Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 54.1. Professions and Occupations
Chapter 8.1. Boxing and Wrestling Events
7/26/2017

§ 54.1-829.1. Sanctioning organization; amateur martial arts events.

A. No event in which amateur participants compete in martial arts shall be authorized in the Commonwealth unless the amateur event is conducted by a sanctioning organization approved by the Director. Only the results of amateur events conducted by a sanctioning organization in good standing and in compliance with this section shall be recognized for purposes of reporting bout results to a national database or official registry. Every sanctioning organization, insofar as practicable, shall observe and apply the unified rules adopted by the Association of Boxing Commissions. Notwithstanding any other provision of law or regulation, for purposes of amateur martial arts events, weight classes and bout rules governing round length, judging, and scoring shall conform with the Association of Boxing Commissions unified rules.

B. No amateur martial artist shall compete in an event who has:

1. Not attained the age of 18 years;

2. Been knocked out in the 60 days immediately preceding the date of the event;

3. Been technically knocked out in the 30 days preceding the date of the event;

4. Been a contestant in an event consisting of (i) more than six rounds during the 15 days preceding the date of the event or (ii) six or fewer rounds during the seven days preceding the event;

5. Suffered a cerebral hemorrhage or other serious physical injury;

6. Been found to be blind or vision impaired in one or both eyes;

7. Been denied a license or approval to compete by another jurisdiction for medical reasons;

8. Failed to provide negative test results, dated within 180 days preceding the date of the event, for the following: (i) antibodies to the human immunodeficiency virus; (ii) hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg); and (iii) antibodies to the hepatitis C virus; or

9. Failed to provide written certification from a licensed physician, dated within 180 days preceding the date of the event, attesting to the contestant's good physical health and absence of any preexisting conditions or observed abnormalities that would prevent participation in the event. The examination performed by the ringside physician at the event pursuant to clause (ii) of subdivision C 3 shall not satisfy this requirement.

C. For each amateur martial arts event, the sanctioning organization shall:

1. Review the records, experience, and consecutive losses for each amateur martial artist prior to each event to determine, to the extent possible, that contestants scheduled to compete are substantially equal in skills and ability;

2. Verify that each amateur martial artist scheduled to compete is covered by health insurance;

3. Appoint a physician licensed to practice medicine in the Commonwealth for at least five years to remain at ringside on a continuous basis. Duties of the ringside physician shall include (i) conducting a physical examination of each referee immediately prior to the event to assure his fitness to act in such capacity, (ii) conducting a physical examination and taking a medical history of each amateur martial artist prior to the contestant's entering the ring and certifying the contestant's physical condition, (iii) signaling the referee immediately in the event that an injury is observed, (iv) rendering immediate medical aid to any amateur martial artist injured during an event, and (v) ensuring that all substances in the possession of seconds, trainers, or cut men are appropriate for use on amateur martial artists during the course of the event;

4. Assign a sufficient number of qualified officials, including locker room inspectors, judges, timekeepers, and referees, to protect the health and safety of amateur martial artists and the public. Duties of the referee shall include (i) providing prefight instructions to the contestants; (ii) ensuring that each amateur martial artist is wearing gloves supplied by the sanctioning organization or event promoter that are in new or good condition, weighing between four and six ounces; (iii) exercising supervision over the conduct of the bout and taking immediate corrective action when necessary; (iv) immediately stopping any bout when, in his judgment, one contestant is outclassed by the other, injured, or otherwise unable to continue safely; (v) striving to perform his duties in a manner that does not impede the fair participation of either contestant; (vi) consulting, when he deems appropriate, with the ringside physician on the advisability of stopping the bout if either contestant appears injured or unable to continue; (vii) counting for knockdowns and knockouts, determining fouls and stopping contests, and immediately stopping any bout if one or both contestants are not putting forth their best effort; and (viii) ensuring the health and well-being of the amateur martial artists to the greatest extent possible; and

5. Require a fully equipped emergency medical services vehicle with a currently trained ambulance crew at the site of every amateur event for its entire duration.

D. Any sanctioning organization seeking approval under this section shall make a written application on a form prescribed by the Director. The application shall be accompanied by a fee of $500. The Director shall annually approve sanctioning organizations whose applications satisfactorily demonstrate evidence of standards and operations in place that are at least as rigorous as and limited to those required by this section. Following an informal fact-finding proceeding conducted pursuant to § 2.2-4019, the Director may withdraw his approval of any sanctioning organization that has failed to comply with this section based on (i) the review of the annual report submitted by the sanctioning organization or (ii) review of a complaint received pursuant to subdivision A 8 of § 54.1-201 or § 54.1-307.1.

E. A sanctioning organization seeking approval from the Director shall provide documented evidence (i) of operation as a business for at least the immediately preceding three years; (ii) of at least five years of experience as a sanctioning organization representing at least two different promotions during such five-year period or that the principal officers have at least eight years of experience working as a referee or head official for an established sanctioning organization without adverse financial or disciplinary action in any jurisdiction; (iii) indicating that none of its officers, employees, or agents, directly or indirectly, has any pecuniary interest in, or holds any position with, any business associated with a promoter or otherwise operates for the sole benefit of a single promoter; and (iv) of assurance that events will be conducted in a fair and impartial manner with avoidance of any impropriety or appearance of impropriety.

F. Each approved sanctioning organization shall submit an annual report to the Director on or before February 1, with a summary of the events conducted for the preceding calendar year. The Director may address any operational or compliance issues with the sanctioning organization consistent with and in furtherance of the objectives of this section. The Director shall not intervene in the internal activities of a sanctioning organization except to the extent necessary to prevent or cure violations of this section or any statute governing the persons or activities regulated pursuant to this chapter.

G. The Commonwealth, the Director, the Department, and any employee or representative shall be indemnified and held harmless from any liability resulting from or caused by a sanctioning organization or persons conducting activities on behalf of such regulant.

2015, cc. 216, 264; 2016, c. 756.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.