But the companion bill was delayed for a week in the Senate Finance Committee because of concerns over an effort to direct some of the proceeds to the wrestling program at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga.
Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, argued that the wrestling program at the school near his district should benefit because many professional fighters have a background in collegiate wrestling.
"It is a sport that is very popular within the state of Tennessee," Watson said. "I think it's a great amendment, I think it's a great idea."
"If that's an earmark, then so be it," he said.
The proposal would direct any money above what is needed to pay for the operations of the new commission to be deposited into an account to fund scholarships at NCAA Division I wrestling programs in the state. UT-Chattanooga is the only public school that competes at that level.
The money would be generated from a tax on licensing fees, ticket sales and televised fights.
Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle of Memphis objected to directing money to specific programs - especially amid a growing budget shortfall.
"Earmarking ties our hands," he said.
Sen. Douglas Henry, D-Nashville, argued that the money could be better spent on trying to alleviate potential layoffs of state workers.
Watson responded that his proposal wouldn't go into effect for two years after the creation of the commission and that the budget situation could be different by then