Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Wednesday, December 20, 2000

CORNYN ACTS TO BLOCK FIGHTS AT UNLICENSED CLUB

Order Halts Action at 'Fighter's House' in Dallas County

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn announced today the issuance of a temporary injunction to halt brawls at an unlicensed combative sports club known as "Fighter's House" in a Farmer's Branch strip mall north of Dallas.

The case, referred to the Attorney General's office for action by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), which regulates combative sports, requires the club to obtain a valid license. The petition names as defendants Todd Handel and Shannon Ritch, who have agreed not to promote or conduct these activities until obtaining a license, with final court approval.

"The AG's office and the TDLR want to make sure businesses like these are properly licensed, from a safety as well as a liability standpoint," said Attorney General Cornyn. "Unfettered and unprotected fight contests such as these surely don't always have a happy ending."

"The goal of the injunction is to protect the safety of the participants," agreed Bill Kuntz, executive director of TDLR. "Failure to comply with the regulations could result in serious bodily injury and/or death."

The unlicensed business's web site explains ground rules for "back yard brawls"and "no holds barred" types of contests. The web site features highlights of the action on its "news and events" page.

The site notes in its ground rules that open strikes to the face are allowed in the first round. Upon successful completion of this 10-minute round, the contestant may progress to the next level in which closed fists to the body are allowed, as well as kicking, although shin-kicking, head butts and eye-gouging are not allowed.

Fans to the events typically pay a $5 admission fee. Two contestants at a time fight in an unapproved ring - a mat on a gym floor - and no ambulances or ringside physicians have been on standby in case of injury, as required by state law.

The Attorney General's office will subsequently request a permanent injunction to ensure that the unincorporated association does not promote or engage in unlicensed bouts of this kind. The operators must obtain all proper licenses for all aspects of this activity, including those for boxers, referees, promoters, timekeepers and others.

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Contact Mark Heckmann, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050
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