oversight

Professional Boxing: Issues Related to the Protection of Boxers' Health, Safety, and Economic Interests

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-07-21.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

             United States General Accounting Office

GAO          Report to the Chairman, Committee on
             Commerce, Science, and Transportation,
             U.S. Senate


July 2003
             PROFESSIONAL
             BOXING
             Issues Related to the
             Protection of Boxers’
             Health, Safety, and
             Economic Interests




GAO-03-699
             a
                                                July 2003


                                                PROFESSIONAL BOXING

                                                Issues Related to the Protection of
Highlights of GAO-03-699, a report to the       Boxers' Health, Safety, and Economic
Chairman, Committee on Commerce,
Science, and Transportation, U.S. Senate        Interests



The Professional Boxing Safety Act              Based on GAO’s review of congressional testimonies and national studies
of 1996 established minimum                     dating from 1994 through 2002, GAO identified 15 fundamental elements that
health and safety standards for                 are considered important to protect boxers’ health, safety, and economic
professional boxing and provided                well-being and to enhance the integrity of the sport.
for limited federal oversight by the
Department of Justice and the
Federal Trade Commission. In                    The act addresses 10 of the 15 fundamental elements that GAO identified.
2000, the Muhammad Ali Boxing                   The 8 (of 46) state and 2 (of 8) tribal boxing commissions that GAO selected
Reform Act amended the act to                   for review accounted for 49 percent of the fights in 2001 and varied in the
better protect boxers’ economic                 extent to which they had documentation indicating compliance with the 10
well-being and enhance the                      provisions of the act related to the fundamental elements. For example, all
integrity of the sport. However,                10 commissions had documentation indicating compliance at least 75
reports of problems continue,                   percent of the time for 3 provisions—requiring prefight medical exams,
including permanent and                         disclosure of purses and payments, and registration of boxers—but only 2
sometimes fatal injuries, economic              commissions had documentation indicating compliance at least 75 percent
exploitation, and corruption.                   of the time for a provision prohibiting conflicts of interest. Commissions
                                                either gave no reason for the lack of documentation, cited privacy or liability
GAO was asked to (1) identify
fundamental elements considered                 concerns, or said they were unaware of the federal provision.
important to protect professional
boxers and enhance the integrity of             The eight states and two tribes that GAO reviewed vary in the extent to
the sport; (2) assess the extent to             which they adopted additional provisions that cover elements not covered
which provisions of the                         by the act’s provisions. The number of such provisions ranges from 10
Professional Boxing Safety Act of               (California) to 4 (Missouri). For example, the states have provisions
1996, as amended (the act), cover               requiring the filing of postfight medical reports, uniform boxing and scoring
these elements and determine                    rules, and boxing commission officials’ knowledge of the sport.
whether selected state and tribal
boxing commissions have                         Federal actions taken under the act have been limited. The Department of
documentation indicating
                                                Justice said it has not exercised its authority to prosecute cases because
compliance with the act’s
provisions; (3) determine whether               none have been referred to it by federal law enforcement authorities.
selected states and tribes have                 Furthermore it noted that violations under the act are misdemeanors, and it
provisions that cover additional                generally applies its resources to prosecuting felonies. The Federal Trade
elements; and (4) identify federal              Commission periodically checks the Web sites of the organizations that
actions taken under the act.                    sanction professional boxing events to see whether they have posted the
                                                information that they are required to make available to the public and has
                                                found them to be adequate. Legislation was recently introduced to
                                                significantly amend the act by, among other things, creating a new
                                                organization within the Department of Labor that would provide oversight
                                                and enforcement of boxing laws. This new federal organization is intended
                                                to facilitate more uniform enforcement of federal requirements aimed at
                                                enhancing boxers’ health, safety, and general interests as well as the
                                                integrity of the sport.

                                                The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission provided only
www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-699.          technical comments on our report. The Association of Boxing Commissions
To view the full product, including the scope   and five state and tribal commissions had concerns about the lack of
and methodology, click on the link above.       existing federal enforcement and the economic impact of any additional
For more information, contact Bernard Ungar,    federal requirements.
(202) 512-4232, ungarb@gao.gov.
Contents



Letter                                                                                                 1
                             Results in Brief                                                          4
                             Fundamental Elements Considered Important to Address Health
                               and Safety and Economic Problems Facing Professional Boxing             7
                             The Act’s Provisions Fully or Partially Cover 10 Fundamental
                               Elements, and Selected Commissions Varied in the Extent to
                               Which They Had Documentation Indicating Compliance                     11
                             Selected States and Tribes Vary in the Extent to Which Their
                               Provisions Cover Additional Fundamental Elements                       14
                             Federal Action under the Act Has Been Limited                            16
                             Concluding Observations                                                  17
                             Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                       17


Appendixes
              Appendix I:    Professional Boxing Events Held in the United States during
                             Calendar Year 2001                                                       21
             Appendix II:    Fundamental Elements to Address Health and Safety,
                             Economic, and Integrity Problems in Professional Boxing                  23
                             Health and Safety                                                        23
                             Economic Protection                                                      26
                             Integrity of the Sport                                                   28
             Appendix III:   Selected Boxing Commissions’ Documentation of
                             Compliance with the Act’s Provisions                                     31
             Appendix IV:    State and Tribal Provisions That Cover Additional Health,
                             Safety, Economic, and Integrity Elements                                 41
                             Conduct Postfight Medical Examinations, Including Neurological
                                Testing                                                               41
                             Monitor Training Injuries                                                41
                             File Postfight Medical Reports                                           41
                             Require Health and Life Insurance Before and After Fights                42
                             Enforce Suspensions for Training Injuries                                42
                             Require Pension Plans                                                    42
                             Require Disclosure of All Purses and Payments to Trainers and
                                Boxers                                                                43
                             Prohibit Conflicts of Interest for Judges and Referees                   44
                             Require Registration and Training for Trainers, Managers,
                                Promoters, and Physicians                                             44
                             Preclude Sanctioning Organizations from Exercising Undue
                                Influence                                                             44



                             Page i                                        GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
                           Contents




                           Select Uniform Boxing and Scoring Rules                                   44
                           Require Boxing Knowledge for Commission Officials                         44
            Appendix V:    Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                                        46
           Appendix VI:    Comments from the Association of Boxing Commissions                       49
          Appendix VII:    Comments from the Missouri Office of Athletics                            51
          Appendix VIII:   Comments from the Miccosukee Athletic Commission                          53
           Appendix IX:    Comments from the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Commission
                           Athletic Unit                                                             59
            Appendix X:    Comments from the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission                        60
           Appendix XI:    Comments from the Texas Department of Licensing and
                           Regulations                                                               62
          Appendix XII:    Contacts and Contributors                                                 64
                           Contact                                                                   64
                           Contributors                                                              64


Tables                     Table 1: Fundamental Elements Considered Important to Address
                                    Major Problems Facing Professional Boxing                        10
                           Table 2: Extent to Which the Act’s Provisions Cover Fundamental
                                    Elements to Help Address Major Problems in Professional
                                    Boxing                                                           11


Figures                    Figure 1: Selected Boxing Commissions’ Documentation of
                                      Compliance with the Act’s Provisions Related to 10
                                      Fundamental Elements                                           14
                           Figure 2: Extent to Which State and Tribal Provisions Cover
                                      Additional Fundamental Elements                                15
                           Figure 3: Selected Commissions’ Documentation of Compliance
                                      with the Act’s Provisions for Boxing Events Held in
                                      2001                                                           31
                           Figure 4: Evaluate Medical Information and Assess Risks                   32
                           Figure 5: Require Minimum Uniform Contractual Terms                       34
                           Figure 6: Require Standards for Rating Boxers to Protect against
                                      Mismatches                                                     35
                           Figure 7: Conduct Prefight Medical Examinations                           35
                           Figure 8: Ensure Presence of Medical Personnel and Equipment              36
                           Figure 9: Require Health Insurance During Matches                         36
                           Figure 10: Honor Suspensions Imposed by Other Commissions                 37




                           Page ii                                        GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Contents




Figure 11: Require Disclosure of Purses and Payments to Promoters
           and Judges                                                                  38
Figure 12: Prohibit Conflicts of Interest for Boxers, Promoters, and
           Commission Representatives                                                  38
Figure 13: Require Registration for Boxers and Certification and
           Approval for Ring Officials                                                 39




Abbreviations

ABC          Association of Boxing Commissions
FTC          Federal Trade Commission
NAAG         National Association of Attorneys General
USBA         United States Boxing Administration

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Page iii                                                  GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
A
United States General Accounting Office
Washington, D.C. 20548



                                    July 21, 2003                                                                                  Leter




                                    The Honorable John McCain
                                    Chairman, Committee on Commerce,
                                      Science, and Transportation
                                    United States Senate

                                    Dear Mr. Chairman:

                                    Congress has recognized that boxing is the only major professional sport in
                                    the United States without a central regulatory authority that establishes
                                    and enforces uniform rules, business practices, and ethical standards.
                                    There is no other major professional sport in which the rules and
                                    regulations—and their enforcement—vary so widely. As a result, the sport
                                    has been plagued with reports of permanent and sometimes fatal injuries,
                                    the economic exploitation of boxers, and corruption. The Association of
                                    Boxing Commissions, a 15-year-old nonprofit organization representing 46
                                    state and 8 tribal boxing commissions located throughout the United
                                    States,1 promotes uniform health and safety provisions for professional
                                    boxing, but has no enforcement authority over its members, and its
                                    effectiveness in regulating boxing depends on mutual cooperation.

                                    In 1996, because the states and tribes, which are primarily responsible for
                                    establishing provisions to regulate professional boxing, were not uniformly
                                    protecting the health and safety of professional boxers, Congress enacted
                                    the Professional Boxing Safety Act of 1996. This act established minimum
                                    health and safety standards and licensing provisions, along with
                                    enforcement responsibilities and penalties for violations. In 2000, Congress
                                    amended the 1996 act by passing the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act,
                                    which established provisions to protect boxers from economic exploitation
                                    and to enhance the integrity of the sport.




                                    1
                                     These commissions are state or tribal organizations that are responsible for regulating
                                    professional boxing within their jurisdictions, including implementing and enforcing federal
                                    and state or tribal provisions related to boxing.




                                    Page 1                                                     GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
The 1996 act, as amended (the act), authorizes the Department of Justice to
investigate and prosecute violations of the law and it provides for state and
civil remedies as well as federal criminal prosecution. Within the
Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is responsible
for investigating violations of the law. Generally, the U.S. Attorneys are
responsible for prosecuting violations of laws. The act further provides that
organizations sanctioning boxing matches2 annually provide certain
information to the Federal Trade Commission or otherwise make such
information available to the public through the Internet. The Federal Trade
Commission is required to make the information provided to it available to
the public.

This report responds to your request that we review current efforts to
protect the health, safety, and economic well-being of professional boxers
and to enhance the integrity of the sport. As agreed with your office, we
addressed the following questions:

• What fundamental elements are considered important to address major
  health and safety, economic, and integrity problems facing professional
  boxing?

• To what extent do the act’s provisions cover these elements, and to what
  extent do selected state and tribal boxing commissions have
  documentation indicating compliance with the act’s provisions?

• To what extent have the selected states and tribes adopted provisions
  that cover fundamental elements that are not covered in the act?

• What actions have the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade
  Commission taken under the act?

