The Association of Boxing Commissions (“ABC”), a national organization of state and tribal boxing and combat sport commissions, has condemned a “bare knuckle” boxing contest, held at the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Casino and Hotel in Fountain Hill, Arizona (outside of Scottsdale) on August 5, 2011, as being “abhorrent, barbaric, egregious, in contravention of a multitude of federal, state, and tribal boxing laws and regulations, and, perhaps, criminal.” The “bare-knuckle” boxing contest pitted Bobby Gunn (whom, it has been purported, helped spearhead the event), with a professional boxing record of 21-4-1 (18 wins by KO), against Richard Stewart with a professional boxing record of 14-9-2 who lost the last five boxing contests in which he participated. According to news accounts, “in the third round, Gunn launched a devastating assault on Stewart’s body, followed up by a crisp left hook to the jaw, bringing Stewart to the canvas. Upon getting up, Stewart was grazed with a right cross on the top of his head, dropping him again.” The bout was then stopped “in the best interest of Stewart’s health.”
Because this “bare-knuckle” boxing contest took place on the tribal land of the Yavapai Nation, it was outside the jurisdiction of, and was not regulated by, the Arizona State Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts Commission. It is not known if the Yavapai Nation has formed its own tribal boxing commission; or, if so, whether the event was regulated by the Yavapai Nation’s boxing commission. As noted by ABC President Tim Lueckenhoff, under Federal Law, “no person may arrange, promote, organize, produce, or fight in a professional boxing match” unless the match is supervised and regulated by an authorized boxing commission and subject to the most recent version of the recommended regulatory guidelines certified and published by the ABC, as well as any additional relevant professional boxing regulations; and, if a professional boxing contest is regulated by a tribal boxing commission, the tribe must have health and safety standards, licensing requirements, and other requirements relating to the conduct of professional boxing that are at least as restrictive as the standards of the state in which the tribal land is located.
Mr. Lueckenhoff stated that this “bare-knuckle” boxing contest violated “just about every rule in the book”.
The ABC will further investigate these matters with the possibility of a referral to the U.S. Attorney’s Office toward the ends of barring any such activity in the future, instituting a criminal prosecution, or both.