State Regulation Agency Warns Against Participating In Unlicensed Combat Sports

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News Release: Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation

Tallahassee, Fla. – Each year, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) initiates an education campaign, called the Unlicensed Activity Media Campaign, to warn Floridians of the dangers of unlicensed activity by individuals who require a state license. DBPR and the Florida State Boxing Commission (FSBC) are warning Floridians that unsanctioned combat sports events are unsafe and illegal in the state. DBPR is urging any combat sports participants, promoters and organizations to ensure they are in compliance with Florida law and current combat sports rules to avoid participating in any unlicensed or unsanctioned amateur or professional events.

“Through our annual Unlicensed Activity Media Campaign, we are able to drive a very important message home to every Floridian for their protection and safety against engaging or participating in unlicensed activity,” said Ken Lawson, secretary of DBPR. “It’s important to uphold the requirements of combat sports events in Florida while ensuring the integrity of the sport.”

Combat sports licensed and regulated in Florida include boxing, kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). A portion of each professional license fee is dedicated to funding the annual Unlicensed Activity Media Campaign. The laws that govern professional events versus amateur events differ but the rules are upheld equally.

Amateur events across the state must be sanctioned by a licensed Amateur Sanctioning Organization (ASO) which is required to report the event. The FSBC is responsible for approving amateur boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts sanctioning organizations. All ASOs in the state are required to ensure that the amateur rules regarding safety, proper conduct and equipment at boxing, kickboxing and MMA events are followed. No amateur participants may receive compensation for their participation.

Professional events are directly sanctioned by the FSBC. Each individual involved in a professional event is licensed by the FSBC, including participants, promoters, referees and timekeepers.

This fiscal year, the FSBC has already sanctioned 28 professional events throughout Florida including the largest professional boxing event held in Orlando organized by a leading promoter in the industry. With more than 1,000 licensees in Florida, the FSBC is charged with protecting the health and welfare of combat sports participants and others to maintain the integrity of the sport.

No matter whether it is an amateur or professional event, consumers and all individuals involved in combat sports events should verify licenses to prevent participating in or attending an unlicensed or unsanctioned event. If someone suspects an event is not in compliance with Florida law, they are encouraged to contact DBPR and file a complaint online at or call 850.487.1395.

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