One Hundred Sixth Congress of the United
States of America at the second session
Begun and held at the City of Washington on Monday, the twenty-fourth
day of January, two thousand An Act To reform unfair and anticompetitive
practices in the professional boxing industry.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act'.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
The Congress makes the following findings:
(1) Professional boxing differs from other major, interstate
professional sports industries in the United States in that it operates
without any private sector association, league, or centralized industry
organization to establish uniform and appropriate business practices and
ethical standards. This has led to repeated occurrences of disreputable
and coercive business practices in the boxing industry, to the detriment
of professional boxers nationwide.
(2) State officials are the proper regulators of professional boxing
events, and must protect the welfare of professional boxers and serve
the public interest by closely supervising boxing activity in their
jurisdiction. State boxing commissions do not currently receive adequate
information to determine whether boxers competing in their jurisdiction
are being subjected to contract terms and business practices which may
violate State regulations, or are onerous and confiscatory.
(3) Promoters who engage in illegal, coercive, or unethical business
practices can take advantage of the lack of equitable business standards
in the sport by holding boxing events in States with weaker regulatory
(4) The sanctioning organizations which have proliferated in the boxing
industry have not established credible and objective criteria to rate
professional boxers, and operate with virtually no industry or public
oversight. Their ratings are susceptible to manipulation, have deprived
boxers of fair opportunities for advancement, and have undermined public
confidence in the integrity of the sport.
(5) Open competition in the professional boxing industry has been
significantly interfered with by restrictive and anticompetitive
business practices of certain promoters and sanctioning bodies, to the
detriment of the athletes and the ticket-buying public. Common practices
of promoters and sanctioning organizations represent restraints of
interstate trade in the United States.
(6) It is necessary and appropriate to establish national contracting
reforms to protect professional boxers and prevent exploitive business
practices, and to require enhanced financial disclosures to State
athletic commissions to improve the public oversight of the sport.
SEC. 3. PURPOSES.
The purposes of this Act are--
(1) to protect the rights and welfare of professional boxers on an
interstate basis by preventing certain exploitive, oppressive, and
unethical business practices;
(2) to assist State boxing commissions in their efforts to provide more
effective public oversight of the sport; and
(3) to promote honorable competition in professional boxing and enhance
the overall integrity of the industry.
SEC. 4. PROTECTING BOXERS FROM EXPLOITATION.
The Professional Boxing Safety Act of 1996 (15 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.) is
(1) by re-designating sections 9 through 15 as sections 17 through 23,
(2) by inserting after section 8 the following new sections:
SEC. 9. CONTRACT REQUIREMENTS.
Within 2 years after the date of the enactment of the Muhammad Ali
Boxing Reform Act, the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) shall
develop and shall approve by a vote of no less than a majority of its
member State boxing commissioners, guidelines for minimum contractual
provisions that should be included in bout agreements and boxing
contracts. It is the sense of the Congress that State boxing commissions
should follow these ABC guidelines.
SEC. 10. PROTECTION FROM COERCIVE CONTRACTS.
(a) GENERAL RULE-
(1)(A) A contract provision shall be considered to be in restraint of
trade, contrary to public policy, and unenforceable against any boxer to
the extent that it--
(i) is a coercive provision described in subparagraph (B) and is for a
period greater than 12 months; or
(ii) is a coercive provision described in subparagraph (B) and the other
boxer under contract to the promoter came under that contract pursuant
to a coercive provision described in subparagraph (B).
(B) A coercive provision described in this subparagraph is a contract
provision that grants any rights between a boxer and a promoter, or
between promoters with respect to a boxer, if the boxer is required to
grant such rights, or a boxer's promoter is required to grant such
rights with respect to a boxer to another promoter, as a condition
precedent to the boxer's participation in a professional boxing match
against another boxer who is under contract to the promoter.
(2) This subsection shall only apply to contracts entered into after the
date of the enactment of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act.
(3) No subsequent contract provision extending any rights or
compensation covered in paragraph (1) shall be enforceable against a
boxer if the effective date of the contract containing such provision is
earlier than 3 months before the expiration of the relevant time period
set forth in paragraph (1).
(b) PROMOTIONAL RIGHTS UNDER MANDATORY BOUT CONTRACTS- No boxing service
provider may require a boxer to grant any future promotional rights as a
requirement of competing in a professional boxing match that is a
mandatory bout under the rules of a sanctioning organization.
(c) PROTECTION FROM COERCIVE CONTRACTS WITH BROADCASTERS- Subsection (a)
of this section applies to any contract between a commercial broadcaster
and a boxer, or granting any rights with respect to that boxer,
involving a broadcast in or affecting interstate commerce, regardless of
the broadcast medium. For the purpose of this subsection, any reference
in subsection (a)(1)(B) to promoter' shall be considered a reference to
SEC. 11. SANCTIONING ORGANIZATIONS.