To identify the fundamental elements that are considered important to
address major health and safety, economic, and integrity problems facing
professional boxing, we reviewed congressional testimony and studies on
professional boxing conducted by a task force of the National Association
of Attorneys General, the Department of Health and Human Services, and


2
 Sanctioning organizations are private entities that designate the champion and rank
challengers for each weight class. These organizations are required to identify their rating
officials and to annually disclose their criteria and policies for rating boxers, as well as their
sanctioning fees, by-laws, and procedures for appealing ratings.




Page 2                                                         GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
the Department of Labor. From these sources, which documented
problems in the boxing industry and recommended actions to address
them, we identified major problems facing the sport and consolidated the
recommendations into 15 fundamental elements that are considered
important in helping to provide an adequate level of health, safety, and
economic protection to boxers and enhance the integrity of the sport. We
discussed these elements with the Association of Boxing Commissions,
which agreed that the elements could help provide the desired protection
and enhancement.

To assess the extent to which the act covers the elements we identified, we
analyzed the act’s provisions and determined how many address the
fundamental elements, either fully or partially. To assess the extent to
which selected state and tribal boxing commissions have documented their
compliance with the act’s provisions, we selected 83 of the 46 state boxing
commissions and 24 of the 8 tribal boxing commissions for review. These 10
commissions accounted for 383, or 49 percent, of the 777 professional
boxing events held in the United States in 2001. (See app. I for a listing of
the professional boxing events held by state and tribal commissions in
2001.) At 2 state (Indiana and Michigan) and the 2 tribal (Miccosukee and
Mohegan Sun) commissions, we reviewed the case files for all professional
boxing events held in 2001, the most recent year for which we could obtain
complete information, and at the remaining commissions, we randomly
selected a sample of case files for review. From our reviews of these case
files, we determined the extent to which each of the 8 state and 2 tribal
boxing commissions had documentation indicating compliance in 2001
with provisions in the act that related to the fundamental elements. We did
not independently verify that the provisions were met. Our findings for
these 10 commissions cannot be generalized to all 46 state and 8 tribal
boxing commissions.

To assess the extent to which selected states and tribes have provisions
that cover fundamental elements in addition to those covered in the act, we
reviewed the boxing provisions of the eight states and two tribes and
identified fundamental elements that do not appear in the act. We
confirmed with the boxing commissions of these states and tribes that they
agreed with our analysis of their provisions. We did not assess the extent to


3
California, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
4
The Mohegan Sun (Connecticut) and Miccosukee (Florida) tribes.




Page 3                                                    GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
                   which the states and tribes had implemented or enforced the provisions
                   that cover the additional fundamental elements.

                   To determine what actions the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade
                   Commission have taken under the act, we asked Justice officials whether
                   they had initiated any civil enforcement proceedings or criminal
                   prosecutions of potential violators of the act in the eight states and two
                   tribal jurisdictions covered by our review. We also reviewed the
                   department’s central case management system for possible cases
                   prosecuted during fiscal years 1996 through 2002. To determine whether
                   the sanctioning organizations were making the information they are
                   required to provide available to the public, we reviewed the Internet Web
                   sites of 14 sanctioning organizations to see whether the required
                   information was posted.

                   We conducted our review from September 2002 through July 2003 in
                   accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.
                   Appendix V provides further details about our objectives, scope, and
                   methodology.



Results in Brief   From our review of congressional testimonies and national studies dating
                   from 1994 through 2002, we identified 15 fundamental elements that are
                   considered important to protect boxers’ health, safety, and economic well-
                   being and enhance the integrity of the sport. Six of these elements address
                   health and safety issues, four establish economic protections for boxers,
                   and five would help prevent corruption.

                   The act’s provisions cover 10 of the fundamental elements that we
                   identified—1 fully and 9 partially. For example, one provision fully covers
                   the element requiring evaluations of medical information on boxers and
                   assessments of the risks involved in allowing them to fight before each
                   match, but only partially covers the element requiring prefight and
                   postfight medical examinations, including neurological testing. (The
                   provision requires prefight examinations, but not postfight examinations or
                   neurological testing.) The 8 state and 2 tribal boxing commissions that we
                   reviewed varied in the extent to which they had documentation indicating
                   compliance with the act’s 10 provisions. All 10 commissions had
                   documentation indicating compliance at least 75 percent of the time for 3
                   provisions—those requiring prefight medical exams, disclosure of purses
                   and payments, and registration of boxers—but only 2 commissions had
                   documentation at least 75 percent of the time for the provision prohibiting



                   Page 4                                           GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
conflicts of interest. The commissions’ documentation for the remaining 6
provisions varied within this range. When asked why they did not
document their compliance with particular provisions, the commissions
often did not provide a reason, but when they did, they generally identified
conflicts between state and federal law, said they were unaware of the
federal provision, or said they thought documentation was not needed.

The eight states and two tribes that we reviewed vary in the extent to which
they have adopted provisions that cover health and safety, economic, and
integrity elements in addition to those covered by the act’s provisions. Each
of these states and tribes has some provisions that cover additional
elements. The number of additional elements enacted by an individual state
or tribe ranges from 10 (California) to 4 (Missouri). All 10 states and tribes
have enacted the element requiring uniform boxing and scoring rules, but
California was the only state that enacted 3 additional elements—for
monitoring injuries sustained during training, suspending boxers for
debilitating training injuries, and providing pension plans for boxers. The
primary reason provided by the states and tribes for not enacting elements
in addition to those covered by the act was that the elements would be too
costly to implement.

Federal action under the act has been limited. According to the Department
of Justice, it has not exercised its authority to prosecute cases because no
cases have been referred to it by federal law enforcement authorities. The
department said there were no records of cases brought by the U.S.
Attorneys’ offices under the federal boxing legislation during fiscal years
1996 through 2002 and that no referrals from law enforcement agencies
were made. Justice officials also said violations of the boxing statutes are
misdemeanors and the department generally applies its resources to
prosecuting felonies. The Association of Boxing Commissions, in
commenting on a draft of this report, said it had made two referrals to U.S.
Attorneys’ offices, which were not prosecuted. The association said one
referral was dismissed because the issue was subsequently resolved and
the association had not received a response to the other referral. The
Federal Trade Commission’s responsibility under the act is limited to
making the information it receives from sanctioning organizations available
to the public. The commission said it periodically checks the various
sanctioning organizations’ Web sites to assess whether the required
information has been made available to the public. Our review of the Web
sites of 14 sanctioning organizations found that this information was
posted on the Internet. Legislation was recently introduced to significantly
amend the act by, among other things, creating a new organization within



Page 5                                            GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
the Department of Labor that would provide oversight and enforcement of
the federal boxing laws. This new federal organization is intended to
facilitate more uniform enforcement of federal requirements aimed at
enhancing boxers’ health, safety, and economic interests as well as the
integrity of the sport.

The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission had only
technical comments on our draft report. In commenting on our report, the
president of the Association of Boxing Commissions said much needs to be
done to achieve uniformity in the regulation of boxing. Some of the states
and tribes who commented on our report would welcome federal
involvement while others said they are concerned about the costs of
implementing any new measures. Some also noted that no federal agency is
enforcing the existing federal laws protecting professional boxers.




Page 6                                          GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Fundamental Elements    According to our review of congressional testimonies5 and national studies
                        on professional boxing dating from 1994 through 2002,6 15 fundamental
Considered Important    elements are considered important in helping address the sport’s major
to Address Health and   problems. Six elements could help to protect the health and safety of
                        professional boxers, four could help to protect their economic interests,
Safety and Economic     and five could help to correct problems affecting the integrity of the sport.
Problems Facing
Professional Boxing     The six elements that could help to protect the health and safety of boxers
                        would provide

                        • medical examinations, including neurological testing;

                        • monitoring of training injuries;

                        • assessments of medical risks;

                        • health and life insurance;

                        • the presence of appropriate medical personnel and equipment; and

                        • enforcement of suspensions for injuries.




                        5
                         Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Subcommittee on
                        Consumer Affairs, Foreign Commerce, and Tourism: Hearing on the Federal Regulation of
                        Boxing (Washington, D.C.: May 22, 2002); Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and
                        Transportation, Testimony on Boxing and Federal Laws (Washington, D.C.: May 23, 2001);
                        Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation: Hearing on Reform of
                        Professional Boxing Industry (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 22, 1999); Senate Committee on
                        Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Hearing on Professional Boxing (Washington,
                        D.C.: May 22, 1997); House Economic and Educational Opportunities Committee Workforce
                        Protections Subcommittee and the House Committee on Commerce Subcommittee on
                        Commerce Trade and Hazardous Materials, The Professional Boxing Corporation Act of
                        1995 (Washington, D.C.: June 11, 1996); Senate Committee on Commerce, Hearing on
                        Health and Safety of Professional Boxing (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 20, 1994).
                        6
                         National Association of Attorneys General Boxing Task Force, Office of New York State
                        Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, May 2000; Department of Health and Human Services,
                        Professional Boxing Safety Act of 1996: National Institute for Occupational Safety and
                        Health Report to Congress, Study on Health, Safety, and Equipment Standards for Boxing
                        (Washington, D.C.: June 1, 1998); and Department of Labor, Pension Plans for Professional
                        Boxers: A Study Prepared by the Segal Company for the Secretary of Labor as Mandated
                        by Congress (Washington, D.C.: December 1997).




                        Page 7                                                    GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
According to the testimonies and studies, these elements are important
because, although the overall rate of injury is lower in professional boxing
than in many other sports, the risk of severe or permanent brain injury is
greater. Neurological testing may be needed to detect such injury.
Furthermore, because injuries may occur during training and sparring as
well as during boxing events, monitoring during training was
recommended, and health and life insurance may be needed before and
after as well as during events. In some instances, the treatment a fighter
receives in the initial minutes after an injury determines whether the fighter
recovers or sustains permanent damage or death. Having an ambulance
and qualified medical personnel on-site, rather than on call, can be critical.
Enforcement of suspensions imposed by boxing commissions in other
states is important to prevent injured boxers from trying to fight outside
the states in which they are registered before their injuries have healed.

The four elements that could help to protect boxers’ economic interests
would

• require pension plans for boxers,

• require full disclosure of purses and payments,

• require minimum uniform contractual terms between boxers and
  promoters, and

• prohibit conflicts of interest.

Without a union to represent their economic interests, boxers have often
been exploited, and although the sport has generated enormous wealth for
others, many professional boxers have been left penniless. Comprehensive
pension plans for boxers are almost nonexistent, and boxers have
sometimes been left to pay trainers out of their share of the fight purse
when the financial responsibilities of promoters and managers were not
disclosed in advance. Conflicts of interest between promoters and
managers and long-term contracts with promoters have also disadvantaged
boxers.

The 5 elements that could help to correct problems affecting the integrity
of the sport would

• require registration and training for judges, referees, and others;




Page 8                                            GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
• prevent sanctioning organizations from exercising undue influence in
  the selection of judges;

• establish uniform boxing and scoring rules;

• require reviews of sanctioning organizations’ rankings of boxers; and

• require knowledge of the sport for commission officials.

Reports of unqualified officials, last-minute changes in the procedures for
selecting judges, nonstandard boxing and scoring rules, fraudulent
rankings that have resulted in injury and even death for weaker boxers, and
political appointments to boxing commissions have undermined the
integrity of the sport.

Table 1 sets forth the 15 elements we identified. For more detailed
information on the problems discussed in the testimonies and studies and
the recommendations made to address these problems, see appendix II.




