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104th Congress 1st SENATE Report
Calendar No. 209
PROFESSIONAL BOXING SAFETY ACT
R E P O R T
COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND
October 19 (legislative day, October 18), 1995.--Ordered to be printed
SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS
LARRY PRESSLER, South Dakota,
ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, South Carolina BOB PACKWOOD, Oregon
DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii TED STEVENS, Alaska
WENDELL H. FORD, Kentucky JOHN McCAIN, Arizona
J. JAMES EXON, Nebraska CONRAD BURNS, Montana
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West VirginiaSLADE GORTON, Washington
JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts TRENT LOTT, Mississippi
JOHN B. BREAUX, Louisiana KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, Texas
RICHARD H. BRYAN, Nevada OLYMPIA SNOWE, Maine
BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota JOHN ASHCROFT, Missouri
Patric G. Link, Chief of Staff
Kevin G. Curtin, Democratic Chief
Counsel and Staff Director
Calendar No. 209
104th Congress Report
1st Session 104-159
PROFESSIONAL BOXING SAFETY ACT
October 19 (legislative day, October 18), 1995.--Ordered to be printed
Mr. Pressler, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and
Transportation, submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany S. 187]
The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to
which was referred the bill joint resolution deg. (S.
187) TITLE deg. ``A Bill to provide for the safety of
journeymen boxers, and for other purposes'', having considered
the same, reports favorably thereon without amendment and
recommends that the bill joint resolution deg. do
purpose of measure
The bill, S. 187, as reported, seeks to improve the
regulation of professional boxing. The bill enhances the
ability of state boxing commissions to provide proper oversight
of professional boxing matches by expanding the system of
safety precautions that protect the welfare of professional
background and need
Most states currently regulate professional boxing matches
and determine whether participants are fit to fight. States do
not, however, uniformly address safety issues and the efficacy
of safety enforcement varies dramatically from state to state.
Some states have no health and safety requirements at all.
The main medical problem confronting boxers is chronic brain
injury. Dr. Barry Jordan, Professor of Neurology at Cornell
Medical School and Team Physician for the U.S.A. Amateur Boxing
Federation, testified before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee
on Investigations on March 10, 1995. Dr. Jordan indicated that
20 percent of retired boxers experience chronic brain injuries.
This results in slurred speech, memory loss, personality
changes, difficulty walking, and, potentially, Parkinson's
disease. Dr. Jordan believes boxing for a long period of time,
particularly if the fighter loses frequently, poses a
substantial risk of chronic brain injury.
State athletic commissions are responsible for sanctioning
boxing contests held in their jurisdiction. Although bouts are
supposed to feature evenly matched fighters, severe mismatches,
arranged to improve the superior boxer's record, are not
unusual. These severely mismatched bouts are dangerous to the
health of the less experienced fighter.
A major safety problem is the inadequate maintenance of
health records for fighters, including suspensions of fighters
as a result of injuries suffered in the ring. While some states
have thorough record-keeping procedures, others do not.
Generally, when a fighter is knocked out, he is prohibited from
fighting, for a specified period of time, in the state where
the knockout occurred. Nevertheless, those fighters often
simply go to another state to get a bout. Ricky Stackhouse's
boxing career exemplifies this safety problem. In 1989,
Stackhouse was permanently banned from fighting in New York by
the state athletic commission. He then fought in Florida and
was knocked out of a bout by the first punch thrown. After
Florida suspended him for life, he qualified to fight in
Michigan. There he was again knocked out early in a fight with
James Toney, the world middle-weight champion of the
International Boxing Foundation.
Senators McCain and Bryan introduced S. 187 on January 10,
1995. The text of S. 187 is identical to S. 1991, introduced in
the 103rd Congress by Senators McCain and Bryan on March 25,
1994. After considering S. 187 in open executive session, on
July 20, 1995, the committee ordered the bill reported without
objection and without amendment.
