Morning Report: South Dakota passes bill to regulate combat sports, MMA ban handily defeated

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Score one for sanity. According to a report from ArgusLeader.com, Representative Steve Hickey, who earlier this week inanely referred to mixed martial arts as "the child porn of sports" -- and later asked the question, "Who would Jesus elbow in the face?" -- saw his amendment to ban the sport easily defeated by the South Dakota State Legislature on Wednesday.

In addition, the South Dakota House of Representatives approved a bill that would create a state commission to regulate combat sports, including boxing and MMA, by a hefty 50 to 20 vote. Fight sports were previously legal in the state of South Dakota, however the lack of a sanctioning body led to a free-for-all in regards to on-site medical personnel, pre-fight blood tests, insurance and medical suspensions.

The bill was previously approved by the Senate and now only awaits the signature of Governor Dennis Daugaard.

Daugaard, for some reason, "strongly opposes" the push for increased safety and oversight for such volatile sports. However "both houses of the Legislature passed the fight commission bill with margins sufficient to override any veto."

In other news, Representative Steve Hickey's Twitter avatar is still a photoshopped image of his head superimposed on Captain America's body, with Tommy Lee Jones stoically observing in the background. Awesome.

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7 MUST-READ STORIES

South Dakota bill passed. The South Dakota bill that would create a state commission to regulate combat sports, including boxing and mixed martial arts, passed through the South Dakota House of Representatives by a 50 to 20 vote, according to a report from ArgusLeader.com. The amendment from Representative Steve Hickey, who infamously compared MMA to "child porn" and sought to ban the sport, was handily rejected.

Dekkers passes away. Kickboxing and Muay Thai legend Ramon Dekkers tragically passed away at the age of 43 on Wednesday. Dekkers reportedly suffered a heart attack while riding his bicycle in his home town of Breda.

WSOF signs Volkmann. Former UFC lightweight Jacob Volkmann inked a multi-fight deal with World Series of Fighting. Volkmann is expected to make his promotional debut in June.

Bellator 91 weigh-ins. All 18 fighters met their required weight at Wednesday's official Bellator 91 weigh-ins, including light heavyweight champion Christian M'Pumbu and title challenger Attila Vegh.

Edgar-Swanson considered for TUF Finale. UFC officials considered a featherweight tilt between top contenders Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson to replace Demetrious Johnson vs. John Moraga as the main event of TUF 17 Finale, however Swanson felt he wasn't healthy enough to accept the bout on five weeks notice.

UFC 157 salaries, medical suspensions. Former Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson led the reported payroll at UFC 157, earning $250,000 for his decision loss to Lyoto Machida. Henderson, along with Josh Koscheck and Josh Neer, also received six-month medical suspensions from the California State Athletic Commission.

Shamhalaev replaces Straus. Bellator season seven tournament winner Shahbulat Shamhalaev replaced the injured Daniel Straus against Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran in the main event of Bellator 95.

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MEDIA STEW

R.I.P Ramon Dekkers. 186-33-2, 95 KOs. Champion. Legend.

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There's no easy transition, but I guarantee this clip of TUF 10 alum Justin Wren will put a smile on your face. Per Wren's YouTube summary: "Hairy & Scary in Congo! 1st time kids see white dude & even see arm hair! First time they see a beard... And they get to see themself doing it on the screen of the iPhone 4s front screen while they are doing it."

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"The people talk, blah blah, blah. Maybe this time for fight. It's good for Chris Weidman, not for me. It's good for the boy, the kid." -- Anderson Silva.

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Pat Barry disagrees with your assessment of Lyoto Machida vs. Dan Henderson.

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I see your Evil Dead reference, Tommy. Don't you dare try to sneak that past me.

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R.I.P.

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WEIDMAN RESPONDS

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SOUND LOGIC

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ANGRY B.J.

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BE READY

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KELVIN'S GIRLFRIEND, NEW NO. 1 CONTENDER

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Wednesday, February 27, 2013):

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day sees SecondhandMMA deliver: UFC on Fuel TV: Silva vs. Stann Predictions

With the UFC commandeering the Saitama Super Arena, and Wanderlei Silva headlining the event at 205lbs, feelings of nostalgia begin to cross the minds of fight fans who remember Pride in its heyday. Mark Hunt battles a comically tall heavyweight in what seems like a classic Pride sideshow bout (but has obvious heavyweight implications), Japanese stars take to the main card (Takanori Gomi, Mizuto Hirota and Yushin Okami), and a whole host of other intriguing bouts to boot.

Is this fight card going to be Pride reincarnate? Not really, no. No stomps, soccer kicks, openweight bouts, or screaming announcer ladies will keep this from becoming the JMMA of old. However, it is one of the more solid fight cards Japan has been offered in recent years, with an international flavor to spice things up. Will Wanderlei Silva turn back the clock and finish Stann violently? Will Lombard streak through Okami? Will the Afghani fighter with a mysterious aura get past the South Korean judoka? Let's get to the predictions.

Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann

In this light-heavyweight bout, not too much is up for grabs divisionally. Both men have fought at middleweight during the recent stretch of their UFC tenure, with Silva occasionally taking bouts at 190 to keep things interesting. A loss for either though could cost them employment, so it's fair to say something is riding on the bout. Both men have knockout power, but I believe Stann's chin is solid enough to withstand the manic haymakers that Silva will inevitably throw. To be sure, Silva could catch Stann flat footed, but I like the power in the All American's hands and crispness of his strikes to finish the Axe Murderer and put an end on his career.

Stann via 2nd Round KO.

Mark Hunt vs. Stefan Struve

In a battle of mismatched heavyweights, you've got the tallest in the division against one of the shortest. Hunt is on somewhat of a career resurgence here, having won his last 3 fights in a row, and he sits just outside of contendership. If he beats the younger, taller fighter on a longer tear, he should have earned his position amongst the contenders at heavyweight. However, I think it'll be a rough night for the fan favorite from New Zealand. Struve has not only gotten bigger, but his fight IQ has grown as well. I expect this fight to last longer than Struve's fight with knockout artist Lavar Johnson, but I expect the same result.

Struve via 1st Round Submission.

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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