Page 9                                          GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Table 1: Fundamental Elements Considered Important to Address Major Problems Facing Professional Boxing

Health and safety                                 Economic protection                                 Integrity of the sport
1. Conduct prefight and postfight medical     7. Require pension plans for boxers.                    11. Require registration and training for
examinations, including neurological testing.                                                         boxers, trainers, managers, promoters,
                                                                                                      physicians, and other ring officials.

2. Monitor injuries sustained during gym          8. Require full and open disclosure of all    12. Ensure that sanctioning organizations
training (e.g., sparring) before events.          purses and costs of bouts, breaking out       do not influence the selection of judges.
                                                  amounts paid to promoters, sanctioning
                                                  bodies, judges, trainers, boxers, and others.
3. Evaluate medical information on boxers         9. Prohibit conflicts of interest for boxers,       13. Require uniform boxing and scoring
and assess the risks involved before              promoters, managers, judges, referees,              rules for events, such as the championship
allowing a boxer to fight.                        state boxing commission representatives,            rules of the Association of Boxing
                                                  and sanctioning organization                        Commissions (ABC).
                                                  representatives.
4. Ensure the presence of appropriate             10. Require minimum uniform contractual             14. Require standards for rating boxers,
medical personnel and equipment during            terms between boxers and promoters.                 considering their records of wins and losses,
and after each match and require the filing                                                           weight differentials, caliber of opponents,
of postfight medical reports.                                                                         and number of past fights.
5. Require health and life insurance for                                                              15. Require officials serving on boxing
boxers before, during, and after each match.                                                          commissions to have knowledge of
                                                                                                      professional boxing.
6. Honor other states’ suspensions of
boxers; monitor training injuries in real time,
and suspend boxers who sustain debilitating
training injuries.
Source: GAO.

                                                   Note: Our identification of the fundamental elements is based on the congressional testimonies and
                                                   national studies that we reviewed. Some of these elements have multiple effects and may be related to
                                                   more than one category (e.g., health and safety, economic protection, or integrity of the sport). For
                                                   example, the element prohibiting conflicts of interest not only affects the economic interests of boxers
                                                   but may also be related to the integrity of the sport.




                                                   Page 10                                                            GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
The Act’s Provisions                           The act’s provisions fully or partially cover 10 of the elements that we
                                               identified as important to address the health and safety, economic, and
Fully or Partially Cover                       integrity problems facing professional boxing. Our analysis shows that one
10 Fundamental                                 of the act’s provisions fully covers the element that requires evaluations of
                                               medical information on boxers and assessments of the risks involved in
Elements, and Selected                         allowing them to fight before each match. The act’s provisions partially
Commissions Varied in                          cover 9 elements. For example, one provision partially covers the element
the Extent to Which                            requiring medical examinations, including neurological testing, before and
                                               after a fight. (The provision requires prefight, but not postfight,
They Had                                       examinations and no neurological testing.) Another provision partially
Documentation                                  covers the element requiring the presence of medical personnel and
Indicating Compliance                          equipment at fights and the filing of postfight medical reports. (It requires
                                               the presence of medical personnel and equipment, but not the filing of
                                               postfight medical reports.) Table 2 sets forth our analysis of the extent to
                                               which the act’s provisions cover the fundamental elements we identified.



Table 2: Extent to Which the Act’s Provisions Cover Fundamental Elements to Help Address Major Problems in Professional
Boxing

                                                                                             Extent to which the act covers the
Act’s provision                               Fundamental element                            element
Health and safety
Require prefight medical examinations.        Conduct prefight and postfight medical        Partially—the act’s provision does not
                                              examinations, including neurological testing. require a postfight medical examination or
                                                                                            any neurological testing.
Evaluate medical information on boxers and Evaluate medical information on boxers and Fully
assess the risks involved before allowing a assess the risks involved before allowing a
boxer to fight.                             boxer to fight.
Ensure the presence of appropriate medical Ensure the presence of appropriate medical Partially—the act’s provision does not
personnel and equipment during and after   personnel and equipment during and after       require the filing of postfight medical reports.
each match.                                each match and require the filing of postfight
                                           reports.
Require health insurance for boxers during    Require health and life insurance for boxers   Partially—the act’s provision does not
each match.                                   before, during, and after each match.          require health insurance for boxers before
                                                                                             and after each match, and it does not
                                                                                             require life insurance.
Honor other states’ suspensions of boxers.    Honor other states’ suspensions of boxers,     Partially—the act’s provision does not
                                              monitor training injuries in real time, and    require states to monitor training injuries in
                                              suspend boxers who sustain debilitating        real time or suspend boxers who sustain
                                              training injuries.                             debilitating training injuries.




                                               Page 11                                                      GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
(Continued From Previous Page)
                                                                                                 Extent to which the act covers the
Act’s provision                                  Fundamental element                             element
Economic protection
Require full and open disclosure of all          Require full and open disclosure of all      Partially—the act’s provision does not
purses and costs of bouts, breaking out          purses and costs of bouts, breaking out      require such disclosure for boxers and
amounts paid to promoters and judges.            amounts paid to promoters, judges, trainers, trainers.
                                                 boxers, and others.
Prohibit conflicts of interest for promoters     Prohibit conflicts of interest for boxers,      Partially—the act’s provision does not
and commission representatives.                  promoters, managers, judges, referees,          prohibit conflicts of interest for judges and
                                                 state boxing commission representatives,        referees.
                                                 and sanctioning organization
                                                 representatives.
Recommend minimum uniform contractual            Require minimum uniform contractual terms Partially—the act’s provision establishes
terms between boxers and promoters.              between boxers and promoters.             guidelines for, but does not require such
                                                                                           terms.
Integrity of the sport
Require registration for boxers and              Require registration and training for boxers,   Partially—the act’s provision does not
certification and approval for ring officials.   trainers, managers, promoters, physicians,      require registration for trainers, managers,
                                                 and other ring officials.                       promoters or physicians, and it does not
                                                                                                 require training for any parties.
Recommend standards for rating boxers,           Require standards for rating boxers,          Partially—the act’s provision establishes
considering their records of wins and losses,    considering their records of wins and losses, guidelines for, but does not require, such
weight differentials, caliber of opponents,      weight differentials, caliber of opponents,   standards.
and number of past fights.                       and number of past fights.
Source: GAO.


                                                  On March 13, 2003, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and
                                                  Transportation approved S. 275, a bill that would further amend the act. If
                                                  enacted, the proposed legislation would expand the act’s coverage of four
                                                  fundamental elements—those dealing with the evaluation of medical
                                                  information, minimum contractual terms, the selection of judges, and
                                                  reviews of rankings. In addition, the proposed legislation would establish
                                                  the United States Boxing Administration (USBA) within the Department of
                                                  Labor and empower it to consider other fundamental elements in
                                                  addressing professional boxers’ health, safety, and other concerns. USBA
                                                  would be responsible for providing oversight, administering the federal
                                                  boxing laws, and issuing minimum standards to protect the health, safety,
                                                  and general interests of professional boxers. Its responsibilities would also
                                                  include licensing boxers, promoters, managers, and sanctioning
                                                  organizations and maintaining a registry of medical records and medical
                                                  suspension information on all boxers. USBA would also be authorized to
                                                  conduct investigations and to suspend or revoke licenses for misconduct
                                                  after providing notice and hearing.




                                                  Page 12                                                       GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Selected Boxing     The 8 state and 2 tribal boxing commissions that we reviewed varied in the
Commissions’        extent to which they had documentation indicating compliance with the 10
                    provisions of the act related to the fundamental elements we identified.
Documentation of    The act does not require the commissions to document their compliance.
Compliance Varied   However, because documentation constituted the only verifiable evidence
                    of compliance, we reviewed all available documentation in the
                    commissions’ event files, including pre- and post-fight medical examination
                    check sheets, insurance coverage forms, copies of contracts between
                    boxers and promoters, event sheets identifying boxers’ registration
                    numbers, promoters’ revenue reports to commissions, and statements of
                    independence signed by ring officials.

                    All 10 commissions had documentation indicating compliance at least 75
                    percent of the time for three provisions—those that require prefight
                    medical examinations, disclosure of amounts paid to promoters, and
                    registration of boxers—but only 2 commissions had documentation at least
                    75 percent of the time for the provision prohibiting conflicts of interest.
                    (See fig. 1.) Five of the commissions said they usually complied with this
                    provision but did not document their compliance. The 10 commissions’
                    documentation for the remaining six provisions varied within this range.
                    (See table 4 in app. 3 for the results of our analysis of the commissions’
                    documentation.) When asked why they did not always document their
                    compliance with the provisions, the commissions often did not provide a
                    reason, but when they did, they generally pointed to privacy or liability
                    concerns, said they were unaware of the federal provisions, or said they
                    thought documentation was not needed. For details on the reasons the
                    commissions provided for not documenting compliance, see appendix III.




                    Page 13                                         GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
                        Figure 1: Selected Boxing Commissions’ Documentation of Compliance with the
                        Act’s Provisions Related to 10 Fundamental Elements




                        Note: The figure represents the number of commissions that had documentation indicating compliance
                        at least 75 percent to 100 percent of the time for the respective provisions.




Selected States and     The eight states and two tribes that we reviewed vary in the extent to which
                        their provisions cover health and safety and economic elements in addition
Tribes Vary in the      to those covered in the act. Each of these states and tribes has some
Extent to Which Their   provisions that cover additional fundamental elements or portions of
                        fundamental elements. The number of such provisions enacted by an
Provisions Cover        individual Commission ranges from 10 (California) to 4 (Missouri). All 10
Additional              states and tribes have provisions fully covering the additional element that
Fundamental Elements    requires uniform boxing and scoring rules, and eight states or tribes have
                        provisions fully covering the additional element that requires the filing of
                        postfight medical reports. California was the only state with provisions
                        fully covering 3 other additional elements—for monitoring injuries
                        sustained during training, enforcing suspensions for debilitating training
                        injuries, and providing pension plans for boxers. Four states or tribes have
                        provisions that go beyond the act in requiring postfight medical
                        examinations, but none of these states or tribes requires neurological



                        Page 14                                                        GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
                                         testing. Similarly, three states or tribes have provisions that go beyond the
                                         act in requiring that boxers be provided with health insurance before and
                                         after, as well as during, each match, but none of these states or tribes
                                         requires life insurance. Figure 2 summarizes the results of our analysis. The
                                         primary reason provided by the states and tribes for not having provisions
                                         covering additional elements was that the provisions would be too costly to
                                         implement. For more details, see appendix IV.



Figure 2: Extent to Which State and Tribal Provisions Cover Additional Fundamental Elements




                                         Page 15                                              GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Federal Action under   Actions taken by the Department of Justice under the act have been
                       limited. Justice officials said the department does not prosecute cases
the Act Has Been       unless they are referred to it by federal law enforcement agencies. There
Limited                were no records of cases brought by U.S. Attorneys under the federal
                       boxing legislation during fiscal years 1996 through 2002, and there were no
                       referrals from law enforcement agencies. Because the act provides for
                       state and civil remedies in addition to federal criminal prosecution, Justice
                       officials said that cases could be referred to state authorities rather than to
                       U.S. Attorneys. Furthermore, the officials said, violations of the act are
                       misdemeanors, and U.S. Attorneys generally pursue only felony cases,
                       although they would prosecute a misdemeanor if circumstances
                       warranted.7

                       In commenting on a draft of this report, the president of ABC said that ABC
                       had made two referrals to U.S. Attorneys’ offices. The first, made in
                       October 2002, concerned the World Boxing Association’s ratings of a boxer.
                       According to the ABC president, the referral was dismissed because the
                       World Boxing Association provided the U.S. Attorney with a copy of its
                       rating criteria and the boxers were well known. The ABC president said
                       that the other referral, made to the Arkansas U.S. Attorney in 2001,
                       reported that professional boxing was occurring in bars without the
                       supervision of the Arkansas boxing commission. The ABC president said
                       that ABC had not received a response to the referral and the case had not
                       been prosecuted.