In the 103rd Congress, the Committee on Commerce, Science,
and Transportation held hearings on the ``health and safety of
professional boxing'' on January 20, 1994, and on S. 1991 on
September 22, 1994. The Committee favorably reported S. 1991 on
September 28, 1994. The bill was not considered by the full
In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate and Section 403 of the
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget
Congressional Budget Office,
Washington, DC, August 1, 1995.
Hon. Larry Pressler,
Chairman, Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, U.S.
Senate, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 187, the
Professional Boxing Safety Act.
Enacting S. 187 would affect both direct spending and
receipts. Therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would apply to
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them.
June E. O'Neill, Director.
1. Bill number: S. 187.
2. Bill title: Professional Boxing Safety Act.
3. Bill status: As ordered reported by the Senate Committee
on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on July 20, 1995.
4. Bill purpose: S. 187 would permit a boxing match to take
place only in a state that establishes procedures to implement
the requirements of this bill and that has a state boxing
commission or a licensing agreement with another state that
also has a boxing commission. Before boxing in a particular
state, a boxer would be required to register with the state's
boxing commission, or, if it had none, to register with a
boxing commission with which the state has a licensing
agreement. State boxing commissions would have to issue
identity cards to registered boxers, develop procedures to
evaluate the professional records of boxers, and make sure that
no boxer is permitted to box while under suspension from any
other state boxing commission. The bill also would require each
state boxing commission to forward the results of boxing
matches to the Association of Boxing Commission (ABC) and the
Florida State Athletic Commission.
The bill also would permit United States Attorneys to bring
civil actions against anyone who violates provisions of the
bill, and would establish criminal fines and penalties for
violations. Finally, the bill would require the Secretary of
Labor to conduct a study on the feasibility and cost of a
national pension plan for professional boxers.
5. Estimated cost to the Federal Government: CBO estimates
that enacting S. 189 would have no significant impact on the
federal budget. S. 189 could affect the federal budget in two
ways--by permitting United States Attorneys to bring civil
actions against violators of the bill's provisions, and by
making violations of its provisions criminal offenses and
establishing criminal fines for such offenses. As a result,
enacting S. 189 could affect both federal spending and receipts
from fines. Based on information from the Office of the United
States Attorneys, CBO estimates that the bill would not result
in any significant cost to the federal government for
additional civil actions brought by U.S. Attorneys. Criminal
fine collections would be governmental receipts, but based on
information from the Department Justice (DOJ), we estimate that
any increase in collections for criminal fines would not be
Criminal fines would be deposited in the Crime Victims Fund
and spent in the following year as direct spending. The
increase in direct spending would be the same as the amount of
fines collected, with a one-year lag. Therefore, additional
direct spending would also be negligible.
Based on information from the Department of Labor,
conducting the study on pension plans for professional boxers
would cost between $150,000 and $250,000, depending on the
expense of collecting the data and assuming appropriation of
the necessary funds.
6. Pay-as-you-go considerations: Section 252 of the
Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 sets
up pay-as-you-go procedures for legislation affecting direct
spending or receipts through 1998. CBO estimates that enactment
of S. 187 would affect direct spending and receipts through the
imposition of criminal fines and resulting spending from the
Crime Victims Fund. CBO estimates that the amounts involved
would not be significant. The following table summarizes the
estimated pay-as-you-go impact of this bill.
1995 1996 1997 1998
Change in outlays............... 0 0 0 0
Change in receipts.............. 0 0 0 0
7. Estimated cost to State and local governments: S. 187
would require state boxing commissions to issue an
identification card to each professional boxer who registers
with the commission. It also would require the commissions to
establish various procedures and to file reports with the
Florida State Athletic Commission and with registries certified
by the ABC.
Although the bill establishes these requirements for
existing state boxing commissions (now numbering more than
thirty), it does not require the states to establish such
commissions. Boxers residing in a state with no boxing
commission could register with any other state's commission.
