Lucio Files Bill to Eliminate "Toughman" Competitions
AUSTIN--This week Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. filed Senate Bill 34 to ban elimination tournaments. These tournaments, of which "Toughman" is the best known, are the most dangerous and violent form of boxing currently allowed in Texas. Contestants in these fights are average individuals who enter these fights as amateurs with little or no training and do not undergo sufficient medical or physical checks.
"I am determined to end these brutal contests in Texas," said Sen. Lucio. "I will not let these promoters profit at the expense of Texans being injured or killed for cheap entertainment."
In the last year, four people have died and dozens have been harmed as a result of head injuries suffered during these Toughmen competitions. Just last month, Stacy Young, a 30-year-old mother of two died as a result of severe brain injuries during a fight in Sarasota, Florida. Texas has not been immune from these tragedies, two of the dead in the last year have been from Texas.
Last January, during the regular legislative session, Sen. Lucio filed SB 909 to eliminate these Toughman competitions. The bill easily passed the Senate and was later amended to another bill, SB 279. Unfortunately, in Conference Committee, the bill was significantly weakened during the waning days of the session. The provisions that were able to pass, included requiring fighters to register 30 days in advance of a fight and to be excluded from fighting again for 90 days if they lose.
"While these changes should help reduce some injuries and keep people from signing up at the spur-of-the-moment, I believe we owe it to the victims and their families to stop this form of fighting altogether," Sen. Lucio added. "I'm hopeful the Legislature will be able to consider this issue during the current Special Session. If not, the Toughman promoters can be sure of one thing - I'll be back!"
Note: Staff member handling legislation is Ian Randolph, legislative director.