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Martial arts bouts could see more regulations

    Muay Thai instructor and MMA fighter Rich de los Reyes studies his pupils while they go through some light sparring during a Muay Thai class at Powerhouse Gym in Kakaako.

Mixed martial arts could be redefined as a full contact sport where the objective is to physically damage the opponent.

Hawaii lawmakers are considering the change so that other disciplines that use striking can be held to the same safety requirements as mixed martial arts.

Under the current law, there are no safety regulations for kickboxing, pankration, muay tai and extreme martial arts matches. That means contestants don’t need to submit blood work and licensed physicians, referees, judges and ambulances don’t need to be present at matches.

To protect contestants, the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs would like to see those disciplines regulated in the same way as mixed martial arts.

A state House committee will consider the change on Wednesday.

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