Frequently Asked Questions


2021 Legislative Changes to Combative Sports

1. Did the most recent legislative session change the Texas Combative Sports Law?

Yes. House Bill 1560 (HB 1560), passed by the 87th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, revised the combative sports statute to no longer require the licensing of Seconds, Matchmakers and Event Coordinators.

The changes were effective September 1, 2021.

2. Are previously licensed Seconds, Matchmakers, and Event Coordinators eligible to work events in that capacity after the September 1, 2021, effective date?

Yes. The difference now is that they no longer need a license to do so.

3. What happens to Seconds, Matchmakers, and Event Coordinators licenses that are still active on September 1, 2021?

As of September 1, 2021, these licenses become obsolete. Although they are technically valid until expiration, the legal requirement to be licensed is no longer in effect.

4. If my license doesn’t expire until after September 1, 2021, will I get some sort of refund?

No. The application fee is for the time spent processing your application, which was completed, and is non-refundable.

5. Are Seconds completely un-regulated now that they’re no longer licensed?

No. Seconds will be required to register with TDLR at each event and will be expected to follow the rules and regulations established in Chapter 61 of Texas Administrative Code for those events.

6. Who is responsible for ensuring that Seconds comply with the rules and regulations?

Contestants may be penalized if their Seconds don’t comply with the rules and regulations in the combative sports statute and rules.

7. Are there any penalties for Seconds who don’t comply with the rules and regulations?

Not technically. However, Seconds who do not comply with the rules and regulations can be banned from assisting any contestant in the State of Texas. A complaint against a contestant may be filed with possible monetary penalties.

8. How many Seconds will a contestant be allowed to have now?

Contestants must have a minimum of two and a maximum of four seconds. This is the same as it was prior to September 1, 2021.


Licensing Questions

1. How can I get a Promoter license?

Each promoter applicant must submit:

  1. a completed application form along with the $900 application fee;

  2. two $15,000.00 surety bonds

  3. an interview with Combative Sports personnel, if applying for a promoter's license for the first time.

2. How do I obtain a surety bond?

You may contact an insurance company or a bonding company. You can search the Texas Department of Insurance website, http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/general/forms/agentlists.html or call 800-578-4677 (Texas only) or 512-463-6169 to see if a specific insurance or bonding company is authorized to write bonds. To locate a bonding company check the yellow pages of the phone book under "bonds."

3. Why does a Promoter need two surety bonds?

One $15,000.00 surety bond guarantees payment of all obligations, except gross receipts taxes arising out of events promoted by the applicant.

The other $15,000.00 surety bond guarantees payment of gross receipts taxes owed for events promoted by the applicant.

Both bonds must be written by a bonding company authorized to do business in the state of Texas and shall remain in effect for four years after the effective cancellation date.

4. How do I apply to be a Referee?

  • (a) To qualify for a new license as a referee, an applicant must submit an application with the fee of $125.00, and:
    • (1) be at least 21 years of age;
    • (2) not have been convicted of a felony;
    • (3) demonstrate the ability to perform the functions of a referee by:
      • (A) having completed a training program provided by, or approved by the Executive Director, that consists of classroom training and an internship program; or,
      • (B) meeting one or more of the following;
        • (i) having at least three years active experience as a referee in the combative sport in which he seeks endorsement by having officiated in at least ten combative sporting events per year;
        • (ii) being currently licensed as a referee in a state that the Executive Director has determined has licensing requirements that are equivalent to Texas’ requirements; or
        • (iii) having formerly held a Texas referee’s license that lapsed in good standing.
  • (b) Referee licenses will be endorsed with one or more of the following legends:
    • (1) B (Boxing)
    • (2) KB (Kick-boxing); and
    • (3) MMA (Mixed martial arts).
  • (c) An endorsement may be obtained by completion of classroom training and an internship program provided or approved by the Executive Director for that class of endorsement.
  • (d) Persons renewing licenses, or obtaining new licenses on the basis of holding a license from another state or formerly having held a Texas license, may obtain one or more endorsements by providing proof acceptable to the Executive Director of previous experience refereeing contests in the class of endorsement(s) sought.

5. How do I apply to be a licensed Contestant?

To become a licensed Contestant:

  1. Send a completed contestant application form with a $20 contestant fee; and
  2. include an annual comprehensive medical exam, an ophthalmologist / optometrist eye exam, and negative results for Hepatitis B antigen and Hepatitis C antibody and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibody.
  3. If you are a person age 36 or older,you must submit a report of favorable physical testing including, but not limited to, an EEG (electroencephalography), and an EKG (electrocardiogram).

6. Is a license required to operate a boxing gym?

No, training facilities are not required to be registered or licensed with the state.

7. Is a license/registration required to promote Amateur Combative Sports?

Yes, a registration is required. You must submit a completed application and return it to this office with proof that the association is either a non-profit organization chartered by the State of Texas or that it is approved as a non-profit organization under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.

An Amateur Combative Sports Association shall file with the registration form, rules for conducting the organization’s affairs and the conduct of its members.