                       The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) responsibility under the act is
                       limited to making available to the public the information it receives from
                       sanctioning organizations. FTC has no responsibility for enforcing
                       compliance or verifying the accuracy of the information.8 FTC officials said
                       they periodically check the sanctioning organizations’ Web sites to assess
                       whether the required information has been made available to the public
                       and has found the Web sites to be adequate. Our review of the Web sites of


                       7
                        Our report focuses on enforcement of the Professional Boxing Safety Act only. Criminal
                       violations under the act are punishable only as misdemeanors. When violations of the act
                       are also violations of other criminal statutes, prosecution of the felony may overshadow
                       punishment of the misdemeanor.
                       8
                        Sanctioning organizations are required to identify their rating officials and to annually
                       disclose their criteria and policies for rating boxers, as well as their sanctioning fees, by-
                       laws, and procedures for appealing ratings. They can send this information to FTC or post it
                       on the Internet.




                       Page 16                                                      GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
                      14 sanctioning organizations found that this information was posted on the
                      Internet. FTC officials also said they had not received any consumer
                      complaints related to the boxing industry.

                      In February 2003, legislation was introduced in the Senate that would
                      amend the act by, among other things, creating a new organization within
                      the Department of Labor to provide oversight and enforcement of the
                      federal boxing laws. The purpose of this new federal organization is to
                      facilitate more uniform enforcement of federal requirements designed to
                      enhance boxers’ health, safety, and economic interests as well as the
                      integrity of the sport. This organization would have the authority to issue
                      regulations, including requirements for documentation; to monitor and
                      oversee the commissions’ compliance with the existing federal protections
                      for professional boxers; and to establish additional protections, if
                      necessary.



Concluding            Although our review was limited to eight state and two tribal boxing
                      commissions, the uneven documentation of compliance we found with the
Observations          act’s provisions to protect the health, safety, and economic well-being of
                      professional boxers does not provide adequate assurance that professional
                      boxers are receiving the minimum protections established in federal law.
                      Without complete and accurate information on the extent to which the act
                      is being enforced and without a federal agency to proactively ensure
                      nationwide compliance, there is little assurance of compliance. While the
                      Justice Department has the authority to prosecute violations of the act, it
                      focuses its limited resources on prosecuting felonies, is not responsible for
                      monitoring compliance, and would prosecute a case only if it received a
                      referral from a federal law enforcement agency. Since 1996, it has received
                      no referrals from federal law enforcement agencies and pursued no cases
                      of violation of the act. If enacted, the legislation would create a new
                      organization within the Department of Labor that could address this gap in
                      the oversight and enforcement of the federal boxing laws.



Agency Comments and   We requested comments on a draft of this report from the Department of
                      Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Association of Boxing
Our Evaluation        Commissions (ABC). The Department of Justice’s GAO liaison and the
                      Federal Trade Commission’s GAO liaison and Office of General Counsel
                      provided only oral technical comments, which we incorporated as
                      appropriate. The president of ABC provided written comments, which are



                      Page 17                                           GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
reproduced in appendix VI. We also provided the boxing commissions of
the eight states and two tribes that we reviewed with the opportunity to
review and comment on the facts in the report that related to their
operations. We received written comments from the Missouri, Miccosukee,
Mohegan Sun, Pennsylvania and Texas boxing commissions; these
comments appear in appendixes VII through XI. As of July 16, 2003, we had
received no comments from the California, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, and
Nevada boxing commissions.

In his written comments, provided on June 30, 2003, the president of ABC
said that while ABC has had some successes, much work needs to be done
to achieve uniformity in the regulation of boxing. He said that feedback
from ABC’s membership on federal involvement in regulating professional
boxing is mixed: many members regard such involvement as intervention,
while others welcome it. He also said that some members believe that
making certain types of testing (e.g., neurological testing) mandatory
would have a negative impact on their jurisdictions because of the cost.
According to the president, ABC is frustrated with the lack of enforcement
of the Professional Boxing Safety Act of 1996. He said that violations of the
act occur frequently, yet no government agency has been willing to enforce
the current laws. The president said that he hopes the members can use the
act’s 10 provisions as a starting point for standardizing the regulation of
boxing.

The Administrator of the Missouri Office of Athletics, who is also the
president of ABC, provided written comments on the portion of a draft of
this report applicable to Missouri on June 30, 2003 (see app. VII). While
noting that the Missouri Office of Athletics encourages the standardized
regulation of boxing, he said he also recognizes that any actions taken will
have an economic impact on the sport that will have to be considered. In
addition, he questioned who would enforce any new federal boxing
provisions and stated the current law is not being enforced. He said that
both state and tribal boxing commissions, through ABC, should work to
standardize the regulation of boxing in the areas discussed in our report.
He also made some technical comments, which we incorporated in the
body of the report.

The Miccosukee, Mohegan Sun, Pennsylvania and Texas boxing
commissions also provided written comments, which appear in appendixes
VIII, IX, X, and XI, respectively. In their comments, they expressed
appreciation of our work, indicating, for example, that our report helps to
clarify issues related to the protection of boxers’ health, safety, and



Page 18                                           GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
economic interests. In addition, the Miccosukee and Pennsylvania boxing
commissions cited tribal or state regulations that cover portions of some of
15 the elements we identified in the report as fundamental to protecting
boxers’ health, safety, and economic interest and to enhancing the integrity
of the sport. In some instances, the Miccosukee and Pennsylvania boxing
commissions noted that it would be difficult for them to implement certain
elements because of personnel and budgetary constraints or because of
their limited jurisdiction. For example, the Miccosukee commission said
that it could not monitor training injuries because it would not be feasible
for the Miccouskee commission or any other boxing commission to send
representatives to gyms throughout the United States and other countries
to monitor real time training injuries. The Miccosukee commission also
indicated that in the future it could complete and file checklists in event
files to document its compliance with certain provisions, such as the one
requiring the presence of appropriate medical personnel and equipment
during and after events. The commission said that the lack of
documentation in its files does not adequately reflect its compliance with
this provision. The Pennsylvania commission noted the diversity among
various boxing commissions in implementing the federal law. Finally, the
Texas commission said it lacked authority to implement several of the 15
fundamental elements identified in the report.

We recognize that boxing commissions vary in their approach to regulating
boxing because of differences in their laws or regulations, local situations,
and available budgetary and personnel resources. Furthermore, we
recognize in our report that a lack of documentation does not necessarily
mean that a requirement was not met. However, we had no other practical
means to assess the extent to which the federal requirements were being
addressed. Additionally, we agree with the Miccosukee commission that
appropriately completed checklists would help to document compliance.
Finally, we believe that our findings, along with the comments we received
on our draft report, should provide Congress with useful information as it
considers S. 275.


As agreed with your office, unless you publicly announce its contents
earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until 5 days after the
date of this letter. At that time, we will provide copies of the report to the
Ranking Minority Member, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and
Transportation, and the Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, House
Energy and Commerce. Copies of the report will also be sent to the
Attorney General, the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, the



Page 19                                            GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Secretary of Labor, the Association of Boxing Commissions, the California
State Athletic Commission, the Florida State Athletic Commission, the
Indiana Boxing Commission, the Michigan Bureau of Commercial Services,
the Missouri Office of Athletics, the Nevada Athletic Commission, the
Pennsylvania Athletic Commission, the Texas Boxing and Wrestling
Program, the Miccosukee Athletic Commission, and the Mohegan Tribal
Gaming Commission Athletic Unit, and to others on request. In addition,
the report will be available at no charge on the GAO Web site at
http://www.gao.gov.

Key contributors to this report are listed in appendix XI. If you or your staff
have any questions, please contact me on (202) 512-2834 or
ungarb@gao.gov.

Sincerely yours,




Bernard L. Ungar, Director
Physical Infrastructure Issues




Page 20                                            GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix I

Professional Boxing Events Held in the United                                               Appendx
                                                                                                  ies




States during Calendar Year 2001                                                             Append
                                                                                                  x
                                                                                                  Ii




               State or Indian tribal
               commission                 Number of events helda   Percentage of total events
                               b
               California                                    85                         11%
                       b
               Texas                                         62                          8%
               Nevadab                                       55                          7%
                                   b
               Pennsylvania                                  52                          7%
               Missourib                                     40                          5%
                           b
               Florida                                       33                          4%
               New York                                      28                          4%
               Illinois                                      25                          3%
               Colorado                                      24                          3%
               Mississippi                                   22                          3%
               Indianab                                      22                          3%
               Ohio                                          21                          3%
               Tennessee                                     19                          2%
               New Jersey                                    19                          2%
               Michiganb                                     18                          2%
               Puerto Rico                                   15                          2%
               Arizona                                       15                          2%
               West Virginia                                 14                          2%
               Virginia                                      14                          2%
               Oklahoma                                      14                          2%
               Massachusetts                                 14                          2%
               Washington                                    13                          2%
               Georgia                                       13                          2%
               Kentucky                                      10                          1%
               Iowa                                          10                          1%
               South Carolina                                 9                          1%
               Miccosukee (FL)b                               9                          1%
               Maryland                                       8                          1%
               Wisconsin                                      7                          1%
               Utah                                           7                          1%
               Mohegan Sun (CT)b                              7                          1%
               Louisiana                                      7                          1%
               New Mexico                                     6                          1%
               Mashantucket Pequot (CT)                       6                          1%




               Page 21                                         GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix I
Professional Boxing Events Held in the
United States during Calendar Year 2001




(Continued From Previous Page)
State or Indian tribal
commission                             Number of events helda           Percentage of total events
Hawaii                                                             6                                    1%
Delaware                                                           6                                    1%
Rhode Island                                                       5                                    1%
North Dakota                                                       5                                    1%
Arkansas                                                           5                                    1%
Washington, D.C.                                                   4                                    1%
Idaho                                                              4                                    1%
Oregon                                                             3                                    0%
North Carolina                                                     3                                    0%
Nebraska                                                           3                                    0%
Saginaw Chippewa (MI)                                              2                                    0%
Pueblo de San Juan (NM)                                            2                                    0%
Oneida (NY)                                                        2                                    0%
Yakahama Nation (WA)                                               1                                    0%
New Hampshire                                                      1                                    0%
Connecticut                                                        1                                    0%
Alaska                                                             1                                    0%
Total                                                           777                               100%
Source: Fight Fax, Inc.
a
 An event is a meeting of boxers at a place such as a casino or sports arena where one or more bouts
(matches between two boxers) are held on a particular day.
b
 The state and tribal boxing commissions we selected for our review.
Note: We did not verify the information we received from Fight Fax, Inc., the official record-keeping
body of the Association of Boxing Commissions.




