Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act

Last updated

The Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, commonly referred to as the Ali Act, is a federal law that was introduced in 1999 and enacted on May 26, 2000 by the 106th Congress to: (1) protect the rights and welfare of boxers; (2) aid state boxing commissions with the oversight of boxing; and (3) increase sportsmanship and integrity within the boxing industry (See 114 Stat. 321(3)(2000)). The Act amends the 1996 Professional Boxing Safety Act by expanding upon legislation against exploitation, conflict of interest, enforcement, as well as additional amendments. [1] The Act was enacted in response to widespread abuse of boxers by means of exploitation, rigged rankings, and rigged matches. [2]

Muhammad Ali American boxer, philanthropist and activist

Muhammad Ali was an American professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist. He is nicknamed "The Greatest" and is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century and as one of the greatest boxers of all time.

Federal law is the body of law created by the federal government of a country. A federal government is formed when a group of political units, such as states or provinces join together in a federation, delegating their individual sovereignty and many powers to the central government while retaining or reserving other limited powers. As a result, two or more levels of government exist within an established geographic territory. The body of law of the common central government is the federal law.

The United States Congress noted through research that there were a number of problems with the sport of boxing which needed to be changed to ensure the safety and protection of professional boxers. Listed are a number of discoveries made by Congress (see 144 Stat. 322(3) (2000)):

United States Congress Legislature of the United States

The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal Government of the United States. The legislature consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate.

  1. Professional boxing is not governed by any league, association, or any form of an established organization like majority of other professional sports.
  2. The state officials are not ensuring the protection of the boxers and are not aware or informed of contracts boxers have agreed to.
  3. Promoters are taking advantage of the sport by conducting dishonest business affairs. Promoters are not being punished due to some states being less strict about the legal terms that are stated in contracts.
  4. There is no rating system provided to rank professional boxers thus ratings are subjected to manipulation by those in charge.
  5. There has been a major interference in the sport because of open competition by restrictive and anti-competitive bodies.
  6. There are no restrictions placed on contracts that boxers agree to with promoters and managers. It is necessary to enforce a national contract reform which will guarantee the safety of professional boxers and the public from unlawful contracts and to enhance the integrity of the sport.

The Act received several criticisms. One criticism was that the Act provides rules but leaves the enforcement of these rules to the state without defined guidelines. [3] Other criticism stems from the belief that Congress has no purpose regulating the boxing industry, especially if it does not regulate any other sport. [4]

In May 2016, a bill was introduced to Congress by Markwayne Mullin, a politician and former mixed martial artist, to extend the Ali Act to mixed martial arts. [5]

Markwayne Mullin Oklahoma politician

Markwayne Mullin is an American politician, businessman, and former professional mixed martial arts fighter who has been the United States representative for Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district since 2013. He owns several businesses, which he took over at twenty, when his father became ill. Mullin, a member of the Republican Party, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2012 elections, succeeding Democratic representative Dan Boren.

Mixed martial arts full contact combat sport

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full-contact combat sport that allows striking and grappling, both standing and on the ground, using techniques from various combat sports and martial arts. The first documented use of the term mixed martial arts was in a review of UFC 1 by television critic Howard Rosenberg in 1993. The term gained popularity when, then one of the largest websites covering the sport, hosted and republished the article. The question of who actually coined the term is subject to debate.

Related Research Articles

Boxing combat sport

Boxing is a combat sport in which two people, usually wearing protective gloves, throw punches at each other for a predetermined amount of time in a boxing ring.

<i>The Ring</i> (magazine) magazine

The Ring is an American boxing magazine that was first published in 1922 as a boxing and wrestling magazine. As the sporting legitimacy of professional wrestling came more into question, The Ring shifted to becoming exclusively a boxing oriented publication. The magazine is currently owned by Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Enterprises, which acquired it in 2007. Ring publishes boxers annual ratings since 1924.

Leon Spinks American boxer

Leon Spinks is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1977 to 1995. In only his eighth professional fight, he won the undisputed heavyweight championship in 1978 after defeating Muhammad Ali in a split decision, in what was considered one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. Spinks was later stripped of the WBC title for facing Ali in an unapproved rematch seven months later, which he lost by unanimous decision.

Jab punch

A jab is a type of punch used in the martial arts. Several variations of the jab exist, but every jab shares these characteristics: while in a fighting stance, the lead fist is thrown straight ahead and the arm is fully extended from the side of the torso. This process also involves a quick turn of the torso. It is an overhand punch; at the moment of impact, the pronated fist is generally held in a horizontal orientation with the palm facing the ground.

The two fights between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston for boxing's World Heavyweight Championship were among the most anticipated, watched and controversial fights in the sport's history. Sports Illustrated magazine named their first meeting, the Liston–Clay fight, as the fourth greatest sports moment of the twentieth century.

