Annual Report 2016/2017

The Combat Sports Commission Annual Report 2016/2017 reports and financial statements, including the year's highlights, Chairman's report, Commissioner profiles, issues and trends and financial reporting.

Chairman’s report

The 2016/17 financial year was a productive yet challenging year for the Commission with several new initiatives being implemented and several changes to the composition of the Commission.

Changes to Commissioner Positions

This year saw seven changes in the membership of the Commission with Seamus Rafferty, Victor Stuart, Arron Minchin and Paul Heaney moving on and the introduction of Renee Felton and Anthony Van der Wielen. Dr Roslyn Carbon fulfilled the position of Chair from December 2016 until May 2017 when Ms Cassandra Wright was appointed.

The Commission welcomed Renee Felton in January 2017. Renee has a background as a contestant, promoter and manager in the Combat Sports Industry. Renee boasts 10 years of invaluable experience within the combat sports industry which she wishes to use to contribute to the Commission. I would like to welcome Renee to the Commission.

The Commission also welcomed Anthony Van Der Wielen in January 2017. Anthony has a strong policy and development background coupled with board and boxing experience. I would like to welcome Anthony to the Commission.

Dr Roslyn Carbon fulfilled the position of Chair from 5 December 2016 to 25 May 2017 and has returned to the position of Medical Practitioner on the Commission. During Roslyn’s time as Chair, she imparted valuable policy and compliance direction with the Commission. I would like to thank Roslyn for her contribution as Chair.

Derrick Chan and Dean Woodhams have been reappointed to their positions within the Commission. I would like to thank Derrick and Dean for their ongoing commitment to the Commission.

Chairman’s Resignation

With Seamus’ resignation as Chair in July 2016, retired Magistrate Paul Heaney was appointed Seamus’ successor in the Chairman’s role in August 2016. Paul remained as the Commission’s Chair for a short period before accepting a new appointment which necessitated stepping down from the role.

Rules Review

The Commission undertook a full rules review during 2016/17. Commissioners and Commission staff imparted industry knowledge and gained external information to update the pre-existing rules of Boxing, Muay Thai, MMA and Kick Boxing.

The Minister approved the rules that allowed for the use of the Safety Enclosure (the enclosure) in MMA contests. The Commission have also reinstated and published in the Government Gazette the rules surrounding the enclosure for MMA.

The revised rules for MMA allow for the contest to be held in either a boxing ring or an enclosure.

Reinstatement of the Safety Enclosure

In 2013, the Government, made the decision to ban the use of the enclosure for MMA contests, however allowed for these contests to be held in a boxing ring. The ban of the enclosure saw a decline in MMA contests in WA from 2013.

In 2015/2016 the Commission undertook a risk review for the use of boxing rings for MMA contests. The review included MMA contestants, trainers and promoters who provided the most valuable information given their specialist industry knowledge. Interviews took place which indicated that there was a broad support for the return of the enclosure at an industry level, because it was the safest contest area for contestants. The review also highlighted that utilising the enclosure was considered best practice.
The reinstatement of the enclosure in 2017 was a pre-election commitment that has been upheld by the incoming McGowan Government. The rules for the use of an enclosure were drafted and approved by the Commission and the Minister in May 2017 with the rules being finalised and Gazetted in June 2017. The first MMA contest to be held in the enclosure took place on 29 July 2017.

Policy Work

The Commission undertook a significant amount of policy work during 2016/17, reviewing or implementing a range of policies to guide Commission decision making and provide greater clarity to the industry.

The most notable policies that were reviewed or implemented during the year were:

  • the Children Participating in Promotions policy;
  • the Junior Contests policy;
  • the Suspension policy;
  • the Fit and Proper Person – Other than Promoter; and
  • the Code of Conduct for Contestants and Industry Participants.

Steps are being taken to ensure that these policies are available to the general public through the Commission website and this work will be completed in the coming months.

In addition to these policies the Conditions and Guidelines for Registration were also reviewed during the year with a view to making them more concise and clearer for registrants. The Commission has also worked towards the completion of the Contestant Preparations and Guidelines that will be made available through the Commissions website.

Mixed Martial Arts Seminar and Ringsport Industry Training and Sparring day

A Mixed Martial Arts Seminar was held at the MMA Clinic Willetton on 25 and 26 March 2017 with the Commission inviting Peter Hickmott, Mix Martial Arts Australasian Head Referee and Official, to deliver the seminar.

The seminar was based around Refereeing and Judging criteria, Corner man/Seconds conduct, hand wraps and the expectations of Officials. Current Officials, Trainers and those wishing to become an official were strongly encouraged to attend and highlight any areas they wished Peter to cover.
The weekend was successful with positive feedback from all that attended.

Alan Pond, a registered Promoter, Official and owner of Midland Martial Arts Ultimate Fitness Centre, held a Ringsport event during the year. Such seminars are supported by the Commission and assist with the development of Industry Participants.

These seminars are well attended by industry professionals such as Dr Patrick Golden (Medical Practitioner), Mr Mark Simpson (Head Referee), Bill Seth and Alan Pond who delivered presentations on concussion, after contest medical treatment and the latest rules. This year Oliver Barley (student of ECU - Master of Science) delivered his finding of Prevalence of Rapid Weight Loss at Mixed Martial Arts events.

The Commission hopes to see these events continue throughout the year as they offer people both inside and outside the industry the opportunity to either learn new skills or hone and refresh current skills.

I also wish to acknowledge the contribution of all members of the Commission. I thank them for their dedication and personal assistance that they have provided me. I acknowledge Commissioners Derrick Chan, Dean Woodhams and Renee Felton who have a significant level of industry knowledge and experience in combat sports and have attended most promotions in 2016/17.

I wish to publicly acknowledge the efforts of Greg McGuire, Tracey Roper, Stacey Newton, Lisa Pearson, Antoni Grover and Alice Ferro. It is their commitment and professionalism that ensures the smooth running of the Commission. Each of them made my task as Chair extremely easy.

I would also like to acknowledge the outgoing Commissioners Arron Minchin and Victor Stuart. Your contribution to the Commission has been greatly appreciated and I thank you for your involvement during your time with the Commission.

On behalf of the Commission, I would like to again thank the Hon. Mick Murray for his support of the Commission and would also like to personally commend all Commission members and support staff for their efforts in enforcing the Act during the year.

Cassandra Wright
Commission Chair
July 2017