Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sports Law Blog Sparring Session Round I

This is the first post in a series of posts that will review of legal, regulatory, and contractual Issues in Boxing and MMA from the past several months. These posts are largely taken from a longer article I wrote for 8 Count News.

Could Tyson Get Crapped on for Keeping Pigeons in New York?

In honor of the debut of Animal Planet’s “Taking on Tyson,” I took a moment to research whether it is illegal to raise pigeons in New York, Mike Tyson’s home state. The answer, in short, is no, unless he does so without a permit or in contravention of local law, or the government or administrative body in question finds the subject pigeon coop to be a “menace to public health” or a “public nuisance.” Pigeons are also not permitted to be taken “in a manner which will endanger other animal life, persons or property.” As far as other legal rights and issues facing “Taking on Tyson,” PETA has, of course, exercised its rights under the First Amendment to oppose the show since they believe that Tyson’s housing of pigeons and use of them for sport constitutes cruelty to animals. This author, for one, would not want to be the person to throw animal’s blood on Tyson in any protest.

Not Everything is Coming Up Sweet for “Kid Cinnamon” This Year

He might have laid waste to Matthew (Magic) Hatton this past weekend, but there is one opponent on the horizon that may score a knockout over surging junior middleweight contender Saul (Canelo) Alvarez: All- Star Boxing. Back in late January, All-Star Boxing filed a lawsuit against Canelo (Spanish for “cinnamon tree”) and his promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, in Florida alleging breach of contract as to Alvarez and tortious interference in contractual relations against Golden Boy. Here’s assuming that Golden Boy will find some sugar to sprinkle on All-Star Boxing (or bury it in dispositive motion papers) to make sure that Canelo will be free and clear to add a jolt of flavor to their events for many years to come.

Daniel Podiatrist de Leon?

The co-main event of Alvarez-Hatton featured one of the more novel corner instructions that the author can recall: step on his foot. As translated by HBO, that is exactly what Daniel Ponce de Leon was told to do early in his mysteriously unsuccessful bout against undefeated super featherweight prospect Adrien (The Problem) Broner. And that is exactly what Ponce de Leon did, quite conspicuously, over the next several rounds. Should the referee have admonished Ponce de Leon, or have taken away a point for his repeatedly stepping on, or trying to step on, Broner’s foot? Under New York law at least, deliberately stepping on your opponent’s feet is not listed as either a major or a minor foul. Stomp on then, young warriors!

Michigan Leaves No Room for Mishegas in its Enforcement of Its MMA Regulations

Michigan, which began regulating mixed martial arts last year, made headlines back in late January when it was reported that it has now filed its inaugural complaint for violations of its new regulations. The respondent to this complaint was Stephen George Daher, a licensed timekeeper in the employ of the Michigan Unarmed Combat Commission, who was accused of not timely stopping the first round of the middleweight bout between Maiquel Falcao and Gerald Harris during UFC 123. The author will keep an eye on this matter to see if Michigan gets to successfully send a message to stay in strict compliance with its new rules.

Will 2011 Be the Year That Jack Johnson Scores His Final Knockout?

Arizona Senator John McCain and New York Representative Peter King announced recently that they plan to reintroduce a Congressional resolution urging a pardon of former heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, who was convicted in 1913 of violating the Mann Act for allegedly transporting a woman across state lines for immoral purposes by an all-white jury. A racially polarizing case for generations and blot on the history of the American jury system, here’s hoping the resolution finally passes after several previous efforts and President Barack Obama, the first African-American president, takes the opportunity to pardon Johnson, the first African-American to win world heavyweight championship.