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Friday, August 10, 2007

More on the University Club teen boxing spectacle

While we were on the subject of teen boxers the other day, someone pointed out that a bill signed into law in Oregon earlier this summer restricts one form of teenage fighting. It prohibits people under the age of 18 from being licensed as professional "mixed martial arts" fighters in the state. "MMA" is the new form of "ultimate fighting" that allows the contestants to mix in all sorts of moves beyond boxing. It can get pretty brutal.

But the ban affects only professional fighting, not amateur bouts. And although the original bill, introduced by State Sen. Vicki Walker and two colleagues, Alan Bates and Floyd Prozanski, also would have forbidden people under 18 from boxing professionally, that aspect of the bill was stricken over in the House before it was passed. Thus, nothing in the state's fight laws appears to stop amateur teens from going at it (no Google bait intended) as they did at the University Club last week. As far as the newly amended rules are concerned, the kids could have been cage fighting and it looks as though it would have been legal -- they were amateurs. And since what they were doing was traditional boxing, conceivably they could even have been licensed as professionals.

The only other aspects of the University Club fights that state law might have something to say about are the cigars and booze reportedly being enjoyed at the ringside tables. Didn't we just pass a state law forbidding smoking in restaurants and bars, in the name of protecting the health of the employees? Would that not apply to the U.C.? (If it does, it won't take effect until 2009.) On a quick perusal, I'm not seeing an exemption from the "smoke-free workplace" rules for a private club.

And booze being served at ringside, just a few feet from where 15-year-olds are engaged in an athletic competition? If you tried that in a dive bar in Felony Flats, it sounds like something the OLCC could get quite interested in. Maybe there's some kind of special deal for top-shelf hooch.

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