The New York State Athletic Commission or NYSAC, also known as the New York Athletic Commission, is a division of the New York State Department of State which regulates all contests and exhibitions of unarmed combat within the state of New York, including licensure and supervision of promoters, boxers, professional wrestlers, seconds, ring officials, managers, and matchmakers. In 2016, the NYSAC was authorized to oversee all mixed martial arts contests in New York.
The commission is based in New York City.
The NYSAC was founded in 1911, when the Frawley Law legalized prizefighting in New York state. The bill was signed on July 26, 1911 and that same day Governor John Alden Dix appointed Bartow S. Weeks, John J. Dixon, and Frank S. O'Neil to serve on the state athletic commission. Weeks declined to serve on the commission so James Edward Sullivan was appointed for the final seat.
The Frawley Law was repealed in 1917 and the state athletic commission was disbanded. In 1920 the Walker Law reestablished legal boxing in the state. In 1921, Governor Nathan L. Miller appointed William Muldoon, Frank Dwyer, and George K. Morris to reformed state athletic commission. The National Boxing Association (NBA) was established in 1921 by other U.S. states to counter the influence of the NYSAC. Sometimes the NYSAC and the NBA recognized different boxers as World Champion, especially in 1927–40. In 1962, the NBA renamed itself the World Boxing Association, and in 1963 the NYSAC supported the formation of the World Boxing Council.
Cathy Davis sued the NYSAC in 1977 because she was denied a boxing license because she was a woman, and the case was decided in her favor later that year, with the judge
invalidating New York State rule number 205.15, which stated, “No woman may be licensed as a boxer or second or licensed to compete in any wrestling exhibition with men.” In his opinion the judge cited the precedent set by Garrett v. New York State Athletic Commission (1975), which “found the regulation invalid under the equal protection clauses of the State and Federal Constitutions”. The NYSAC filed an appeal of the ruling, but later dropped it.
Rules and Regulations (past and present)
1929 Weights and classes
Boxing Rules of Athletic Commission of the State of New York
(As published in Self-Defense Sporting Annual 1929, p. 14.)
- The referee shall order the power:
- (a) To cast the third vote, in which case the three votes shall be of equal value. In the event of two votes coinciding, the result shall be so determined. In the event of all votes disagreeing, the contest shall be declared a draw.
- (b) To stop a bout or contest at any stage and make a decision if he considers it too one-sided.
- (c) To stop a bout or contest if he considers the competitors are not in earnest. In this case he may disqualify one or both contestants.
- (d) To disqualify a contestant who commits a foul and to award decision to opponent.
- The referee shall not touch the contesting boxers, except on failure of one or both contestants to obey the "break" command.
- When a contestant is "down" the referee and timekeeper shall at once commence calling off the seconds and indicating the count with a motion of the arm. If the contestant fails to rise before count of ten, the referee shall declare him the loser.
- Should a contestant who is "down" arise before count of ten is reached and again go down intentionally, without being struck, the referee and timekeeper shall resume count where it left off.
- Should a contestant leave the ring during the one-minute rest period between rounds and fail to be in ring when gong rings to resume boxing, the referee shall count him out, the same as if he were "down."
- If a contestant is down, his opponent shall retire to the farthest corner and remain there until the count is completed. Should he fail to do so, the referee and timekeeper may cease counting until he has so retired.
- Referee shall decide all questions arising during a contest which are not specifically covered by these rules.
- The two judges shall be stationed at opposite sides of the ring. The decisions of the judges shall be based primarily on effectiveness, taking into account the following points:
- 1. A clean, forceful hit, landed on any vulnerable part of the body above the belt should be credited in proportion to its damaging effect.
- 2. Aggressiveness is next in importance and points should be awarded to the contestant who sustains the action of a round by the greatest number of skillful attacks.
- 3. Defensive work is relatively important and points should be given for cleverly avoiding or blocking a blow.
- 4. Points should be awarded where ring generalship is conspicuous. The comprises such points as the ability to quickly grasp and take advantage of every opportunity offered, the capacity to cope with all kinds of situations which may arise; to foresee and neutralize an opponent's method of attack; to force an opponent to adopt a style of boxing at which he is not particularly skillful.
- 5. It is advisable to deduct points when a contestant persistently delays the action of a contest by clinching and lack of aggressiveness.
- 6. Points should be deducted for a foul even though it is unintentional and not of a serious nature to warrant disqualification.
- 7. A contestant should be given credit for sportsmanlike actions in the ring, close adherence to the spirit as well as the letter of the rules and for refraining from taking technical advantage of situations unfair to an opponent.
- 8. In order to arrive at a true conclusion every point should be carefully observed and noted as the contest progresses, the decision going to the contestant who scores the greatest number of effective points regardless of the number of rounds won or lost.
- When neither contestant has a decided margin in effectiveness, the winner should be determined on points scored and aggressiveness.