(a) OBJECTIVE CRITERIA- Within 2 years after the date of the enactment
of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, the Association of Boxing
Commissions shall develop and shall approve by a vote of no less than a
majority of its member State boxing commissioners, guidelines for
objective and consistent written criteria for the ratings of
professional boxers. It is the sense of the Congress that sanctioning
bodies and State boxing commissions should follow these ABC guidelines.
(b) APPEALS PROCESS- A sanctioning organization shall not be entitled to
receive any compensation, directly or indirectly, in connection with a
boxing match, until it provides the boxers with notice that the
sanctioning organization shall, within 7 days after receiving a request
from a boxer questioning that organization's rating of the boxer--
(1) provide to the boxer a written explanation of the organization's
criteria, its rating of the boxer, and the rationale or basis for its
rating (including a response to any specific questions submitted by the
(2) submit a copy of its explanation to the Association of Boxing
(c) NOTIFICATION OF CHANGE IN RATING- A sanctioning organization shall
not be entitled to receive any compensation, directly or indirectly, in
connection with a boxing match, until, with respect to a change in the
rating of a boxer previously rated by such organization in the top 10
boxers, the organization--
(1) posts a copy, within 7 days of such change, on its Internet website
or home page, if any, including an explanation of such change, for a
period of not less than 30 days; and
(2) provides a copy of the rating change and explanation to an
association to which at least a majority of the State boxing commissions
(d) PUBLIC DISCLOSURE-
(1) FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION FILING- A sanctioning organization shall
not be entitled to receive any compensation directly or indirectly in
connection with a boxing match unless, not later than January 31 of each
year, it submits to the Federal Trade Commission and to the ABC--
(A) a complete description of the organization's ratings criteria,
policies, and general sanctioning fee schedule;
(B) the bylaws of the organization;
(C) the appeals procedure of the organization for a boxer's rating; and
(D) a list and business address of the organization's officials who vote
on the ratings of boxers.
(2) FORMAT; UPDATES- A sanctioning organization shall--
(A) provide the information required under paragraph (1) in writing,
and, for any document greater than 2 pages in length, also in electronic
(B) promptly notify the Federal Trade Commission of any material change
in the information submitted.
(3) FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION TO MAKE INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO PUBLIC-
The Federal Trade Commission shall make information received under this
subsection available to the public. The Commission may assess
sanctioning organizations a fee to offset the costs it incurs in
processing the information and making it available to the public.
(4) INTERNET ALTERNATIVE- In lieu of submitting the information required
by paragraph (1) to the Federal Trade Commission, a sanctioning
organization may provide the information to the public by maintaining a
website on the Internet that--
(A) is readily accessible by the general public using generally
available search engines and does not require a password or payment of a
fee for full access to all the information;
(B) contains all the information required to be submitted to the Federal
Trade Commission by paragraph (1) in an easy to search and use format;
(C) is updated whenever there is a material change in the information.
SEC. 12. REQUIRED DISCLOSURES TO STATE BOXING COMMISSIONS BY SANCTIONING
A sanctioning organization shall not be entitled to receive any
compensation directly or indirectly in connection with a boxing match
until it provides to the boxing commission responsible for regulating
the match in a State a statement of--
(1) all charges, fees, and costs the organization will assess any boxer
participating in that match;
(2) all payments, benefits, complimentary benefits, and fees the
organization will receive for its affiliation with the event, from the
promoter, host of the event, and all other sources; and
(3) such additional information as the commission may require.
SEC. 13. REQUIRED DISCLOSURES FOR PROMOTERS.
(a) DISCLOSURES TO THE BOXING COMMISSIONS- A promoter shall not be
entitled to receive any compensation directly or indirectly in
connection with a boxing match until it provides to the boxing
commission responsible for regulating the match in a State a statement
(1) a copy of any agreement in writing to which the promoter is a party
with any boxer participating in the match;
(2) a statement made under penalty of perjury that there are no other
agreements, written or oral, between the promoter and the boxer with
respect to that match; and
(3)(A) all fees, charges, and expenses that will be assessed by or
through the promoter on the boxer pertaining to the event, including any
portion of the boxer's purse that the promoter will receive, and
(B) all payments, gifts, or benefits the promoter is providing to any
sanctioning organization affiliated with the event; and
(C) any reduction in a boxer's purse contrary to a previous agreement
between the promoter and the boxer or a purse bid held for the event.