Page 22                                                             GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix II

Fundamental Elements to Address Health and
Safety, Economic, and Integrity Problems in
Professional Boxing                                                                                               Appendx
                                                                                                                        Ii




                            For each of the 15 fundamental elements that we identified, this appendix
                            provides a summary of a major problem in professional boxing that the
                            element is designed to address. The summaries are based on the
                            congressional testimony and national studies—by the National Association
                            of Attorneys General (NAAG) Task Force, the Department of Health and
                            Human Services, and the Department of Labor—that we reviewed. The
                            summaries also include recommendations made at the hearings and in the
                            studies to address the problems. The problems are divided into three
                            categories: health and safety, economic protection, and integrity of the
                            sport.



Health and Safety

Conduct Medical             In June 1998, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported
Examinations, Including     the results of a study mandated by Congress on health, safety, and
                            equipment standards for boxing.1 The study found that although the overall
Neurological Testing        rate of injury is lower in professional boxing than in many other sports, the
                            risk of sustaining a severe or permanent brain injury is greater in boxing
                            because fighters are exposed to repeated blows to the head. Head injuries
                            account for a significant portion of all boxing injuries. Factors such as poor
                            boxing ability, reduced supervision, and small stature are thought to
                            increase the likelihood of traumatic head injury. Similarly, the length of a
                            boxer’s career and the total number of bouts in training, sparring, and
                            competition combined have been linked to the severity of neurological
                            damage. Because neurological damage is not always detected during
                            routine medical examinations, neurological testing may be necessary to
                            identify it.



Monitor Training Injuries   According to a professional boxing trainer with over 25 years of experience
                            whom we interviewed, boxers are required to train and spar in the gym
                            daily for months in preparation for a fight. He said that during the sparring
                            sessions, many boxers sustain injuries that are not reported to the boxing
                            commissions. As a result, some of the boxers participate in events with pre-

                            1
                             Professional Boxing Safety Act of 1996: National Institute for Occupational Safety and
                            Health Report to Congress, Study on Health, Safety, and Equipment Standards for Boxing
                            (June 1, 1998).




                            Page 23                                                 GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
                             Appendix II
                             Fundamental Elements to Address Health
                             and Safety, Economic, and Integrity Problems
                             in Professional Boxing




                             existing injuries, exposing themselves to further injury or harm. In an effort
                             to protect the health and safety of professional boxers, the NAAG task
                             force recommended in 2000 that state inspectors inspect boxing gyms if
                             adequate funding and staff are available.



Evaluate Medical             To help protect the health and safety of boxers, the NAAG task force
Information and Assess       recommended that all commissions implement a medical classification
                             system that would establish risk levels for boxing injuries. For a fighter
Risks
                             whose record included any element of a high-risk classification (e.g.,
                             repeated knockouts), the task force further recommended that
                             commissions be required to impose a temporary suspension until the
                             fighter received a medical clearance or required examination, such as a
                             neurological examination conducted by a neurologist using magnetic
                             resonance imaging and an electrocardiogram.



Ensure Presence of Medical   In 2001, a representative of the Nevada Attorney General testified2 that
Personnel and Equipment      although common sense dictates that an on-site ambulance is needed for all
                             boxing matches and should be available to transport an injured boxer to a
and File Postfight Reports
                             hospital, many promoters would prefer to call 911 if an ambulance is
                             needed. The representative said that while this arrangement may be more
                             cost-effective for the promoter, the treatment of a fighter in the initial
                             minutes after an injury—whether waiting for an ambulance to arrive or
                             receiving immediate and appropriate medial care—is critical in
                             determining whether the fighter will recover or suffer permanent damage
                             or death. Similarly, in 1983, the World Medical Association3 said that
                             professional boxing events should be held in locations where

                             • adequate neurosurgical facilities are immediately available for
                               emergency treatment of an injured boxer,

                             • a portable resuscitator with oxygen equipment and appropriate
                               endotracheal tubes are available at ringside, and


                             2
                              Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Testimony on Boxing and
                             Federal Laws, (Washington, D.C.: May 23, 2001).
                             3
                              The World Medical Association is an international organization created to ensure the
                             independence of physicians and to work for the highest possible standards of ethical
                             behavior and care by physicians.




                             Page 24                                                    GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
                          Appendix II
                          Fundamental Elements to Address Health
                          and Safety, Economic, and Integrity Problems
                          in Professional Boxing




                          • an ambulance is continuously on-site to transport any seriously injured
                            boxer to a hospital immediately.

                          The Professional Boxing Safety Act of 1996, as amended (the act), requires
                          the continuous presence of a ringside physician and an ambulance or
                          medical personnel with appropriate resuscitation equipment at each
                          boxing event, unless equivalent protection is required by the boxing
                          commission’s provisions.

                          A Pennsylvania Athletic Commission official testified4 in May 2001 that
                          boxing commissions should be required to develop criteria for licensing
                          professional boxers, which should include reviews of boxers’ fight records
                          (i.e., wins, losses, knockouts) and suspensions, and a centralized database
                          of medical examination information on all licensed boxers. He said that the
                          database should be accessible only to boxing commission officials and
                          would provide boxing commissions with an additional screening
                          mechanism to use in their license determination process.



Require Health and Life   The president of the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) told us that
Insurance                 current insurance provisions require promoters to provide health insurance
                          coverage only during a boxing event. However, he said such coverage does
                          not protect boxers in other instances when they may need medical
                          treatment but do not have health insurance or the financial resources to
                          pay for treatment. For example, boxers may sustain injuries during an
                          event but not recognize until later that they have been injured and need
                          treatment. Many boxers also sustain injuries during training or sparring. In
                          1996, a New Jersey Boxing Commission representative testified5 that
                          boxers spend far more time sparring in gyms than competing in events; as a
                          result, they are more likely to sustain injuries during this period. The
                          representative said that to prevent injuries to the head and other parts of
                          the body, the amount and intensity of sparring should be monitored. A
                          trainer we interviewed said that boxers should have health and life
                          insurance coverage throughout the training period, as well as before, after,


                          4
                           Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation: Testimony on Boxing and
                          Federal Laws (Washington, D.C.: May 23, 2001).
                          5
                           House Economic and Educational Opportunities Committee Workforce Protections
                          Subcommittee and the House Committee on Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce Trade
                          and Hazardous Materials, The Professional Boxing Corporation Act of 1995 (Washington,
                          D.C.: June 11, 1996).




                          Page 25                                                GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
                            Appendix II
                            Fundamental Elements to Address Health
                            and Safety, Economic, and Integrity Problems
                            in Professional Boxing




                            and during an event, in order to address any medical conditions or injuries.
                            However, he said many insurance companies do not offer boxers health
                            and life insurance at affordable prices.



Enforce Suspensions         In 2002, the president of ABC testified before the Senate Committee on
                            Commerce, Science, and Transportation on the need for the uniform
                            enforcement of all suspensions imposed by boxing commissions. Currently,
                            such enforcement is applicable only to suspensions imposed on boxers for
                            recent knockouts or for a series of consecutive losses and medical reasons.
                            The president said that in some instances, commissions have suspended
                            boxers for falsifying documents or other types of inappropriate behavior
                            and that to avoid serving the imposed suspensions, some boxers have
                            traveled to other states and obtained a license to continue boxing.



Economic Protection

Require Pension Plans for   Professional boxing offers no long-term financial protection for its
Boxers                      participants, although purses for the big events are in the millions of dollars
                            and televised worldwide, often on a pay-per-view basis. The New York State
                            Attorney General testified in 19996 that the boxing industry has generated
                            enormous wealth for virtually everyone except professional boxers. He
                            added that over the decades, the interests of professional boxers have been
                            ignored, leaving many penniless and medically at risk. In 1996, Congress
                            mandated that the Secretary of Labor undertake a study on the feasibility of
                            establishing a pension plan for professional boxers. According to the
                            study,7 apart from programs run by the California commission and by the
                            International Boxing Federation for its championship fights,
                            comprehensive pensions for boxing are virtually nonexistent. The study
                            concluded that a comprehensive program, if implemented for professional
                            boxers, would consist of a charitable trust, a defined contribution plan, a



                            6
                             Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation: Hearing on Reform of
                            Professional Boxing Industry (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 22, 1999).
                            7
                             Pension Plans for Professional Boxers: A Study Prepared by the Segal Company for the
                            Secretary of Labor as Mandated by Congress (December 1997).




                            Page 26                                                 GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
                            Appendix II
                            Fundamental Elements to Address Health
                            and Safety, Economic, and Integrity Problems
                            in Professional Boxing




                            defined benefit plan, and a disability income and survivor’s benefit
                            program.



Disclose Purses and Break   In 1997, a reporter testified8 that in 1986 a boxer was guaranteed $300,000,
Out Payments                with up to another $100,000 in training fees, for a fight. Out of a potential
                            $400,000, the boxer was paid about $99,000. The manager did not pay the
                            trainer and the boxer paid the trainer out of his share of the purse, leaving
                            the boxer with $69,000. To address problems such as this, the NAAG task
                            force study recommended that a model contract be developed to outline
                            contractual disclosure requirements between the promoters, managers,
                            and boxers. The model contract should specify the rights and
                            responsibilities of all parties, such as the contest requirements,
                            compensation (including a full accounting and disclosure of all deductions
                            from a boxer’s purse), licenses, and remedies for lack of good faith,
                            collusion, or breach of contract, including arbitration provisions.



Prohibit Conflicts of       A Texas Boxing and Wrestling Program official cited reports of fights in
Interest                    which a manager managed both boxers and the manager and promoter
                            were related. Such business arrangements limited the boxers’ chances of
                            receiving fair payment. The official said that in theory, a manager is
                            supposed to negotiate the most favorable economic terms for the fighter,
                            while the promoter is supposed to make the largest possible profit on the
                            event.



Establish Uniform           There are frequent reports of boxers’ economic exploitation. For example,
Contractual Terms           in January 2003, officials of the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic
                            Regulations reported that a boxer had been fighting for more than a year
                            and had never received payment for participating in events throughout the
                            United States, although the manager was receiving the boxer’s fight purses.
                            For this violation, the commission revoked the manager’s license for an
                            indefinite period. In 2001, a Pennsylvania Athletic Commission official said
                            that for years fighters have been contractually tied to promoters for a series
                            of boxing events, limiting their ability and opportunities to pursue other
                            promoters and to box in other events. The official said that the Muhammad


                            8
                             Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Hearing on Professional
                            Boxing (Washington, D.C.: May 22, 1997).




                            Page 27                                                GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
                           Appendix II
                           Fundamental Elements to Address Health
                           and Safety, Economic, and Integrity Problems
                           in Professional Boxing




                           Ali Boxing Reform Act, which limits the contracts between the boxer and
                           promoter to 1 year, is a step in the right direction to correct this problem.



Integrity of the Sport

Require Registration and   A Nevada State Athletic Commission official testified in 19949 that boxing
Training for Judges,       referees have to decide in a split second which fighter has won a bout.
                           Accordingly, he said, judges should have the ability to closely observe the
Referees, and Others
                           fighters and base their decisions on consistent scoring criteria. The NAAG
                           task force made recommendations to help enhance the integrity of the
                           sport, including the following:

                           • ABC should develop a standardized testing program to be administered
                             to judges and referees.

                           • Judges and referees should be required to pass this examination before
                             they receive their licenses.

                           • To be licensed as a referee, an individual should have prior experience
                             officiating in amateur competition or in other states or jurisdictions.

                           • All referees should be required to receive training and attend a minimum
                             of two medical training seminars each year.

                           • To be licensed as a judge, an applicant should be proficient in the rules
                             and regulations of boxing and have prior experience officiating in
                             amateur competition or in other ABC states or jurisdiction.

