By Chief Deputy Attorney General Keith E. Kizer, Legal Counsel to the Nevada Athletic Commission
The responsibility for licensing boxers (and other unarmed combatants) in Nevada is vested exclusively in the Nevada Athletic Commission (Commission). To that end, the Nevada Legislature provided the Commission with some very broad powers.
For example, Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 467.100 provides, in part, as follows:
1. All contestants, promoters, managers, seconds, trainers and ring officials must be licensed by the commission. No person may participate, directly or indirectly, in any professional contest or exhibition of unarmed combat unless he has first procured a license from the commission.
2. The commission may deny an application for a license or grant a limited, restricted or conditional license for any cause deemed sufficient by the commission.
3. An application for a license constitutes a request for a determination of the applicant’s general suitability, character, integrity, and ability to participate or engage in, or be associated with contests or exhibitions of unarmed combat. The burden of proof is on the applicant to establish to the satisfaction of the commission that the applicant is qualified to receive a license. By filing an application with the commission, an applicant accepts the risk of adverse public notice, embarrassment, criticism, financial loss or other action with respect to his application, and expressly waives any claim for damages as a result thereof. Any written or oral statement that is made by any member of the commission or any witness testifying under oath which is relevant to the application and investigation of the applicant is absolutely privileged and does not impose liability for defamation or constitute a ground for recovery in a civil action.
An application for a license to box must be completed on a form provided by the Commission. That form elicits basic information about the fighter. See http://www.state.nv.us/b&i/ac/docs/Application_Unarmed_Lic.pdf. Any false statement of a material matter in such an application is a ground for denial of the application, or, if the license has already been issued, for revocation of the license.
Once the boxer submits the application, he or she cannot withdraw that application without the consent of the Commission. The Commission need not grant the withdrawal request. In making a determination on a request to withdraw an application, the Commission may deny the request or grant the request with or without prejudice. If the request for withdrawal is granted with prejudice, the boxer is not eligible to apply again for licensing until one (1) year after the date the Commission grants the request.
Although the boxer must satisfy the Commission that he or she has the ability to compete before the Commission issues (or renews) a license to box, most of the applications can be (and are) administratively approved. However, “f the ability of the applicant or the unarmed combatant to compete is questioned for any reason, the commission may hold a hearing to determine whether the license should be granted or renewed.” Nevada Administrative Code 467.022.
Moreover, if the boxer has (a) not reached 18 years of age; (b) reached 36 years of age or will reach 36 years of age during the current calendar year; (c) competed in more than 350 rounds of unarmed combat in contests or exhibitions sanctioned by the Commission or any other agency that regulates unarmed combat in another jurisdiction; or (d) not competed in unarmed combat for at least 36 consecutive months, the boxer must have his or her application for a license or for renewal of a license specifically reviewed by the Commission. This allows the Commission to evaluate the boxer’s experience and fitness before the license is issued or renewed.
In determining whether to grant a boxer’s application for a license, the Commission reviews the applicant’s general suitability, character, integrity, and ability to participate or engage in, or be associated with boxing contests. The Commission may deny an application or may grant a limited, restricted or conditional license for any cause deemed sufficient by the Commission. NRS 467.080(3).
The Commission is able to exercise such discretion because a license to box is a privilege, not a right. Moreover, the applicant/boxer does not have any protected property interest in a license. Consequently, unlike with disciplinary matters, this is no direct judicial recourse for a boxer whose application is denied.
All in all, the licensing and control of boxing requires special knowledge and expertise. That is why it is up to the Commission to determine whether to grant an applicant a license to box. It serves the boxer, therefore, to be as honest and forthcoming as possible when applying for a license. In addition to being required by law, such conduct will provide the Commission with the information needed to make its licensing determination.
Chief Deputy Attorney General Keith E. Kizer is chief legal counsel to the Nevada Athletic Commission, the Nevada Gaming Commission, the State Gaming Control Board and the Gaming Policy Committee. He has also served as counsel to the Local Government Employee-Management Relations Board, the State Apprenticeship Council and the Nevada Labor Commissioner. Before joining the Attorney General's office, Mr. Kizer represented management, both public and private, in employment and labor law matters. He received his B.A. degree, with high honors, from Valparaiso University and his J.D. degree, cum laude, from the University of Illinois College of Law.
Keith Kizer currently serves as chief legal counsel to the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), and has acted as legal counsel to the NSAC since November 1997. However, all of the views, opinions, and/or recommendations contained herein are solely his own and do not necessary reflect those of the NSAC. All readers are strongly cautioned that the information contained herein is not intended to, and never should, substitute for the necessity of seeking the advice of a qualified financial, legal, or medical professional whenever a boxer or his/her representatives have specific questions regarding the best course of action that a boxer should take. Furthermore, since it is possible that general information herein may pertain only to a law, regulation, rule, or acceptable standard of practice for a particular jurisdiction, a boxer or his/her representatives must always inquire with the appropriate licensing jurisdiction to determine the applicable laws, regulations, rules and acceptable standards of practice for each jurisdiction.
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