McCain Punches Up Boxing Regs


Broadcast, cable and satellite programmers with rights to professional boxing will have to provide lots of information on those bouts to the feds -- in this case, the new United States Boxing Commission.

That's if a bill that passed the Senate on voice vote Monday makes it into law. A similar bill was passed by the Senate in the last Congress, but ran into trouble in the House. Chief sponsor Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) reportedly threatened to hold up a spectrum reallocation fund bill if the House did not pass the boxing bill, but ultimately relented given that the bill related to moving government spectrum users to make room for emergency communications.

A new House version of the boxing bill was introduced in February.

McCain wants to establish the USBC to protect the "health, safety and general interests" of professional boxers, while "ensuring uniformity, fairness and integrity." in the sport. The bill was co-sponsored by Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.).

The bill would extend to "broadcasters" a host of reporting requirements initially the province of promoters, including providing copies of contracts, as well as disclosure--both to the USBC and to the Attorney General of the state where the fight is held--of all payments, gifts or benefits provided any boxing sanctioning organization.Presumably the legislators also meant cable, which is where the vast majority of boxing is carried, though since it says "broadcasters," there could conceivably be some trouble enforcing it on cable unless the language is changed.Legislators frequently toss broadcast and cable into the same linguistic basket.