                           • To be licensed as a ringside physician, a physician should have a state
                             medical license, be in good standing in the respective state, and have
                             experience as a licensed physician for a minimum of 2 years.

                           • Ringside physicians should be required to receive training in ringside
                             medicine.



                           9
                            Senate Committee on Commerce, Hearing on Health and Safety of Professional Boxing
                           (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 20, 1994).




                           Page 28                                               GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
                          Appendix II
                          Fundamental Elements to Address Health
                          and Safety, Economic, and Integrity Problems
                          in Professional Boxing




                          • Promoters and managers should be licensed and regulated.



Prevent Undue Influence   The president of ABC testified in 200210 on the need for standards to
                          prevent sanctioning organizations from interfering with boxing
                          commissions’ selection of judges and referees. According to the president,
                          that need was demonstrated during a nationally televised championship
                          fight in 2001. He said that several weeks before the scheduled event, the
                          sanctioning organization and the state boxing commission agreed that the
                          sanctioning organization would designate the referee and one judge and the
                          commission would designate the remaining two judges. However, less than
                          5 minutes before the event was to begin, a representative from the
                          sanctioning organization threatened to withdraw the organization’s
                          sanction—an action that would reduce the status of the fight to a nontitled
                          event—if the commission did not agree to replace one of the judges
                          selected by the commission with a judge designated by the sanctioning
                          organization. The commission agreed to the sanctioning organization’s
                          demands in order to retain the title status of the fight. Because the
                          sanctioning organization was allowed to select two of the three judges, the
                          president of ABC said the outcome of the event might have been
                          compromised.



Require Uniform Boxing    In June 1996, a former Nevada Athletic Commission official testified11 that
and Scoring Rules         every boxing match in the United States should be conducted under the
                          same boxing and scoring rules. While noting that ABC has established
                          Unified Championship Rules for title bouts, he said that some commissions
                          do not implement the same rules. The official said that standardizing
                          boxing and scoring rules is important because fighters can have difficulty
                          concentrating on protecting themselves in the ring when they are trying to
                          remember whether a particular state uses a rule. Similarly, it is difficult for
                          referees to focus on a bout if they are worrying about changes in the rules
                          for different bouts.



                          10
                           Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Subcommittee on
                          Consumer Affairs, Foreign Commerce, and Tourism: Hearing on the Federal Regulation of
                          Boxing (Washington, D.C.: May 22, 2002).
                          11
                           Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Hearing on Effective
                          Regulation of the Boxing Industry: A Cooperative Effort (Washington, D.C.: May 23, 2001).




                          Page 29                                                  GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
                          Appendix II
                          Fundamental Elements to Address Health
                          and Safety, Economic, and Integrity Problems
                          in Professional Boxing




Review Sanctioning        The NAAG task force study reported that sanctioning organizations’
Organizations’ Rankings   rankings often are not based on objective assessments of talent or records
                          of fighters’ wins and losses. Instead, according to the study, boxers
                          associated with certain promoters may be highly ranked regardless of their
                          skill and ability. The study reported that this creates fraud that can have
                          deadly consequences. For example, a fight advertised as a major
                          championship battle may turn out to be a mismatch, as was a bout held on
                          November 13, 1982, between Ray “Boom-Boom” Mancini and Duk Koo Kim
                          of South Korea. Mancini knocked out Kim, who never regained
                          consciousness and died. The World Boxing Association had rated Kim as a
                          top contender, even though he was not among Korea’s top 40 fighters.



Require Knowledge of      In 2002, an entertainment manager testified12 that state boxing
Professional Boxing for   commissions are generally underfunded and dominated by political
                          appointees with limited knowledge of the sport. He said that many of these
Commission Officials
                          officials do not understand the boxing industry well enough to regulate it.




                          12
                           Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Subcommittee on
                          Consumer Affairs, Foreign Commerce, and Tourism: Hearing on Federal Regulation of
                          Boxing (Washington, D.C.: May 22, 2002).




                          Page 30                                                GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix III

Selected Boxing Commissions’
Documentation of Compliance with the Act’s
Provisions                                                                                                                Appendx
                                                                                                                                iI




                                         This appendix presents the results of our analysis of the eight state and two
                                         tribal boxing commissions’ documentation of compliance with the act’s
                                         provisions and provides information on the reasons given by the
                                         commissions for not having documentation. Figure 3 summarizes the
                                         results of our analysis of the commissions’ documentation.



Figure 3: Selected Commissions’ Documentation of Compliance with the Act’s Provisions for Boxing Events Held in 2001




                                         Page 31                                             GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
                                         Appendix III
                                         Selected Boxing Commissions’
                                         Documentation of Compliance with the Act’s
                                         Provisions




                                         Note: This analysis reflects (1) actual percentages for Indiana, Michigan, and the Miccosukee and
                                         Mohegan Sun tribal jurisdictions, where we examined documentation for all events held in 2001, and
                                         (2) estimated percentages for California, Florida, Missouri, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Texas, where
                                         we examined documentation for a statistical sample of all events held in 2001. Typically, one boxing
                                         event consists of 6 to 10 bouts, each of which may have its own documentation.
                                         a
                                          The California and Indiana commissions said they complied with the provision but did not provide
                                         documentation for our review, citing privacy or other concerns. A California official sought higher-level
                                         approval for our review, but it was not obtained until after we had completed our work at the
                                         commission.
                                         b
                                          The California commission said it usually complied with this provision but did not document its
                                         compliance.
                                         c
                                           The California, Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Miccosukee commissions said they
                                         usually or always complied with this provision but did not document their compliance.
                                         d
                                             The Indiana commission did not provide documentation for our review.
                                         e
                                          The California, Michigan, and Nevada commissions said they usually complied with this provision but
                                         did not document their compliance.
                                         f
                                         In figure 1 (p. 14), we categorized two commissions (Pennsylvania and the Miccosukee Tribe) as
                                         having documentation for this provision at least 75 percent of the time.
                                         g
                                          The California, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, and Texas commissions said they complied with this
                                         provision but did not document their compliance. In commenting on a draft of this report, the Missouri
                                         Office of Athletics said that Missouri does not have a commission, but is staffed by 3 officials. Since
                                         Missouri does not have procedures to prohibit conflicts of interest for the 3 officials, we considered the
                                         3 officials as a commission that did not have documentation evidencing compliance with this provision.
                                         h
                                          The California commission said it had purged its documentation for this provision from its files, and the
                                         Indiana commission said it was experiencing computer problems and could not provide the
                                         documentation.


                                         The remainder of the appendix provides information on the extent to which
                                         the 10 boxing commissions had documentation indicating compliance with
                                         each of the act’s provisions related to a fundamental element. For the
                                         commissions that did not have or did not provide documentation for our
                                         review, the appendix also includes the reasons given by the commissions
                                         for not having or providing the documentation. When a reason is not
                                         specified, the commission did not provide a reason.



Figure 4: Evaluate Medical Information and Assess Risks




                                         Page 32                                                              GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix III
Selected Boxing Commissions’
Documentation of Compliance with the Act’s
Provisions




Four of the 10 state and tribal boxing commissions (California, Indiana,
Michigan, and Missouri) provided us with documentation of compliance
less than 50 percent of the time with the act’s provision requiring the
evaluation before each match of medical information and the assessment
of risks involved in allowing a boxer to fight. The Missouri boxing
commission said that it does not collect and maintain medical information
because state law concerning confidentiality, disclosure, and civil liability
issues prohibited them from doing so. The Michigan boxing commission
said that they were advised by its legal counsel to limit the amount of
medical information collected due to the commission’s limited authority to
collect and protect such information. The Indiana Boxing Commission said
it maintained medical information on professional boxers, but would not
provide that information for review because of confidentiality and civil
liability concerns. A Texas official said that the Texas Boxing and Wrestling
Program used prelicense and prefight examinations, along with
information obtained from Fight Fax, Incorporated,1 detailing a boxer’s
record of wins and losses and medical suspensions, to assess the risks
involved in allowing a boxer to fight before each match. This official added
that when reported information indicated that a boxer’s physical condition
was questionable, the commission might require the boxer to undergo
additional medical tests to ensure that he or she was not participating in an
event with a pre-existing injury. According to the official, the Texas Boxing
and Wrestling Program does not disclose medical information it maintains
on boxers to other commissions because of confidentiality and civil
liability concerns. The California State Athletic Commission said it
maintained medical information, such as the results of annual physicals
and any neurological tests, on professional boxers registered in California,
but it did not make this information available for review during our visit to
the commission.




1
Fight Fax, Incorporated, is the official record-keeping body of ABC.




Page 33                                                    GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
                                        Appendix III
                                        Selected Boxing Commissions’
                                        Documentation of Compliance with the Act’s
                                        Provisions




Figure 5: Require Minimum Uniform Contractual Terms




                                        Seven of the 10 state or tribal boxing commissions (Florida, Michigan,
                                        Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, Miccosukee, and Mohegan Sun) had
                                        documentation at least 75 percent of the time for the provision requiring
                                        minimum uniform contractual terms between boxers and promoters; the
                                        Indiana Commission had documentation 50 to 74 percent of the time; and
                                        the California and Missouri commissions had documentation less than 50
                                        percent of the time. The Director of the Indiana Boxing Commission said
                                        that the commission’s representatives were responsible for obtaining
                                        copies of all contracts between promoters and boxers before an event and
                                        for ensuring that boxers were paid in accordance with the contractual
                                        terms. However, contracts between the promoters and boxers were
                                        missing from most of the commission’s event files. The director said that in
                                        some cases boxers forgot to forward their bout agreements to the
                                        commission after the matches. The Executive Officer of the California
                                        State Athletic Commission said that the contractual agreements between
                                        boxers and promoters were submitted to the commission before events
                                        and no events were held unless copies of the agreements were on file.
                                        However, many of the 2001 event files that we reviewed had no
                                        documentation of contractual agreements between boxers and promoters.
                                        No reason was given for the missing contracts. According to a Missouri
                                        Office of Athletics official, its legal counsel advised the commission against
                                        requiring boxing contracts because such agreements involved civil matters
                                        that were outside the jurisdiction of the Missouri Office of Athletics.




                                        Page 34                                           GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
                                          Appendix III
                                          Selected Boxing Commissions’
                                          Documentation of Compliance with the Act’s
                                          Provisions




Figure 6: Require Standards for Rating Boxers to Protect against Mismatches




                                          Nine of the state and tribal boxing commissions (Florida, Indiana,
                                          Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, Miccosukee, and
                                          Mohegan Sun) that we reviewed had documentation at least 75 percent of
                                          the time for the provision requiring standards for rating boxers’,
                                          considering their records of wins and losses, weight differentials, caliber of
                                          opponents, and numbers of past fights, to protect against mismatches. The
                                          California State Athletic Commission was the only commission we
                                          reviewed that lacked documentation for this provision. According to the
                                          Executive Officer, the commission reviewed the reports of Fight Fax,
                                          Incorporated, and the commission’s chief inspector determined whether
                                          boxers were matched in accordance with their boxing skill levels, but the
                                          commission did not maintain any records on this process.



Figure 7: Conduct Prefight Medical Examinations




                                          All 10 of the state and tribal boxing commissions had documentation at
                                          least 75 percent of the time for the provision requiring medical
                                          examinations before fights.




