Two weeks after the state of Washington proposed a rule prohibiting pregnant fighters from competing, Oregon unanimously approve a statue requiring women to pass a negative pregnancy test before fighting.
The Oregon State Athletic Commission’s decision is a response to the rising popularity of women in combat sports and will affect all boxing and mixed martial arts events. Most athletic commissions have strict rules about boxers submitting to pregnancy tests, yet there are only a few states, such as Texas and Idaho, that instill similar regulations in MMA. The only way to forgo a test in Oregon is by providing documentation of a hysterectomy.
In 2011, featherweight Cindy Dandois fought at an MMA show in Belgium, unaware that she was two months pregnant. Dandois took multiple tests before leaving the United States, but all came back negative. She withdrew from her next fight which would have been against Gina Carano.
“If I wasn’t pregnant I would’ve agreed for this fight because it was and is still my biggest dream to fight her one time,” Dandois told Yahoo! Sports. “I hope Strikeforce still wants me and asks me after my pregnancy. If I can sign with them I will start training again right away so I can be ready to take any fight in about 2-3 months after my baby is born, and my family will be there to support me.” Dandois has not fought since giving birth.
While a case like Dandois’ is uncommon, it reiterates the fact that testing, whether for pregnancy or banned substances, is flawed. Oregon’s athletic commission looks to avoid an oversight by providing their own kits which must be used under the supervision of an authorized physician.
The commission said that the cost of pregnancy testing will be minimal since only about 10 women compete during each two-year budget cycle. For states with an abundance of MMA events, cost may be the deciding factor in establishing modern pregnancy testing techniques.