I know many of you dream of the day you can pack up all of your personal belongings, log off your outdated company issued PC and never look back at the three gray walls of that tiny little cubicle you called home for eight hours of your day for the last five years. You daydream of hopping into the driver’s seat of a leisure van and driving straight to Oklahoma to waste away your life savings in the slot machines at the Indian Casinos while stuffing your face with Navajo tacos and fried coca-cola.
Unfortunately, you may have to rethink those grandiose dreams of yours because Oklahoma has decided to ban MMA altogether. Although this ban may prove to be only temporary, you may need to start researching life in Nebraska as a second option just in case this ban somehow sticks around. According to a recent article by Phillip Barnard of Houston Examiner.com, the ban is the result of an impending battle between the UFC and the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission as a result of a state issued PPV tax.
Apparently if you watch any PPV MMA, wrestling or boxing event in the state of Oklahoma there is a 4% tax added to the cost of the PPV. The UFC has discovered this and does not like it and is now threatening to sue Oklahoma to remove this tax. Oklahoma has been collecting this tax and using it to run it’s state athletic commission since 2004. Due to this impending lawsuit the state commission issued this letter to all promotors on March 5th telling them it is refusing to provide permits for any comabt sports events in the state from March 31 forward:
The purpose of this letter is to inform you the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission will not be accepting applications for event permits for events scheduled after March 31, 2012.
The Commission is faced with an out-of-state threat that, if successful, could greatly affect the Commission’s ability to provide for the public safety and for the health and safety of the athletes for future events throughout the state of Oklahoma.
The Commission is currently trying to address legal and legislative efforts which have given us serious concerns about how we move forward with adequate oversight of Oklahoma’s boxing, mixed martial arts, and professional wrestling events.
As you know, the primary focus of this agency is to make sure the athlete’s health, and safety is not compromised. We take this charge very seriously.
The Commission and I will be working diligently to address these issues and develop a plan of action to return to a normal course of business.
Although this ban is only temporary as of the moment, this is still a lose lose situation for both the state and for combat sports fans. As of right now there are no UFC events scheduled for the state of Oklahoma, but Bellator has been to the state several times and the WWE has an event scheduled for October. Tickets have not yet gone on sale for the WWE event and it’s not yet been reported if this event will have to be canceled. Seems like that will be an awful large amount of tax dollars lost if the commission denies the license to host an event there. [source, source]