                                          Page 35                                           GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
                                         Appendix III
                                         Selected Boxing Commissions’
                                         Documentation of Compliance with the Act’s
                                         Provisions




Figure 8: Ensure Presence of Medical Personnel and Equipment




                                         Six of the 10 state and tribal boxing commissions (California, Indiana,
                                         Missouri, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Miccosukee) had documentation less
                                         than 50 percent of the time for the provision requiring the presence of
                                         appropriate medical personnel and equipment during and after each match.
                                         Officials from these 6 commissions said that no fight would proceed
                                         without emergency medical service and an ambulance on-site during
                                         events, but they did not document their compliance with this requirement.
                                         Furthermore, in commenting on a draft of this report, the Administrator of
                                         the Missouri Office of Athletics noted that the act does not require such
                                         documentation. The Florida, Michigan, Texas, and Mohegan Sun boxing
                                         commissions documented the presence of emergency medical personnel
                                         and equipment during the events at least 75 percent of the time.



Figure 9: Require Health Insurance During Matches




                                         Three of the 10 state and tribal boxing commissions (Florida, Indiana, and
                                         Michigan) lacked documentation at least 75 percent of the time for the
                                         provision requiring health insurance for boxers during matches. The
                                         Florida State Athletic Commission said that it had not documented boxers’
                                         health insurance because of a clerical mistake. The Director of the Indiana
                                         Boxing Commission said that many of the commission’s 2001 event files



                                         Page 36                                         GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
                                      Appendix III
                                      Selected Boxing Commissions’
                                      Documentation of Compliance with the Act’s
                                      Provisions




                                      were missing documentation of health insurance coverage because in
                                      Indiana, a majority of the professional boxing events were organized by the
                                      same promoters, who usually secured an annual policy covering all of the
                                      events for the year. We asked the official for documentation of health
                                      insurance coverage for the events whose files were missing such
                                      documentation. However, this documentation was not made available
                                      during our review.



Figure 10: Honor Suspensions Imposed by Other Commissions




                                      Three of the 10 state and tribal boxing commissions (California, Michigan,
                                      and Nevada) had documentation less than 50 percent of the time indicating
                                      that they had enforced suspensions of boxers imposed by other
                                      commissions. Officials from these 3 commissions said that before
                                      approving fights, they reviewed the suspension information received from
                                      Fight Fax and the national suspension list to ensure that boxers were not
                                      participating in events while serving suspensions imposed by other
                                      commissions. The officials added that although this information was
                                      reviewed, they did not maintain a record of the information in the event
                                      files.




                                      Page 37                                         GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
                                          Appendix III
                                          Selected Boxing Commissions’
                                          Documentation of Compliance with the Act’s
                                          Provisions




Figure 11: Require Disclosure of Purses and Payments to Promoters and Judges




                                          All 10 of the state and tribal boxing commissions we reviewed had
                                          documentation at least 75 percent of the time for the provision requiring
                                          the disclosure of all purses and amounts paid to promoters. Two of the 10
                                          commissions (Indiana and Missouri) had documentation less than 75
                                          percent of the time for the provision requiring the disclosure of amounts
                                          paid to judges. The Director of the Indiana Boxing Commission said that
                                          the commission verified all forms of payment before events and ensured
                                          that all payments were made immediately after the events, but the
                                          commission did not make this information available during our review. The
                                          Missouri Office of Athletics said that the commission did not always
                                          document amounts paid to judges because Missouri law did not require the
                                          disclosure of such information. The official added that the promoters
                                          usually pay the judges by check through the Missouri Office of Athletics for
                                          tax purposes.



Figure 12: Prohibit Conflicts of Interest for Boxers, Promoters, and Commission Representatives




                                          Page 38                                                 GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
                                           Appendix III
                                           Selected Boxing Commissions’
                                           Documentation of Compliance with the Act’s
                                           Provisions




                                           The Miccosukee Athletic Commission was the only boxing commission
                                           with documentation at least 75 percent of the time for the provision that
                                           calls for ensuring that there are no conflicts of interest for boxers and
                                           promoters. Officials from the Michigan, Missouri, and Mohegan Sun boxing
                                           commissions said they were unaware that the provision had been enacted
                                           in federal law. The Director of the Indiana Boxing Commission said Indiana
                                           had not experienced any problems with boxers and promoters relating to
                                           conflicts of interest; therefore, the commission felt documentation for this
                                           provision was unnecessary.

                                           The Pennsylvania Athletic Commission was the only boxing commission
                                           with documentation at least 75 percent of the time for the provision that
                                           calls for ensuring that there are no conflicts of interest for boxers and
                                           commission representatives. Officials from the Michigan, Missouri, and
                                           Mohegan Sun commissions said they were unaware that the provision had
                                           been enacted in federal law, and officials from the California, Florida,
                                           Indiana, Nevada, and Texas2 commissions said they did not maintain
                                           documentation for this provision because they believed these issues were
                                           addressed through discussions.



Figure 13: Require Registration for Boxers and Certification and Approval for Ring Officials




                                           All 10 of the state and tribal boxing commissions we reviewed had
                                           documentation at least 75 percent of the time for the provision requiring
                                           boxers to be registered. Two of the 10 commissions (California and

                                           2
                                            In commenting on a draft of this report, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
                                           said that all of its employees are required to sign a certification that they have read the
                                           department’s conflict of interest policies. However, when we met with the Texas boxing
                                           commission officials they said there was no documentation of this for us to review.




                                           Page 39                                                    GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix III
Selected Boxing Commissions’
Documentation of Compliance with the Act’s
Provisions




Indiana) had documentation less than 50 percent of the time for the
provision requiring ring officials to be certified and approved. The
Executive Officer of the California State Athletic Commission said the
commission documented only current registrations and had purged the
2001 data from its files. During our review, the Director of the Indiana
Boxing Commission said the commission was experiencing computer
problems and could not provide us with the list of ring officials certified
and approved in 2001.




Page 40                                           GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix IV

State and Tribal Provisions That Cover
Additional Health, Safety, Economic, and
Integrity Elements                                                                                     Appendx
                                                                                                             iIV




                         This appendix provides information on the extent to which the 10 states
                         and tribes that we reviewed had provisions covering health, safety,
                         economic, and integrity elements in addition to those covered by the act.
                         The appendix also provides the states’ and tribes’ reasons for not having
                         provisions covering certain elements. When reasons are not specified, the
                         commissions did not provide them.



Conduct Postfight        None of the 10 state and tribal commissions we reviewed had provisions
                         requiring postfight medical examinations, including neurological testing,
Medical Examinations,    for all boxers who participate in events outside their own jurisdictions.
Including Neurological   Three of the commissions said they did not have provisions requiring
                         postfight medical examinations or neurological testing because they did
Testing                  not have the financial resources to administer such requirements and it
                         would not be feasible to require small promoters or boxers to pay for them.
                         However, the California, Indiana, Nevada, Texas, and Pennsylvania boxing
                         commissions said they required postfight medical examinations when a
                         commission requested that a previously injured boxer obtain a medical
                         release before being allowed to fight.



Monitor Training         California was the only commission that required the monitoring of injuries
                         sustained during training before events. Five of the state and tribal boxing
Injuries                 commissions (Indiana, Missouri, Mohegan Sun, Pennsylvania, and Texas)
                         agreed that from a safety perspective, monitoring boxers’ gym activities
                         was a good concept, but they said they did not have the personnel or
                         financial resources to monitor local gym activities. The Executive Director
                         of the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission said that Pennsylvania did not
                         require the monitoring of gym injuries before events, but he personally
                         visited each local gym once or twice a year to monitor gym activities.



File Postfight Medical   Eight of the state and tribal commissions (California, Indiana, Michigan,
                         Missouri, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Mohegan Sun) required the
Reports                  filing of postfight medical reports. The Executive Director of the Florida
                         State Athletic Commission said Florida did not require the filing of
                         postfight medical reports because the commission and the small promoters
                         and boxers did not have the financial resources to pay for physicians to
                         conduct such examinations. The official added that in many cases the small
                         promoters struggled to pay for the physicians needed to conduct the
                         required prefight examinations. The Executive Director of the Miccosukee



                         Page 41                                          GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
                          Appendix IV
                          State and Tribal Provisions That Cover
                          Additional Health, Safety, Economic, and
                          Integrity Elements




                          Athletic Commission said that the commission did not require the filing of
                          postfight medical reports; however, he said a medical referral might be
                          given to a boxer if the ringside physician suspected that the boxer had been
                          injured and a follow-up examination or observation was needed.



Require Health and Life   None of the state and tribal commissions require that boxers be provided
                          with health and life insurance before and after each match. Generally, the
Insurance Before and      commissions required the promoters to secure health insurance during a
After Fights              match, as the act requires. Some of the policies provided extended
                          coverage for medical and accidental death and dismemberment for up to 1
                          year following the match. Four of the commissions (Michigan, Missouri,
                          Pennsylvania, and Texas) said that providing coverage to boxers before or
                          between matches—that is, during training—would be too costly. They
                          stated that it is not the commissions’ responsibility to provide coverage,
                          since boxers are independent contractors.



Enforce Suspensions       California was the only state that required its commission to suspend
                          boxers for training injuries. All of commissions agreed that suspending
for Training Injuries     boxers for gym injuries was not feasible because many of the commissions
                          were experiencing personnel and budgetary constraints and did not have
                          the resources to monitor gym activities.



Require Pension Plans     California was the only state that required pension plans for professional
                          boxers. Officials at the other nine commissions said that this was a positive
                          initiative; however, six of the commissions (Indiana, Miccosukee,
                          Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Texas) questioned the contribution
                          sources and basis for qualification. The Boxing Administrator of the Texas
                          Boxing and Wrestling Program said that the problems associated with
                          pension and retirement plans were similar to those attending the health
                          insurance issue and that they were social rather than professional boxing
                          issues. According to the Director of the Indiana Boxing Commission,
                          pension plans would benefit boxers a great deal, particularly if boxers were
                          older and nearing retirement, younger and intending to make a career of
                          professional boxing, or injured and without an alternative source of
                          income. The official said that problems would arise with funding, because
                          promoters have little incentive to fund pension plans for boxers and might
                          be unable to afford the additional expense. He said that deducting money




                          Page 42                                           GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
                        Appendix IV
                        State and Tribal Provisions That Cover
                        Additional Health, Safety, Economic, and
                        Integrity Elements




                        from each boxer’s purse would also be difficult, because most boxers do
                        not earn more than a few hundred dollars per bout.

                        According to the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Athletic
                        Commission, the commission is pursuing funding for pension plans. The
                        official added that in 1992, the commission attempted to use its budget
                        surplus to start a trust for professional boxers; however, because of
                        shortfalls elsewhere in the state’s budget, the funds were expended on
                        other projects. The commission is initiating a charitable trust under ABC
                        that has received some voluntary contributions thus far. The goal is to
                        reach $500,000 in principal and operate the program using the account’s
                        interest. The official said that because professional boxers are not
                        unionized, a traditional pension fund would not be feasible.

                        The Enforcement Division Director of the Michigan Bureau of Commercial
                        Services said that the commission views operating a pension plan as
                        outside the state’s role to protect the consumer. In addition, the official
                        said, promoters operating in Michigan would not be willing to fund a
                        pension plan. Officials from the Missouri Office of Athletics and the
                        Miccosukee Athletic Commission supported the establishment of a pension
                        plan; however, they questioned the feasibility of doing so, since boxers are
                        independent contractors.



