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Legal Counsel for the New Jersey Athletic Control Board releases statement about passage of new weight classes

Nick Lembo, the counsel for the New Jersey Athletic Control Board and one of the chief principles involved in writing the unified rules of mixed martial arts, issued a statement Sunday afternoon to address the recent passage of new rules by the Association of Boxing Commissioners in Montreal earlier this week.

We are re-printing Lembo’s entire statement below in this post, but to summarize, Lembo states the following:

  • He does not feel the name of the ABC is appropriate any longer, because it completely neglects MMA in its title.
  • It’s up to each jurisdiction to go back and approve the ABC’s recommended changes.
  • Unless each jurisdiction adopts the recommended changes, the concept of unified rules will basically evaporate.
  • He does not approve process in which the new rules were adopted.
  • He approves of a lot of the changes, just not the additional weight classes.
  • He is concerned about some of the extremes taking place in MMA in regards to weight cutting, but he doesn’t believe creating more classes necessarily addresses the problem.

Why is this important? Because Lembo is one of the main people responsible today for the unified rules that currently exist in the sport. For him to speak out against weight classes and the due process used to change rules, speaks volumes.

Below is Mr. Lembo’s statement in its entirety:

“It should be noted that the ABC meeting with regard to the unified rules are merely suggestions to the membership.

“The ABC should clarify its bylaws and its formal name since MMA is such a growing sport that it intends to address.

“Each jurisdiction must go back and individually adopt the changes and amendments.

“The document, with regard to professional mixed martial arts, has some items which would alter the longstanding unified rules developed in New
Jersey.

“Unless each jurisdiction adopts them, we will no longer have unified rules.

“Unified rules, in my opinion, are crucial to the growth of MMA.

“When New Jersey first drafted and later passed the unified rules, several months of meetings were held and observations were made at
events.

“These meetings included discussions with medical staff, promoters, matchmakers, managers, fighters, fight officials, media and fans.

“We also got the approval of other jurisdictions in advance in order to ensure a unified document.

“I fully support the clarifications and explanations of the existing unified rules in the new document.

“I do also support the rule deletions and smothering addition.

“However, I have decided that I do not support the weight class changes.

“With regard to weight classes, Nevada, California and Florida were not represented at the meeting.

“Further, very minimal discussion was held on the topic. I did not hear medical evidence to support the rule changes as Mr. Garcia and I had
requested. I did not see any thoughts or comments from promoters or fighters.

“I also know that Ohio has concerns with regard to changing the weight classes.

“Major MMA jurisdctions like Nevada, California, Ohio, Florida, Quebec and New Jersey need to have an involved role when contemplating serious
MMA rule changes.

“Unless everyone is on board, the ridiculous result would be having different weight classes in different jurisdictions for the same
fighters in the same sport.

“Changing weight classes is a substantial change that needs further discussion and exploration, in my opinion.

“There needs to be more discussion and involvement of more parties prior to contemplating such a drastic rule change.

“I am not convinced that weight classes are a crucial problem within the sport and I am not yet sure that the addition of so many more weight
classes is warranted.

“I am concerned about unhealthy weight cutting but I do not think that simply adding more classes solves that.

“Any drastic changes to the unified rules need to be carefully contemplated.

“If I was going to explore an area to possibly overhaul in the current rule set, it would be the scoring system. That, in my mind, warrants attention. That concerns me much more than the current weight classes.

“The weight classes will not be proposed for change in New Jersey at this time.

“Nick Lembo, NJSACB”

10 COMMENTS
  • Two Toes says:

    Dana White is already on the record saying that the UFC won’t support the new weight classes. Will be interesting to see how this plays out. If they’re truly concerned about weight cutting, they’ll have to do something a lot more drastic than adding some more weight classes, imho.

    There was a boxing match this weekend and one of the fighters had cut to 145 then ballooned back to almost 180 pounds come fight time. Tibau was a fucking monster in his fight with Joe Daddy. He looked enormous. Probably 180 plus as well.

  • woooburn says:

    “If I was going to explore an area to possibly overhaul in the current rule set, it would be the scoring system.”

    sounds like someone’s a rampage fan!

    just kidding (better make that clear before the entirey of the njsacb reigns blows upon me). i’d be interested in a discussion on how the scoring system could be altered.

    definitely agree that if such rule changes are to be implemented, they should be done via majority vote from ALL the states that regulate the sport (and i suppose even international representatives). without that, what’s the point?

  • MoreThanUFC says:

    No smothering and clarifying 12-6 elbows and the mohawk rule are all good. Add in knees to the head and take away elbows to the head of a grounded opponent and you have a much safer sport.

  • Ant says:

    Nick Lembo is my new hero!

  • HexRei says:

    @#2 How exactly does it make the sport safer to have a rule against covering your opponents mouth with your hand? And while knees to the head on the ground instead of elbows would result on less cuts, I hardly call it safer since there is so much more force involved in a knee coming down than an elbow. What’s more important for safety, the skin of your face or the brain inside your skull? I’m not sure if you ever saw Randeman’s skyscraper knees to the head on the ground in Pride but those are fricking skullsmashers, much more dangerous than ANY elbow head on the ground.

  • kingiefella says:

    completley agree with #4 i have never had the pleasure of a knee to the head while on the ground but i have had it standing….it effing hurts people!!! My head at least had a little room of give way from the knee knocking my head straight to the standing upright position so the complete force was taken away…but to have that knee hit my head while i am on the ground with my head flat maybe to the ground?…eff no! give me an elbow anytime….a cut can be fixed…brain hanging out my ears cant! lol

  • HexRei says:

    Watch Randleman vs Kenichi Yamamoto in Pride then…

  • […] dunno why he didn’t stand up and say ‘Hells to the no’ at the meeting, but at least he’s saying it now: However, I have decided that I do not support the weight class […]

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