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Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 3175
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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is consensual fighting legal how about for minors Im

Customer Question

is consensual fighting legal ?
how about for minors ?
Im in Utah and am having problems with high school students fighting and running a fight cub. Is there any way this would be legal even off school grounds ? what laws are broken- I assume assault, aggravated assault, etc ? what possible punishments ?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Thomas Swartz replied 8 years ago.

There is a statute in Utah which prohibits fight clubs. That statute is Utah Code § 63C-11-314 and § 63C-11-302. Which provide as follows:

63C-11-314. Club fighting prohibited.
(1) Club fighting is prohibited.
(2) Any person who publicizes, promotes, conducts, or engages in a club fighting match is:
(a) guilty of a class A misdemeanor as provided in Section 76-9-705; and
(b) subject to license revocation under this part.

Where "club fighting" is defined in 63C-11-302 as follows:

(3) (a) "Club fighting" means any contest of unarmed combat, whether admission is charged or not, where:
(i) the rules of the contest are not approved by the commission;
(ii) a licensed physician or osteopath is not in attendance;
(iii) an HIV negative test regarding each contestant not less than 180 days before the contest has not been provided to the commission;
(iv) the contest is not conducted in accordance with commission rules; or
(v) the contestants are not matched by the weight standards described in Section 63C-11-324.
(b) "Club fighting" does not include sparring if:
(i) it is conducted for training purposes;
(ii) no tickets are sold to spectators;
(iii) no concessions are available for spectators;
(iv) protective clothing, including protective headgear, a mouthguard, and a protective cup, is worn; and
(v) for boxing, 16 ounce boxing gloves are worn.

The minors involved in your situation could potentially be charged under this statute which you can see from above is a class A misdemeanor. The statute does not give an exception for consensual fighting. The above statutes come under Utah Code Title 63C, Chapter 11, which deals with the Utah Sports Commission. The intent of these statutes is obviously to regulate the sport of boxing and other martial contests. Every state has such a commission to ensure the safety of the participants and to some extent regulate gambling on such contests.

Utah also has a statute prohibiting "Ultimate Fighting" matches. This is Utah Code § 76-9-705, which provides as follows:

76-9-705. Participation in an ultimate fighting match.
(1) For purposes of this section, "ultimate fighting match" means a live match in which:
(a) an admission fee is charged;
(b) match rules permit professional contestants to use a combination of boxing, kicking, wrestling, hitting, punching, or other combative, contact techniques; and
(c) match rules do not:
(i) incorporate a formalized system of combative techniques against which a contestant's performance is judged to determine the prevailing contestant;
(ii) divide a match into two or more equal and specified time periods for a match total of no more than 50 minutes; or
(iii) prohibit contestants from:
(A) using anything that is not part of the human body, except for boxing gloves, to intentionally inflict serious bodily injury upon an opponent through direct contact or the expulsion of a projectile;
(B) striking a person who demonstrates an inability to protect himself from the advances of an opponent;
(C) biting; or
(D) direct, intentional, and forceful strikes to the eyes, groin area, adam's apple area of the neck, and temple area of the head.
(2) Any person who publicizes, promotes, conducts, or engages in an ultimate fighting match is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

I don't know if the fighting you are concerned about would fall under this definition of "ultimate fighting." But if it does, again this would be a class A misdemeanor.

It is possible that other criminal statutes would apply, such as assault etc. But since it is consensual fighting it may be difficult to obtain a conviction under such statutes.

If any adults are involved in organizing the fights other criminal statutes may be involved.

I hope this answers you question.