Lawmakers Sparring Over Legislation About Actual Fighting

Verbal sparring over legislation is nothing new at the General Assembly. But this time the debate is about physical fighting, particularly the kind in a ring.

House members last month passed a bill that could intentionally make toughman events too expensive to organize. The bill, sponsored by Democratic Representative Alice Bordsen of Alamance County, would require a minimum 250-thousand-dollar insurance policy on
each fighter at toughman events.

These are single-elimination tournaments of amateur boxers that usually attract local talent with little experience.

Chuck Lanier of Cary is a sports marketing company owner who puts on some toughman matches. He says the measure could mean only a few promoters, if any, would remain in the business.

Another bill would legalize mixed martial arts, in which fighters use a combination of martial arts, boxing and wrestling to try to defeat an opponent.

The sport is gaining lots of fans on television and the Internet, thanks to several leagues and rules that promote safety.