Promoters seeking to hold a boxing match in a state that does
not have a boxing commission could enter into an agreement with
another state's commission to oversee the match. Consequently,
states without boxing commissions would not have to create them
to comply with this bill. In addition, several state boxing
officials have told CBO that many of the commissions are
already complying with the requirements set out in the bill. As
a result, we expect that the costs to states from enacting S.
187 would not be significant.
8. Estimate comparison: None.
9. Previous CBO estimate: None.
10. Estimate prepared by: Federal Cost Estimate: Rachel
Forward, State and Local Cost Estimate: Pepper Santalucia.
11. Estimate approved by: Robert R. Sunshine; for Paul N.
Van de Water, Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
Regulatory Impact Statement
In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of this
Number of Persons Affected
The purpose of this bill is to improve the safety of
professional boxing matches. It will thus affect the actions of
professional boxers and the promoters of professional boxing
No impact on the nation's economy is anticipated.
This legislation will not have any adverse impact on the
personal privacy of the individuals affected. The legislation
will, however, require that professional boxers obtain an
identification card to be presented at the weigh-in before
every professional boxing event. The legislation also requires
the reporting of boxing match results to existing national
registers that distribute reports on matches.
This legislation will require that professional boxers
register with a State boxing commission. The legislation also
requires the reporting of boxing match results to existing
national registers that distribute reports on matches.
Section 1. Short title
Section 1 states the short title of the legislation,
providing that the legislation may be cited as the
``Professional Boxing Safety Act.''
Section 2. Definitions
Section 2 defines terms and phrases used in the bill.
Section 3. Purpose
Section 3 states the purpose of the bill is to improve and
expand the system of safety precautions that protect the
welfare of professional boxers and assist State boxing
commissions in providing proper oversight of professional
Section 4. Professional boxing matches
Section 4 requires that every professional boxing match in
the United States be supervised by a state boxing commission.
If a state does not have a state boxing commission, the fight's
promoter must contract with the boxing commissioners of another
state to regulate the fight.
Currently, Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Dakota,
Virginia, and Wyoming do not have state boxing commissions.
Virginia privatized its boxing commission earlier this year by
entering into a contract with a private association that will
perform the functions once carried out by the state. The
District of Columbia is considering proposals to privatize its
Section 5. Registration
Section 5 requires every professional boxer to register
with the State boxing commission where he resides. Foreign
boxers coming into the United States for bouts and boxers
residing in States without boxing commissions must register in
a State that has a State boxing commission. Section 5 requires
that boxers be issued an identification card by the state
commission with which they have registered. That identification
card must be updated every three years and presented at weigh-
in prior to any boxing event. Section 5 indicates that nothing
in the section shall be construed to prevent a State from
applying additional registration requirements.
Section 6. Review
Section 6 requires State boxing commissions to evaluate the
records of each boxer participating in a professional bout in
their state. This evaluation is to ensure the boxers are
physically able to compete and have adequate boxing skills to
compete with a qualified opponent. Boxers suspended in one
State, due to injury or other medical-related reasons, are
prohibited from fighting in another State.
Section 7. Reporting
Section 7 requires the reporting of results of a
professional boxing match, including notice of any suspensions,
within 48 business hours after the conclusion of a professional
match. These results are to be reported to the Association of
Boxing Commissions and the Florida State Athletic Commission.
The Florida State Athletic Commission distributes a free update
on all suspended boxers in the United States.
Section 8. Enforcement
Whenever the United States Attorney in a State has
reasonable cause to believe the provisions of this bill are
being violated, the U.S. Attorney may seek in federal court an
injunction to block the professional bout at issue.
Criminal penalties are established for violations under the
bill. Managers, promoters, matchmakers, and licensees who
knowingly and willfully violate provisions of the bill can be
fined up to $20,000 or imprisoned up to one year, or both.
Boxers who knowingly and willfully violate provisions of the
bill can be fined up to $1,000.
Section 9. Study
The Department of Labor is required to conduct a study on
the feasibility and cost of a national pension system for
professional boxers, and report its findings to the Congress
within 180 days of the bill's enactment.
changes in existing law
In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee states that the
bill, as reported, makes no change in existing law.