Multiple American Athletic Commissions Give Stances On Slap Fighting, Potential Regulation

The spectacle of slap fighting might have some difficulties getting widespread regulation in the United States.

On the heels of a statement from the Alabama Athletic Commission which recently unanimously voted to keep slap-fighting events illegal in their state, Fightful reached out to the various athletic commissions throughout America to get their opinions on slap-fighting overall, and if they would be following Alabama's course of action.

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We didn't reach out to Nevada, which already regulated slap-fighting last October and has become the home for Dana White's Power Slap League, as well as Alaska and Montana, as neither state has an official commission. The following state commissions chose not to respond to this report or gave no comment.

-Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Washington D.C., West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

However, Fightful did hear back from 16 other commissions across the country for this story. They all gave a variety of responses, but at least a few seemed to be in line with Alabama's line of thinking regarding the potential regulation of slap fighting in their respective states.

Places like Colorado, Delaware, Michigan, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington gave us the following statements, making it pretty clear that slap-fighting will not be approved in their states and isn't under consideration for any sort of regulation at the moment.

Slap fighting is not currently approved or under consideration by the Colorado Combative Sports Commission. Thank you for your inquiry.

-Lee Rasizer, Colorado

The Delaware Combative Sports Commission does not currently regulate slap leagues and there has been no discussion to date by the Commission to regulate them.

-Rony Baltazar-Lopez, Delaware

The Michigan Unarmed Combat Commission (UCC) is unable to safely sanction “unarmed combat” events, besides professional boxing or professional/amateur mixed martial arts events, under the Unarmed Combat Regulatory Act, unless it promulgates specific rules of engagement that do not otherwise conflict with Michigan’s Unarmed Combat Regulatory Act. Currently, there are no rules of engagement for slap fighting in the State of Michigan.

The sport of slap fighting was recently referred to one of the Commission’s standing subcommittees for additional study.

-Jeffrey Wattrick, Michigan

The South Carolina Athletic Commission has not approved slap fighting and has no current plans to consider the issue. As the regulatory body for combat sports in South Carolina, it would be unlawful for a promoter to stage a slap fighting event in South Carolina without the Athletic Commission’s approval.

-Leslie Shannon Kudelka, South Carolina

The Tennessee Athletic Commission does not currently allow for slap fighting also known as power slap under our current statutes and rules.

-Roxana Gumucio, Tennessee

We would not be able to consider slap fighting in Washington state without some type of changes to the statutes/laws. This would require someone from the industry to work through the legislative process to propose those changes. This type of activity would fall under our definition of “martial arts.” Based on our laws and rules and our authority, this type of an event would not be permitted in Washington state.

During a slap fighting contest, participants utilize blows to defeat an opponent without the use of gloves and opponents are not able to defend themselves. Gloves and the ability for participants to defend themselves, among other safety requirements in our laws and rules, are in place to protect the safety and welfare of all participants. In addition, it’s unknown if these participants are trained in the sport of martial arts. If not, this type of a contest may be considered “Combative Fighting” which is illegal in our state.

-Christine Anthony, Washington

Other state commissions like Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming, are taking a more wait-and-see approach to potential regulation of slap fighting. Some suggested that until a request is made in their state about the issue, that they currently have no opinions on the matter.

The rest seem to be currently just monitoring the situation in Nevada with Dana White's Power Slap League or are going through an ongoing process to consider regulating slap fighting. Joe Miller, an Administrator for the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission even told us it was on the agenda for their commission's next meeting, coming up this Wednesday.

Thank you for your inquiry regarding the Arkansas State Athletic Commission (ASAC). There are no current rules to permit or allow slap boxing in Arkansas. There are no pending requests before the ASAC to develop rules for the competition at this time. The ASAC has the authority to regulate the activity under Arkansas Statutes A.C.A 17-22-101 and A.C.A 17-22-204.

Until there is an application or request for sanctioning filed with the ASAC for vetting, the Commission will not speculate or offer an opinion regarding Slap Boxing.

-Lindsay Moore, Arkansas

At this time, the Florida Athletic Commission (FAC) has not made a decision on slap fighting and there is no set date for a decision to be made. The FAC is planning to discuss the matter further with medical professionals at a future meeting.

-Marnie Villanueva, Florida

The Idaho Athletic Commission has neither considered nor approved slap fighting. At this point, the Commission has not taken a position and will not do so until and unless a request comes before it.

-Bob McLaughlin, Idaho

Our office does not have the authority to regulate this activity because it does not occur in a cage or a ring. However, as with any new sport, we are monitoring it closely.

-Lori Croy, Missouri

Thank you for reaching out. The UFC reached out to us to review their rules. We have a process in place to submit to our commission as well as seek advice from our medical advisory board. Then rules and changes go to our DOJ and legislature when fees are increased or assessed. In short, our commission has no opinion or thoughts. We currently have a process to follow and this will take 6 months to a year. This also provides time to seek additional information such as the Assoc. of Ringside Physician break out session regarding slap fighting in June.

Our opinion on Slap Fighting is solely based upon the process and the safety of the competitors. Those are yet to be examined and we intend to do our due diligence in seeking medical advice as well as our Commission recommendations.

-David Hagen, Oregon

The Department of Business Regulation’s Gaming and Athletics Division regulates professional boxing and mixed martial arts. There are no legislative proposals or requests to authorize slap fighting in Rhode Island at this time.

-Lindsay Russell, Rhode Island

Our Commission has not taken an official stance as of yet. The board is interested to see how things go with Nevada, before making any ruling.

-Scott Bowler, Utah

The agency and staff are aware of Dana White's Power Slap League. At this time, there has not been any policy decisions or discussions about it. We continue to monitor the issue.

-Kerri O’Brien, Virginia

I am the President of the Combat Sports Commission here in Wyoming. I am responding to your inquiry about the status of Power Slap events in our state. As of this time, we have not formally addressed the issue as we have not had a request for an event.

We generally don’t have meetings without an agenda of issues to cover. If someone puts in for an event, we will look at it at that time. I am sorry I don’t have a concrete answer for you, but we haven’t looked into the issue yet.

-Bryan Pedersen, Wyoming

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