(b) DISCLOSURES TO THE BOXER- A promoter shall not be entitled to
receive any compensation directly or indirectly in connection with a
boxing match until it provides to the boxer it promotes--
(1) the amounts of any compensation or consideration that a promoter has
contracted to receive from such match;
(2) all fees, charges, and expenses that will be assessed by or through
the promoter on the boxer pertaining to the event, including any portion
of the boxer's purse that the promoter will receive, and training
(3) any reduction in a boxer's purse contrary to a previous agreement
between the promoter and the boxer or a purse bid held for the event.
(c) INFORMATION TO BE AVAILABLE TO STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL- A promoter
shall make information required to be disclosed under this section
available to the chief law enforcement officer of the State in which the
match is to be held upon request of such officer.
SEC. 14. REQUIRED DISCLOSURES FOR JUDGES AND REFEREES.
A judge or referee shall not be entitled to receive any compensation,
directly or indirectly, in connection with a boxing match until it
provides to the boxing commission responsible for regulating the match
in a State a statement of all consideration, including reimbursement for
expenses, that will be received from any source for participation in the
SEC. 15. CONFIDENTIALITY.
(a) IN GENERAL- Neither a boxing commission or an Attorney General may
disclose to the public any matter furnished by a promoter under section
13 except to the extent required in a legal, administrative, or judicial
(b) EFFECT OF CONTRARY STATE LAW- If a State law governing a boxing
commission requires that information that would be furnished by a
promoter under section 13 shall be made public, then a promoter is not
required to file such information with such State if the promoter files
such information with the ABC.
SEC. 16. JUDGES AND REFEREES.
No person may arrange, promote, organize, produce, or fight in a
professional boxing match unless all referees and judges participating
in the match have been certified and approved by the boxing commission
responsible for regulating the match in the State where the match is
SEC. 5. CONFLICT OF INTEREST.
Section 17 of the Professional Boxing Safety Act of 1996 (15 U.S.C.
6308) (as re-designated by section 4 of this Act) is amended--
(1) in the first sentence by striking No member' and inserting (a)
REGULATORY PERSONNEL- No member'; and
(2) by adding at the end the following:
(b) FIREWALL BETWEEN PROMOTERS AND MANAGERS-
(1) IN GENERAL- It is unlawful for--
(A) a promoter to have a direct or indirect financial interest in the
management of a boxer; or
(B) a manager--
(i) to have a direct or indirect financial interest in the promotion of
a boxer; or
(ii) to be employed by or receive compensation or other benefits from a
promoter, except for amounts received as consideration under the
manager's contract with the boxer.
(2) EXCEPTIONS- Paragraph (1)--
(A) does not prohibit a boxer from acting as his own promoter or
(B) only applies to boxers participating in a boxing match of 10 rounds
(c) SANCTIONING ORGANIZATIONS-
(1) PROHIBITION ON RECEIPTS- Except as provided in paragraph (2), no
officer or employee of a sanctioning organization may receive any
compensation, gift, or benefit, directly or indirectly, from a promoter,
boxer, or manager.
(2) EXCEPTIONS- Paragraph (1) does not apply to--
(A) the receipt of payment by a promoter, boxer, or manager of a
sanctioning organization's published fee for sanctioning a professional
boxing match or reasonable expenses in connection therewith if the
payment is reported to the responsible boxing commission; or
(B) the receipt of a gift or benefit of de minimis value.'.
SEC. 6. ENFORCEMENT.
Subsection (b) of section 18 of the Professional Boxing Safety Act of
1996 (15 U.S.C. 6309) (as re-designated by section 4 of this Act) is
(1) in paragraph (1) by inserting a comma and other than section 9(b),
10, 11, 12, 13, 14, or 16,' after this Act';
(2) by re-designating paragraphs (2) and (3) as paragraphs (3) and (4),
(3) by inserting after paragraph (1) the following:
(2) VIOLATION OF ANTI EXPLOITATION, SANCTIONING ORGANIZATION, OR
DISCLOSURE PROVISIONS- Any person who knowingly violates any provision
of section 9(b), 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, or 16 of this Act shall, upon
conviction, be imprisoned for not more than 1 year or fined not more
(A) $100,000; and
(B) if a violation occurs in connection with a professional boxing match
the gross revenues for which exceed $2,000,000, an additional amount
which bears the same ratio to $100,000 as the amount of such revenues
compared to $2,000,000, or both.'; and
(4) in paragraph (3) (as re-designated by paragraph 2 of this
subsection) by striking section 9' and inserting section 17(a)'; and
(5) by adding at the end the following:
(c) ACTIONS BY STATES- Whenever the chief law enforcement officer of any
State has reason to believe that a person or organization is engaging in
practices which violate any requirement of this Act, the State, as
parens patriae, may bring a civil action on behalf of its residents in
an appropriate district court of the United States--
(1) to enjoin the holding of any professional boxing match which the
(2) to enforce compliance with this Act;
(3) to obtain the fines provided under subsection (b) or appropriate
(4) to obtain such other relief as the court may deem appropriate.
