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New insurance bill could handicap New York Boxing

NYSAC just passed a bill that will dramatically increase the insurance premiums promoters have to pay to put on shows.

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Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

The New York State Athletic Commission has just passed a bill that will significantly increase the insurance premiums promoters have pay in order to put on fights in the state, reports ESPN. Most don't believe that the recent increase from $10,000 to $50,000 per fighter for general medical coverage is much of an issue, but what is a significant issue is the new $1M coverage requirement for each fighter in case of traumatic brain injury -- as was the notable case of Magomed Abdulsalamov.

As the new requirements became law this week, promoters are saying that it'll be increasingly difficult to put on cards in the state of New York, particularly smaller cards where profit margins are razor thin. Promoters are now suggesting that they'll now have to bring their fights elsewhere.

A couple of notable examples of this are promoters Lou DiBella of DiBella Entertainment and Joe DeGuardia of Star Boxing. Both promoters put on cards in New York on a regular basis -- which range from big cards at the Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden to monthly club shows at smaller venues. Whether big or small cards, DiBella and DeGuardia have made up a significant portion of the boxing scene in New York for the past few years. And now both of them are seriously concerned that the increased costs will adversely affect their ability to put on as many fights or employ as many fighters.

"We respectfully request that the NYSAC eliminate the life-threatening traumatic brain injury limit set forth," they wrote in a joint statement given to the commission. They also called the $1 million figure "unnecessary" and "arbitrary."

What's more troubling for boxing in New York is that it's not just the smaller promoters who will be hit by this change. Even major players like Top Rank are reeling from the decision, with Bob Arum saying he's going to unbook fight dates at MSG because of the new law. Arum shares these thoughts on the new requirements:

"For the last at least 10 years [Top Rank has] had $50,000 in coverage for the fighters and that's appropriate, so that part of the law has no impact and I think it's a good change," Arum said. "It costs like an extra $400 or $500 a fighter. It's reasonable."

But as for the new $1M brain injury insurance which is now required for every fighter, Arum says:

"I don't know how you can afford that," Arum said. "Paying the premium on that policy is probably more than the gate receipts you can take in on some cards so if that stands we couldn't do shows there. I don't even know if they can find a company to write a policy for that. If they can't, that's sayonara for New York boxing."

NYSAC contends, however, that with the new law being passed there will be insurance companies who will now enter the market to underwrite these new policies. Some estimate that it could could cost promoters an additional $10,000 to get coverage for all fighters on a 10-bout card, which wouldn't seem to hurt big fight much, but could prove to be a big problem for small club cards.

There is at least a little wiggle room for promoters, though, with casino's like the Turning Stone in Verona (which often hosts fight cards) being ran by tribal commissions who have their own rules and regulations. They might certainly see increased interest in their venue in the near future.

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