McCain Takes Another Swing at Boxing

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If Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain has his way, broadcast, cable and satelllite 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.

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.

McCain introduced a similar bill in the last Congress, which passed the Senate but ran into trouble in the house. McCain 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. For its part, the House Energy and Commerce Committee agreed to hold a mark-up on a boxing bill in this session, though no date has been scheduled for the hearing. Committee Chairman Joe Barton is not for or against the bill, according to a source.

The boxing bill, which was introduced Tuesday by McCain, Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), requires, among many other things, that any broadcast, cable or satellite company with rights to a boxing match of 10 rounds or more (amateur matches have fewer rounds), provide the government with:

  • A statement of any license fee, advance or guarantee to any boxing promoter.
  • Copies of any related contracts, i.e. with the boxers, promoter, venue owner, etc.
  • A list of all sources of income from the broadcast.
  • A copy, upon request, of the same information to any state or Indian land boxing commission.

The information will be confidential, sort of.

The bill prohibits the USBC or other boxing commissions from revealing the information, "except that the commission may publish an analysis of the date in aggregate form or in a manner which does not disclose confidential information about identifiable boxers."

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