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State bans fighters with boob jobs

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Mike Chiappetta

Mike Chiappetta has documented the fast-growing sport of mixed martial arts since 2006 for news organizations including SB Nation, NBCSports.com, FIGHT! Magazine, AOL and ESPN. He appears regularly as an analyst on countless television shows and radio programs, including CBS Radio and MMA Beat. Follow him on Twitter.

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Fighters with breast implants will not be able to ply their trade in Louisiana after the state’s Boxing and Wrestling Commission passed a rule on Wednesday prohibiting their participation unless they receive clearance from the doctor who performed their surgery.

According to The New Orleans Times-Picayune, the emergency measure is in place for at least 60 days while the commission gathers more information on the matter.

“If they want to look good, then they don’t have to be in the ring,” commissioner Harold Williams said during the meeting.

The rule appears somewhat arbitrary given the fact that it covers mixed martial arts and boxing, but not professional wrestling, which the commission also regulates. It also seems more than a little discriminatory given the inherent danger in combat sports.

The issue surrounding the newly imposed rule originated when an unnamed female fighter in the state withdrew from a scheduled bout due to a problem with her breast implant, raising concerns over who would be financially responsible if such a problem occurred during the course of a state-sanctioned match.

The Times-Picayune said the change could affect “two or three” fights that have been scheduled in the state, though they did not specify which ones.

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The move is not unprecedented. In 2009, English fighter Sarah Blewden was denied a license by the Amateur Boxing Association for the same reason when the organization’s medical expert ruled that her implants were at risk for distortion if they were repeatedly hit. Blewden has since gone on to compete in Muay Thai fights.

While no U.S. state commissions are believed to have enacted a similar rule until now, several commissions have rules requiring breast plates to be worn by female fighters.

Louisiana is the home to several local promotions and occasionally hosts major events. The UFC last ran a show in the state in 2011, when they visited New Orleans. Bellator visited three times in 2012 but has yet to return in 2013 although the promotion recently taped its Fight Master reality show there.

For now, any women with implants who hope to compete in the state will have to have their cosmetic surgeon sign off on the adventure, and commission doctor Thomas Ferguson doesn’t think there’s much chance of that happening.

“I don’t know of a single plastic surgeon who is going to allow his artistic work to be messed up,” he said.

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