Eddie Futch was a boxing trainer. Among the fighters he trained are Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, Larry Holmes, and Trevor Berbick, four of the five men to defeat Muhammad Ali. Futch also trained Riddick Bowe and Montell Griffin when they handed future Hall of Fame fighters Evander Holyfield and Roy Jones, Jr., their first professional defeats. In Baltimore, Maryland, the Futch Gym boxing gymnasium is named after the trainer.

Professional boxing sport

Professional boxing, or prizefighting, is regulated, sanctioned boxing. Professional boxing bouts are fought for a purse that is divided between the boxers as determined by contract. Most professional bouts are supervised by a regulatory authority to guarantee the fighters' safety. Most high-profile bouts obtain the endorsement of a sanctioning body, which awards championship belts, establishes rules, and assigns its own judges and referee.

Thomas C. Hauser is an American author.

The Joint Association of Boxers is an attempt to unionize professional boxers, who are often called "the most exploited athletes." The union's stated goals are:

New Jersey State Athletic Control Board

The New Jersey State Athletic Control Board (SACB) regulates all contests and exhibitions of unarmed combat within the state of New Jersey, including licensure and supervision of promoters, boxers, kickboxers, mixed martial arts fighters, seconds, ring officials, managers, and matchmakers. The Commission is the final authority on licensing matters, having the ability to approve, deny, revoke, or suspend all licenses for unarmed combat.

Charles Elvin Powell was a multi-sport professional athlete as an NFL football player, professional boxer, and Minor League baseball player.

United States v. International Boxing Club of New York, 348 U.S. 236 (1955), often referred to as International Boxing Club or just International Boxing, was an antitrust decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. By a 7–2 margin, the justices ruled that the exemption it had previously upheld for Major League Baseball was peculiar and unique to that sport and that it did not apply to boxing. Since it met the definition of interstate commerce, the government could therefore proceed with a trial to prove IBCNY and the other defendants had conspired to monopolize the market for championship boxing in the United States.

Lineal championship

In combat sports where champions are decided by a challenge, the lineal championship of a weight class is a world championship title held initially by an undisputed champion and subsequently by a fighter who defeats the reigning champion in a match at that weight class. In professional boxing, the lineal champion is informally called "the man who beat the man". Champions recognized by sanctioning bodies such as the World Boxing Association (WBA), World Boxing Council (WBC), or the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) may vacate their title voluntarily, or be stripped of the title for breaching the sanctioning body's regulations or contracts. There will thus be a breach of continuity in the list of sanctioned champions which the lineal championship is intended to prevent. However, there is no single canonical list of lineal champions at any weight class, because there is no agreed upon method of determining the starting point for each lineage and conflicting opinions on what to do when the current champion retires or moves to a different weight class, although there is agreement that any stripping of a title be discounted.

In boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts, a journeyman is a fighter who has adequate skill but is not of the caliber of a contender or gatekeeper. Outside of combat sports, a "journeyman" is a trader or craftsman who has completed an apprenticeship, but is not at the level of a master craftsman. Hence, when applied to sports, a "journeyman" implies a fighter who is no longer a novice, and has the sufficient degree of skill that may be expected from a professional, but who does not have the mastery possessed by the title contenders.

The Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) is a North American not-for-profit professional boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA) organization that organizes contests and record-keeping. It is governed by delegates of state, provincial, and tribal athletic commissions in the United States and Canada.

Michael Schwartz is an American physician who specializes in the field of ringside medicine. As Chief Ringside Physician for Professional Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts, he was responsible for creating many of the medical protocols utilized in boxing. He founded the first Medical Association for Professional Ringside Physicians.

CV Productions, Inc., is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based mixed martial arts company, founded in 1979. It is considered the first MMA based company in the United States and responsible for creating the blueprint for modern mixed martial arts competition. The company promoted the first regulated league of mixed martial arts style competitions beginning in 1980 with the intention of creating a new mainstream sport. The league events pitted combatants from all fighting disciplines including boxers, kick boxers, martial artists, wrestlers, grapplers, and all around “tough guys.” Competitors could win by opponent’s submission, knockout or judges' decision. The competitions were promoted as “Anything Goes - striking, throwing, grappling, punching, kicking, ground fighting, and more.” The shows were immediately dubbed by the media as “Organized, Legalized, Street Fighting,” a phrase coined by KDKA TV's Dave Durian.

Muhammad Ali visited China on three occasions. Ali's visits to China resulted in a revival of boxing in China, and influenced the development of the sport in China.


  1. "LIBRARY OF CONGRESS SUMMARY". Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  2. Baglio, Scott (2000). "The Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act: The First Jab at Establishing Credibility in Professional Boxing". Fordham Law Review . 7. 68 (6): 2257–2259.
  3. Hauser, Thomas (2007). "No one is enforcing the federal boxing laws". Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  4. Baglio, Scott (2000). "The Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act: The First Jab at Establishing Credibility in Professional Boxing". Fordham Law Review . 7. 68 (6): 2290–2291.
  5. "Click Debate: What's all this talk about the Ali Act coming to MMA?". MMAjunkie . June 12, 2016.