight both in and out of Oregon.
Bleeding and open wounds are common in MMA, Boxing, and Kickboxing and as such the OSAC Physician Advisory Committee issues guidelines to help prevent the transmission of infectious diseases during events. Competitors must test negative for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV at least once a year in order to compete in Oregon with consideration toward increasing this to once every six (6) months.
If it is discovered that a competitor has experienced a significant potential exposure to blood borne pathogens, that individual cannot fight in Oregon until a period of six (6) months (from the exposure) has passed and repeat disease testing at that time is still negative. This was the unanimous decision of all five physicians on the OSAC Physician Advisory Committee. This six (6) month period represents the longest possible incubation period in which a person could be actively infected with a virus yet still test negative, the so-called "window period". Examples of this potential disease exposure would be amateur/home tattoos, intravenous or intranasal drug use, unsafe sexual practices, or significant blood/body fluid exposure.
Competing at a venue not regulated to Oregon's standards places a competitor in this last category in that they are exposed to the blood of other competitors that has not been adequately screened. We, as a sport, cannot allow such a disease transmission risk in this state. On an individual level, contracting HIV or Hepatitis C can have disastrous lifestyle consequences and can ultimately be fatal. As a sport, were there to be a single documented case of HIV or Hepatitis C transmission during an event it would likely result in an immediate freeze on all events and further a reevaluation of the continued acceptance of MMA in Oregon at all. It is the charge of the Oregon State Athletic Commission to protect the competitors, officials, public and the sport itself, by ensuring that such a personal and political disaster does not occur.
More info about the OSAC, which is a part of the Gaming Division of the Oregon State Police, can be found at Oregon.gov/OSP/GAMING/Pages/b_w_welcome.aspx.