(d) PRIVATE RIGHT OF ACTION- Any boxer who suffers economic injury as a
result of a violation of any provision of this Act may bring an action
in the appropriate Federal or State court and recover the damages
suffered, court costs, and reasonable attorneys fees and expenses.
(e) ENFORCEMENT AGAINST FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION, STATE ATTORNEYS
GENERAL, ETC- Nothing in this Act authorizes the enforcement of--
(1) any provision of this Act against the Federal Trade Commission, the
United States Attorney General, or the chief legal officer of any State
for acting or failing to act in an official capacity;
(2) subsection (d) of this section against a State or political
subdivision of a State, or any agency or instrumentality thereof; or
(3) section 10 against a boxer acting in his capacity as a boxer.'.
SEC. 7. ADDITIONAL AMENDMENTS.
(a) DEFINITIONS- Section 2(a) of the Professional Boxing Safety Act of
1996 (15 U.S.C. 6301(a)) is amended--
(1) in paragraph (9) by inserting after match.' the following: The term
promoter' does not include a hotel, casino, resort, or other commercial
establishment hosting or sponsoring a professional boxing match unless--
(A) the hotel, casino, resort, or other commercial establishment is
primarily responsible for organizing, promoting, and producing the
(B) there is no other person primarily responsible for organizing,
promoting, and producing the match.';
(2) in paragraph (10) by striking the period at the end and inserting ,
including the Virgin Islands.'; and
(3) by adding at the end the following:
(11) EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE CONTRACT- The term effective date of the
contract' means the day upon which a boxer becomes legally bound by the
(12) BOXING SERVICE PROVIDER- The term boxing service provider' means a
promoter, manager, sanctioning body, licensee, or matchmaker.
(13) CONTRACT PROVISION- The term contract provision' means any legal
obligation between a boxer and a boxing service provider.
(14) SANCTIONING ORGANIZATION- The term sanctioning organization' means
an organization that sanctions professional boxing matches in the United
(A) between boxers who are residents of different States; or
(B) that are advertised, otherwise promoted, or broadcast (including
closed circuit television) in interstate commerce.
(15) SUSPENSION- The term suspension' includes within its meaning the
revocation of a boxing license.'.
(b) STATE BOXING COMMISSION PROCEDURES- Section 7(a)(2) of the
Professional Boxing Safety Act of 1996 (15 U.S.C. 6306(a)(2)) is
(1) in subparagraph (C) by striking or';
(2) in subparagraph (D) by striking documents.' at the end and inserting
documents; or'; and
(3) by adding at the end the following:
(E) un sportsmanlike conduct or other inappropriate behavior
inconsistent with generally accepted methods of competition in a
professional boxing match.'.
(c) RENEWAL PERIOD FOR IDENTIFICATION CARDS- Section 6(b)(2) of the
Professional Boxing Safety Act of 1996 (15 U.S.C. 6305(b)(2)) is amended
by striking 2 years.' and inserting 4 years.'.
(d) REVIEW OF SUSPENSIONS- Section 7(a)(3) of the Professional Boxing
Safety Act of 1996 (15 U.S.C. 6306(a)(3)) is amended by striking boxer'
and inserting boxer, licensee, manager, matchmaker, promoter, or other
boxing service provider'.
(e) ALTERNATIVE SUPERVISION- Section 4 of the Professional Boxing Safety
Act of 1996 (15 U.S.C. 6303) is amended--
(1) by striking No person' and inserting (a) No person'; and
(2) by inserting at the end thereof the following:
(b) For the purpose of this Act, if no State commission is available to
supervise a boxing match according to subsection (a), then--
(1) the match may not be held unless it is supervised by an association
of boxing commissions to which at least a majority of the States belong;
(2) any reporting or other requirement relating to a supervising
commission allowed under this section shall be deemed to refer to the
entity described in paragraph (1).'.
(f) HEALTH AND SAFETY DISCLOSURES- Section 6 of the Professional Boxing
Safety Act of 1996 (15 U.S.C. 6305) is amended by adding at the end the
following new subsection:
(c) HEALTH AND SAFETY DISCLOSURES- It is the sense of the Congress that
a boxing commission should, upon issuing an identification card to a
boxer under subsection (b)(1), make a health and safety disclosure to
that boxer as that commission considers appropriate. The health and
safety disclosure should include the health and safety risks associated
with boxing, and, in particular, the risk and frequency of brain injury
and the advisability that a boxer periodically undergo medical
procedures designed to detect brain injury.
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Vice President of the United States and President of the Senate.