We talk alot about Amateur MMA on the East Coast on this site, but what about how the other half lives? By other half, I mean the West Coast fight fans who have their own system of Amateur MMA, presided over by the California Amateur MMA Organization. ULTMMA spoke with J.T. Steele, the president of CAMO, to discuss amateur MMA in the state and what they are doing to improve the system.
Steele used to be a matchmaker for Elite XC and has been regulating ammy MMA events in his state for 13 months now with his non-for-profit organization, along with his partner from Elite XC, the controversial Jeremy Lappen. When asked if the template for CAMO be applied to other states, Steele answered, “I think it can be used all over the board. A couple of those states you mentioned, Ohio have a very dynamic and large amateur program. Some places it might be needed more than in others. Where I think it could be more helpful is in states that are in the same predicament that CA is in, that don’t have any amateur regulation going on or its illegal or the state might be turning a blind eye to it and letting it go unregulated. Those are the type of places where this model can be very good.”
He continued, “We have been approached by several different states that have inquired into our program and have been intrigued by the growth we’ve had. It’s something we have looked at and considered. We are really busy here in CA and as president of the organization my main focus is more on the day to day operations. We just try to take things one day at a time because we are still growing here. Things haven’t slowed down since the day we started.”
On the other side of the argument is that CAMO is actually ruining amateur MMA. According to a post on fighters.com, registration in the program costs each fighter $100 and then they are required to pay $125 for a physical and blood work. This is a total of $225 before they are even allowed to fight, and keep in mind that the fighters are not paid since it is an amateur fight. Compared with the Ohio Athletic Commission, who require fighters to pay an application licensing fee of $20 and a standard physical form is all that is required in that state. Why does an amateur league need to charge that much? No idea. CAMO also requires you to buy and wear their custom rashguards and use their 8 oz. gloves, as opposed to other commissions that supply it to the fighters. There are also more fees when it comes to promoting amateur events, depending on the size of the show.
Do you think this non-for-profit is doing something fishy or are these costs acceptable and people are just nitpicking?