Fight Club Abuse Exposed in Texas School for the Disabled; Fight Clubs and Ultimate Fighting Championship Test Local Laws
Residents at a Corpus Christi, Texas school for the disabled were forced by school employees to participate in "fight club" style battles. As Texas fights to reign in neglect and abuse in its institutions for the disabled, other states including North Carolina have begun to enforce laws that regulate fighting events beyond the traditional boxing.
The Dallas Morning News reports that employees of the Corpus Christi State School filmed fights which they prompted between profoundly disabled residents over a span from 2007 into 2008. Corpus Christi Police Capt. Tim Wilson stated that he had "heard of isolated incidents before, but what's most appalling is that it's obvious this is organized." As the Dallas Morning News notes, this comes at a time when Texas has already come under heat from the Department of Justice regarding systemic abuse and widespread civil rights abuses at its schools for the disabled.
On the same day that officials acknowledged evidence of the fights, the Texas Senate unanimously passed an emergency measure that will establish an ombudsman to audit and investigate injuries and deaths in the state's 13 institutions for the disabled. According to the Dallas Morning News, the measure also calls for security cameras in all the schools, as well as fingerprinting, background checks, and random drug tests for all employees.
Outside the realm of disabled individuals under state care, organized fighting events continue to test the boundaries of state criminal laws, sporting regulations and accepted entertainment.
Last week, the Burlington Times News reported that a man in Melbane, North Carolina became the first to be charged with violating North Carolina's law regulating mixed martial arts fighting events. North Carolina added kickboxing, mixed martial arts matches and toughman events to its regulation of boxing events. Lannie Wells Jones Jr. has been charged with running unregulated Ultimate Fighting Championship-style fights involving teens at his tattoo parlor, the Torture Chamber.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the widely promoted mixed martial arts fights, seen by some as inspiring home made blood sport, itself still tests legal boundaries in many states. As the Nashville Business Journal reported, Tennessee recently became the 37th state to legalize UFC events.
In other places, including the state of New York, as reported by New York Magazine, UFC remains illegal. In Quebec, where UFC events have been staged in the past, the Toronto Sun recently reported that organizers of a sold out April UFC event are scrambling for a fix after Quebec's provincial government made clear that local regulations prohibit many moves allowed by UFC rules, such as knee and elbow strikes and attacking an opponent who is down.
- Criminal Law FAQ (provided by Gulas & Stuckey, P.C.)
- Guardianship of Incapacitated or Disabled Persons (FindLaw)
- Legislature face-off at hand over Texas' schools for disabled (Dallas Morning News)
- December 2008 Report from US DOJ to Texas Governor Rick Perry re Investigation of Texas Schools [pdf]
- The UFC® Fact Sheet (UFC)
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