An Amateur Combative Sports Association that has adopted rules permitted under Combative Sports Rules, § 61.48 subsection (b)(2) must, before it sponsors or participates in any event, submit to the Executive Director a $15,000 surety bond, written by a bonding company authorized to do business in the State of Texas, guaranteeing payment of gross receipts taxes owed for promoted events; the bond must remain in effect for four years after the effective cancellation date.

Upon receipt of the above-described application you will be required to interview with Combative Sports staff in the Austin office of The Department of Licensing and Regulation.

8. Do I need to answer all questions on the application?

Yes, you must answer all questions on the application to receive a license.

9. How long do I have to renew my license?

Effective September 1, 2011, your license may be renewed up to 18 months after the license expiration date.


General Questions

1. How can I gain Referee experience?

You may obtain referee experience through participation in the Amateur programs and attending Department-approved seminars.

2. How much are Referees paid?

This is generally set by the promoter. Pay may be based on the size and location of the event.

3. What are the age restrictions for Contestants?

The department can not issue a license to anyone under age 17. Minors age 17, but not yet 18, may be issued a contestant's license with a notarized written consent from a parent or guardian.

4. Can men and women compete against each other in combative sports?

No, matches between men and women are prohibited.


Enforcement Questions

1. How do I file a complaint?

You may submit your complaint online, download the Complaint Form from our website, or contact the Enforcement Division at 800-803-9202 (Texas only) or 512-463-2906.


Promoter Questions

Promoters should read the following questions and answers to ensure combative sports events are in compliance with Texas requirements. The Department is dedicated to the safety of combative sports participants and in assuring that combative sports events are conducted in compliance with the Department’s combative sports statute and rules. The public and those who attend or view combative sports events are also expected to receive value for their money when attending and/or viewing a combative sports event.

Submitting all documents in the time frames indicated below allows Austin Headquarters staff time to complete administrative duties, assign officials and inspectors, and to work on multiple events while maintaining consistency in the process. No bouts or fighters will be approved unless all proper medical and administrative requirements have been completed and are in compliance with Department requirements.

1. Who must the licensed promoter contact to obtain approval for an event and where are all combative sports event documentation submitted?

The licensed promoter must obtain written approval from the TDLR Combative Sports staff at Austin Headquarters only.

  • Greg Alvarez – 512-659-5034

Submit all requests and documentation to:

    • Mail: TDLR
      Combative Sports Program
      P.O. Box 12157
      Austin, TX 78711
    • Hand Delivery: TDLR
      Combative Sports Program
      920 Colorado
      Austin, TX 78701
  • FAX: 512/463-1087

2. How do I secure an event date?

You must submit an Advance Notice at least 21 days prior to the date of the combative sports event which assures you of locking in a date for the event.

The Advance Notice form may be obtained on the TDLR web site at:

http://www.tdlr.texas.gov/sports/Advance%20notice.pdf

3. When must I receive written approval for the fight card from the Austin Headquarters staff?

You must obtain written approval for the fight card at least 10 working days prior to the date of the contest.

4. What must my written request for approval of the fight card contain?

The request must contain:

  1. full legal name of contestant
  2. address of contestant
  3. contestant’s date of birth
  4. contestant’s Texas license number
  5. contestant’s Federal ID number (if applicable)
  6. number of rounds to be fought
  7. a copy of the current Fight Fax (Boxing) or fighters’ profile (MMA) showing their professional debut verification and previous record (if applicable)
  8. information for the weigh-in

5. When is the weigh-in scheduled?

You must schedule the weigh-in at a specific time and place approved by the Austin Headquarters staff. The weigh-in must be between the hours of 2:00 pm the day before the event and 9:30 am the day of the event. No weigh-in will be conducted after 12:00 noon the day of the event.

6. What are the fight card requirements and how many total rounds are required for a combative sports event?

Schedule no less than 24 or more than 60 rounds for each boxing event. No bout shall exceed 10 rounds, except a championship or title bout which shall not exceed 12 rounds. A sparring or exhibition bout shall not exceed three rounds.

Schedule no less than 6 or more than 15 bouts for each mixed martial arts event.

7. When must the required contestant medical insurance be provided for an event?

You must provide the required contestant medical insurance10 days before an event. A minimum limit of $50,000 for injuries and $100,000 for death is required for each contestant.

Note: The insurance binder must specify the number of maximum bouts covered by the insurance policy.

8. What is the deadline for submitting all contestant applications and associated required paperwork to TDLR’s Austin Combative Sports staff for review and processing?

You should complete and submit all contestant licensing requirements to Combative Sports staff within 72 hours prior to the event.

You will be notified by e-mail or fax of contestant applications which are not in compliance with Department requirements.

9. When may Federal Identification Card applications be completed?

Federal Identification Card applications may be completed at any time prior to competing.

Note: Federal Identification Card applications must be accompanied by 2 passport size photographs and proper fee for processing.


Communication Questions

1. How may I receive notification of new and changing information with your department?

You may sign up on the TDLR E-mail Subscriber Notification Lists on our website at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/TXDLR/subscriber/topics?qsp=CODE_RED. These list(s) were established to allow subscribers to receive automated notification of new and changing information.