The Iowa Senate has voted to establish new rules for amateur “mixed martial arts” bouts in Iowa. Senator Bill Dotzler, a Democrat from Waterloo, says fighters would have to show they’ve had a physical and they must be at least 18 years old. In addition, the bill calls for medical personnel to be on hand during an amateur mixed martial arts fight, in case someone gets hurt.

“You know, we’re not here to try to stop what’s becoming a more and more popular sport,” Dotzler says. “I know a lot of people think it’s probably a little too violent and maybe it spreads violence, but that isn’t what this is about. It’s about safety and about our youth.”

Senator William Heckroth, a Democrat from Waverly, says a teenager from Waverly was seriously injured when he fibbed, told fight promoters he was 18 and entered a mixed martial arts bout in Waterloo. “He got the living snot kicked out of him during this fight. There was nobody there from a health standpoint so his two buddies grabbed him, threw him in a car…and dropped him off at home. His dad woke up, found him, rushed him to the hospital…He had a broken eye-socket…He almost lost his eye,” Heckroth says.

“But that’s the type of stuff that’s going on here because we have no regulations.” Senator David Hartsuch, a Republican from Bettendorf, visited a gym in Bettendorf where a number of “Ultimate Fighting” champions — professionals — have trained.

“This particular bill is of importance because of safety,” Hartsuch says. “…And believe me, it is real hazardous. I would not want to get into a match.” Promoters of amateur mixed martial arts fights would have to obtain a state license, for a fee, if the bill becomes law. The Senate passed the bill on a 48-to-zero vote. It now goes to the Iowa House for consideration.