ST. PAUL – Minnesota has been without a state boxing commission since 2001, and one legislator is hoping to bring it back.
State Rep. Bud Nornes (R-Fergus Falls) has introduced legislation (HF3624) to re-establish the commission and to appropriate funds for its administrative needs. If approved, the commission would be functional Aug. 1, 2006.
“Minnesota has a rich boxing heritage with names such as Scott LeDoux, but we’ve lost some of that,” Nornes said. “Things have evolved beyond boxing into full-contact sports, which have proven to be harmful and showcase violence.”
The commission was abolished by former Gov. Jesse Ventura for budgetary reasons. The commission is responsible for coordinating and monitoring all professional and amateur boxing cards. One of its primary goals is to ensure the safety of its participants, as well as ensuring the ethics of the sport.
Commissions historically conduct medical examinations prior to each bout, and require medical staff at every match.
Nornes said proper regulation of the sport is needed in order to create safe and professional matches for boxers. Recently, the Association of Boxing Commissioners agreed not to allow out-of-state commissioners to hold events in Minnesota without board oversight.
With the growth of popularity of “Tough Man” competitions throughout the nation, more than a dozen participants have died at events. These events feature short rounds of “anything goes” bouts where the two fighters wear gloves and helmets. However, there are no requirements on who can fight, and medical staff is usually not available during the bout. Many promoters will conduct a pre-bout exam to check one’s blood pressure and alcohol level.
“Our goal is to make sure the next tough-man tragedy doesn’t occur in Minnesota,” Nornes said. “Many of these people often sign up in bars, and end up waiving any liability claims against the promoter.”