Require Disclosure of   Two of the state and tribal boxing commissions (Florida and Mohegan Sun)
                        required full and open disclosure of all purses and costs of bouts, with the
All Purses and          amounts paid to trainers and boxers broken out. According to the
Payments to Trainers    Executive Officer of the California State Athletic Commission, California
                        has no provision requiring the disclosure of all purses and costs to trainers,
and Boxers              but does require that the amounts paid and costs assessed to boxers be
                        disclosed. The Enforcement Division Director of the Michigan Bureau of
                        Commercial Services said that the commission did not have a provision
                        requiring the disclosure of all purses and costs to trainers and boxers
                        because the commission did not enforce any such agreements between
                        these parties, as directed by their legal counsel. The Boxing Administrator
                        of the Texas Boxing and Wrestling Program said that Texas only had
                        provisions requiring the disclosure of all purses and costs to promoters and
                        boxers. However, the Texas official said that the organization documented
                        information on the fees that the trainers were paid from the boxer’s purse,
                        although there was no requirement for such documentation.




                        Page 43                                           GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
                          Appendix IV
                          State and Tribal Provisions That Cover
                          Additional Health, Safety, Economic, and
                          Integrity Elements




Prohibit Conflicts of     Eight state and tribal commissions (Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada,
                          Pennsylvania, Texas, Miccosukee, and Mohegan Sun) prohibited conflicts
Interest for Judges and   of interest for judges and referees. According to the Missouri Office of
Referees                  Athletics official, the commission has provisions for ensuring that there are
                          no conflicts of interest for state boxing commission representatives. The
                          official did not explain why the provisions do not address conflicts of
                          interest for managers, judges, and referees. The Enforcement Division
                          Director of the Michigan Bureau of Commercial Services said that a
                          number of state officials resigned after the act established conflict of
                          interest standards.



Require Registration      Missouri was the only commission we reviewed with a provision requiring
                          trainers, managers, promoters, and physicians to be registered and receive
and Training for          training. Officials from six of the commissions (California, Florida, Indiana,
Trainers, Managers,       Miccosukee, Pennsylvania, and Texas) said that they had provisions
                          requiring these occupations to be registered, but because of limited
Promoters, and            financial resources, the provisions governing training were applicable only
Physicians                to physicians and ring officials.



Preclude Sanctioning      Seven of the 10 state and tribal commissions (California, Florida, Missouri,
                          Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Mohegan Sun) we reviewed had
Organizations from        provisions for selecting judges and ensuring that sanctioning organizations
Exercising Undue          do not influence the selection process.
Influence

Select Uniform Boxing     All 10 of the commissions we reviewed had provisions for selecting the
                          boxing and scoring rules for events, such as ABC’s rules for championship
and Scoring Rules         events.



Require Boxing            Seven of the 10 commissions (California, Florida, Michigan, Nevada,
                          Pennsylvania, Texas, and Miccosukee) had provisions that require officials
Knowledge for             who serve on boxing commissions to have knowledge of professional
Commission Officials      boxing. According to the Administrator of the Missouri Office of Athletics,
                          the governor appoints the officials serving on the state’s boxing
                          commission, and, as a result, some of these officials may not have a



                          Page 44                                           GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix IV
State and Tribal Provisions That Cover
Additional Health, Safety, Economic, and
Integrity Elements




professional boxing background or knowledge. Similarly, representatives
of the Mohegan Tribe appoint the officials serving on the Mohegan Tribal
Gaming Commission Athletic Unit and therefore, according to the unit’s
legal counsel, some of the officials may not have an extensive background
in boxing. However, this has not been the commission’s experience, the
counsel said.




Page 45                                        GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix V

Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                                                           Append
                                                                                                  x
                                                                                                  i
                                                                                                  V




              In analyzing the adequacy of efforts to protect the health, safety, and
              economic well-being of professional boxers and to enhance the integrity of
              the sport, our objectives were to (1) identify fundamental elements
              considered important to address the major health and safety, economic,
              and integrity problems facing professional boxing; (2) assess the extent to
              which the act’s provisions cover these elements and whether selected state
              and tribal boxing commissions have documentation indicating compliance
              with the act’s provisions; (3) assess the extent to which selected states and
              tribes have adopted provisions that cover fundamental elements in addition
              to those covered in the act; and (4) determine what actions the Department
              of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have taken under the
              act.

              To identify fundamental elements that are considered important to address
              the major health and safety, economic, and integrity problems facing
              professional boxing, we reviewed recent congressional testimony and
              studies conducted by a task force of the National Association of Attorneys
              General, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the
              Department of Labor. From these sources, which documented problems in
              the boxing industry and made recommendations to address them, we
              identified major problems facing the sport and consolidated the
              recommendations into 15 fundamental elements that, if implemented,
              could provide an adequate level of health, safety, and economic protection
              to boxers and help enhance the integrity of the sport. We discussed these
              elements with the Association of Boxing Commissions, which agreed that
              the elements could provide the desired protection and enhancement.

              To assess the extent to which the act’s provisions cover the fundamental
              elements we identified, we analyzed the act’s provisions and determined
              how many cover fundamental elements, either fully or partially. To assess
              the extent to which selected state and tribal boxing commissions have
              documented their compliance with the act’s provisions, we identified 8 of
              the 46 state boxing commissions and 2 of the 8 tribal boxing commissions
              for review. We looked at provisions in the act that were related to the 15
              fundamental elements. The eight states are California, Florida, Indiana,
              Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Nevada; the two tribes are
              the Mohegan Sun (Connecticut) and the Miccosukee (Florida). We selected
              California, Florida, Missouri, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Texas because
              they held the largest number of professional boxing events in calendar year
              2001, the most recent year for which complete data were available. We
              selected Michigan and Indiana to represent states that held a smaller
              number of events in calendar year 2001 than the other states selected. We



              Page 46                                           GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix V
Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




selected the Miccosukee and Mohegan Sun tribes because they were the
Indian tribes that held the largest number of professional boxing events in
calendar year 2001. The state and tribal commission we selected accounted
for 49 percent of all professional boxing events held in the United States
during calendar year 2001.

At the Indiana, Michigan, Miccosukee, and Mohegan Sun commissions, we
reviewed the cases files for all professional boxing events held in 2001, and
at the remaining commissions, we reviewed the case files for a random
selection of professional boxing events held in 2001. Because we randomly
selected boxing events in these states for review, our sample for each of
these states is just one of many samples we could have drawn. Since each
sample could have produced a different estimate, we express our
confidence in the precision of the estimates for our particular samples
using 95 percent confidence intervals. These are ranges within which we
are confident that 95 out of 100 samples drawn from these particular events
would include the true value for all the events in the state. All the estimates
based on sample data in table 3 have 95 percent confidence intervals not
exceeding plus or minus 10 percentage points, unless otherwise indicated.
To present the results of our case file reviews, we divided the actual or
estimated percentages of cases with documentation into three compliance
categories: 75 to 100 percent, 50 to 74 percent, and below 50 percent. We
did not independently verify the documented compliance, and the results
of our reviews at these 10 commissions cannot be generalized to all boxing
events held nationwide during 2001.

The documentation that we reviewed at the selected commissions varied.
Because the act does not require documentation and the commissions have
no uniform record-keeping standards, we considered all types of
documentation maintained and provided to us by the commissions for our
review. Such documentation included pre- and post-fight medical
examination check sheets, insurance coverage forms, copies of contracts
between boxers and promoters, event sheets identifying boxers’
registration numbers, promoters’ revenue reports to commissions, and
statements of independence signed by ring officials.

To assess the extent to which selected states and tribes have adopted
provisions that cover fundamental elements in addition to those covered in
the act, we reviewed the boxing provisions enacted by the eight states and
two tribes and identified provisions that cover fundamental elements or
portions of fundamental elements that the act does not cover. We
confirmed with the boxing commissions of these states and tribes that they



Page 47                                            GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix V
Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




agreed with our analysis of their provisions, and we asked these officials
why their state or tribe had not enacted provisions covering additional
fundamental elements. Our findings for these selected states and tribes
cannot be generalized to all 46 states and eight tribes. We did not assess the
extent to which the states and tribes had implemented or enforced the
provisions that cover additional fundamental elements.

To determine what actions the Department of Justice and FTC have taken
under the act, we determined the role that each is assigned under the act.
We then met with Justice officials to identify whether any investigations or
prosecutions had been conducted under the act in the jurisdictions of the
eight state and two tribal commissions in 2001. In addition, we reviewed
Justice’s central case management system for possible cases prosecuted
during fiscal years 1996 through 2002. We also met with FTC officials to
determine whether they had received consumer complaints related to the
boxing industry. Furthermore, to determine that the sanctioning
organizations were making the required information available to the public,
we reviewed the Internet Web sites of 14 sanctioning organizations.

We performed our work in accordance with generally accepted government
auditing standards from September 2002 through July 2003 in Washington,
D.C., and at the following state or tribal boxing commission locations:
California State Athletic Commission, Sacramento, California; Florida State
Athletic Commission, Tallahassee, Florida; Indiana Boxing Commission,
Indianapolis, Indiana; Michigan Bureau of Commercial Services, Lansing,
Michigan; Missouri Office of Athletics, Jefferson City, Missouri; Nevada
Athletic Commission, Las Vegas, Nevada; Pennsylvania Athletic
Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Texas Boxing and Wrestling
Program, Austin, Texas; Miccosukee Athletic Commission, Miami, Florida;
and the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Commission Athletic Unit, Uncasville,
Connecticut.




Page 48                                           GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix VI

Comments from the Association of Boxing
Commissions                                                  Appendx
                                                                   iVI




              Page 49           GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix VI
Comments from the Association of Boxing
Commissions




Page 50                                   GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix VII

Comments from the Missouri Office of
Athletics                                                     Append
                                                                   x
                                                                   iVI




               Page 51           GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix VII
Comments from the Missouri Office of
Athletics




Page 52                                GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix VIII

Comments from the Miccosukee Athletic
Commission                                                   Appendx
                                                                   iI
                                                                   V




                Page 53         GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix VIII
Comments from the Miccosukee Athletic
Commission




Page 54                                 GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix VIII
Comments from the Miccosukee Athletic
Commission




Page 55                                 GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix VIII
Comments from the Miccosukee Athletic
Commission




Page 56                                 GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix VIII
Comments from the Miccosukee Athletic
Commission




Page 57                                 GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix VIII
Comments from the Miccosukee Athletic
Commission




Page 58                                 GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix IX

Comments from the Mohegan Tribal Gaming
Commission Athletic Unit                                    Appendx
                                                                  IiX




              Page 59          GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix X

Comments from the Pennsylvania Athletic
Commission                                                   Append
                                                                  x
                                                                  i
                                                                  X




              Page 60           GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix X
Comments from the Pennsylvania Athletic
Commission




Page 61                                   GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix XI

Comments from the Texas Department of
Licensing and Regulations                                   Appendx
                                                                  iI
                                                                  X




              Page 62          GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix XI
Comments from the Texas Department of
Licensing and Regulations




Page 63                                 GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
Appendix XII

Contacts and Contributors                                                                   Append
                                                                                                 x
                                                                                                 iI
                                                                                                 X




Contact        John S. Baldwin, Sr. (202) 512-2834



Contributors   Frederick Lyles, Jr., John Vocino, Bernice Benta, Christopher Factor,
               Elizabeth Eisenstadt, Jerry Sandau, Brandon Haller, Bert Japikse, and
               Sidney Schwartz




(543027)       Page 64                                         GAO-03-699 Professional Boxing
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