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June 2, 2015

Kentucky Arenas Fighting Regulation Of Pro Wrestling In The State, WWE Declines To Comment

Insider Louisville posted a story today which revealed that major Kentucky arenas such as Lexington's Rupp Arena and Louisville's KFC Yum! Center are hoping that the state's athletic commission abandons professional wrestling regulation or severely reduces the amount of restrictions.

Kentucky is among the roughly half of states in which pro wrestling is regulated, and the state is widely considered the most strict. If a competitor bleeds in a match, the contest has to be stopped until the bleeding subsides. Also, blading is considered illegal. The same rules don't apply for MMA and boxing bouts in the state. Also, oddly enough, one license allows you to promote MMA, boxing or pro wrestling despite the vast differences in the three. The issue is costing the state millions in missed revenue due to the fact that companies like WWE and TNA pass up the state in favor of nearby Cincinnati and Indianapolis. MMA fights aren't stopped due to blood, as all amateurs and pros must have blood screenings submitted prior to the fight and are required to update them annually.

The Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Authority sent a letter following a 2010 WWE event containing blood, saying they would only be permitted to return if KBWA officials were there to stop any match with bleeding. Yum! Center GM Dennis Petrullo says this is the reason that televised events don't often happen in the state anymore.

"The live TV events with WWE are very large and they draw a lot of people and viewers, so there's too much money involved to allow someone to stop one of the bouts," Petrullo told Insider Louisville. "It's insane. I mean, look at Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, or mixed martial arts, there's blood all over the place. And for some reason they have stopped them from coming into Kentucky because of blood in the ring."

The situation also affects independent wrestlers and promotions, who are required to pay fees to run events in the state. There have been instances where the KBWA also doesn't have enough staff to handle all of the events in the state.

I reached out to the Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Authority, who refused to comment on the matter further, but board administrator Angela Robinson. did tell the Insider "wrestling is a real sport, Even though the outcome might be choreographed, it's still a real sport. People still do get injured." By that same notion the KBWA should also seek regulating film fight scenes in the area. Ultimately, it comes down to the commission wanting their cut of profits.

WWE's spokeswoman declined to comment to Insider on the story, but it was also revealed that WWE's Damien Sandow has also worked in the past on trying to get the situation sorted out.

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