Apply for a Referee License
On this page:
What Does a Referee Do?
Referees are responsible for enforcing the rules of the bouts and must exercise immediate authority, direction and control over bouts.
Do I Need a License?
Combative sports referees who officiate a regulated professional or amateur event in Texas must be licensed.
You must demonstrate the ability to perform the functions of a referee by meeting one of the two training pathways below:
You can demonstrate your qualification by completing a training program approved by TDLR that consists of classroom training and an internship program.
Experience can be evidenced by meeting at least one of the following conditions:
- You have at least three years of active experience as a referee in the specific sport for which you are applying (e.g. boxing, MMA, etc.), and you have officiated at least 10 events per year
- You have previously held a Texas referee’s license that was previously in good standing, but has expired
- You are currently licensed (in good standing) as a referee in another state that has substantially equivalent licensing standards to those of Texas
- You are currently licensed (in good standing) as a referee by the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation, or World Boxing Organization.
Application and Fee
To begin your application, submit a completed Combative Sports Referee License Application Form (PDF) and include the non-refundable fee of $125.
You must be at least 21 years old to apply for a referee license.
Send the completed application form and any required materials by mail to TDLR.
- By Fax: (512) 463-1087
- By Mail:
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
Combative Sports Program
PO Box 12157
Austin, TX 78711-2157
You must specify on the application the class of endorsement you are applying for:
- Boxing (type B)
- MMA and Kickboxing (type M)
You may only officiate events within a certain class (e.g. boxing, MMA) if your license has an endorsement in that same class.
Prohibited Actions and Behavior
Licensed referees who violate the laws and rules may be subject to fines of up to $5,000 per occurrence and suspension, revocation, or denial of their license.
- If your referee license is approved, you cannot have a direct or indirect financial interest in any contestant.
- Licensed referees cannot participate in any illegal combative sports events.
For a complete list of penalties, see the Combative Sports Penalties and Sanctions webpage.
Responsibilities of Referees
If you have questions about the law or rules, please contact TDLR by email, or call us at (512) 659-5034.
Applicants with Criminal Convictions
If you have ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor (other than a minor traffic violation) or pleaded guilty or no contest (resulting in a deferred adjudication) to any in-state, out-of-state or federal criminal offense, you must provide a completed Criminal History Questionnaire (PDF) along with your application materials.
The department will conduct a criminal history background check on all persons who apply for a license. Criminal convictions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Licenses may be denied based on the nature of the conviction and how long prior to the application the conviction occurred. Depending on your criminal history, a review can take from one to six weeks to complete.
Individuals may request TDLR review their criminal background before actually applying for a license. TDLR uses the same process for this pre-application evaluation as the process described below. See the Criminal History Evaluation Letter page for more information.
Please see the Guidelines for License Applicants with Criminal Convictions, which describe the process that TDLR uses to determine whether a criminal conviction renders an applicant an unsuitable candidate for the license, or whether a conviction warrants revocation or suspension of a license previously granted.