New Mexico Joins Jurisdictions With Legalized Bare Knuckle Boxing

Adding to this site’s efforts to track the growing legality of Bare Knuckle Boxing, New Mexico has recently approved the sport.

Title 15, Chapter 6, Part 19 came into force last year and sets out the framework for legal BKB in the land of enchantment. The full rules read as follows:



PART 19              CONDUCT OF BARE-KNUCKLE CONTESTS               ISSUING AGENCY:  New Mexico Athletic Commission.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]               SCOPE:  The provisions in Part 19 apply to all licensees of the commission.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]               STATUTORY AUTHORITY:  Part 19 of Chapter 6 of Title 15 is promulgated pursuant to the Professional Athletic Competition Act, Sections 60-2A-1 through 60-2A-30, NMSA 1978 (1980 Repl. Pamp.); specifically Sections 60-2A-2, 60-2A-4, 60-2A-8, 60-2A-9, 60-2A-10, 60-2A-20, 60-2A-21, 60-2A-29, and 60-2A-31.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]               DURATION:  Permanent.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]               EFFECTIVE DATE: June 11, 2021, unless a later date is cited at the end of a section.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]               OBJECTIVE:  The objective of Part 19 of Chapter 6 is to set forth all commission requirements for the conduct of any bare-knuckle contests regulated by the commission.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]               DEFINITIONS:

                A.            “Contests” are considered “bare-knuckle contests” and not “fights” or “prize fights.”

                B.            “Down” means that some part of the contestant’s body other than their feet is on the ring floor; or the contestant is hanging helplessly on the ring ropes/cage; or the contestant is rising from a down position.

                C.            “KO” means loss by a knockout

                D.            “TKO” means loss by a technical knockout and refers to the ending of a bout by a referee for any reason other than a count-out or a disqualification.


                A.            Notice of change required: A notice of any change in the announced or advertised programs for any main event contest must be filed with, and approved by, the commission at least 48 hours before the weighing-in time of the contest.

                B.            Posting of notice: Notices of any such change or substitution must also be conspicuously posted at all box offices on the premises and announced from the ring before the opening contest.

                C.            Refund policy: If any patrons apply for refunds on their purchased tickets, the promoter or promoting corporation shall make such refunds upon demand, provided such tickets are presented at the box office on the day or night of the contest.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]               DURATION OF MATCHES: All matches must be between three and five rounds with all championship fights lasting five rounds.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]             BARE-KNUCKLE ROUNDS:

                A.            Number of rounds allowed: There shall be no less than 17 scheduled rounds on any one program, unless otherwise approved by the commission.

                B.            Round duration and intermission between rounds for contestants: Each round shall be no more than three minutes in duration and there shall be a 90 second rest period intermission allowed between rounds.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]             CONTESTANTS’ SECONDS:

                A.            Approval of seconds by commission: the commission must approve all seconds.

                                (1)           Each contestant must submit the name of his chief second and his assistant second to the commission for approval.

                                (2)           Only seconds approved by the commission shall be permitted in the contestant’s corner.

                                (3)           Before the fight begins, the referee must be informed who the chief second is.

                B.            Number of seconds per contestant:

                                (1)           The maximum number of seconds a contestant may have is three.

                                (2)           Only one of a fighter’s seconds will be permitted inside the ring/ropes/cage between rounds.

                C.            Conduct of seconds:

                                (1)           Seconds must remain seated during each round.

                                (2)           Seconds must not interfere with or move a fighter who has been knocked down until they are instructed to do so by the ringside physician.

                                (3)           Seconds are prohibited from entering the ring between rounds and assisting a contestant back to his corner unless the contest has been terminated by the referee or ringside physician.

                                (4)           A second may step on the ring apron to retire their fighter in defeat.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]             CONTESTANTS’ EQUIPMENT:

                A.            Wrapped Hands: The following requirements apply to the wrapping of a fighter’s hands for a bareknuckle fight.

                                (1)           Hands shall be wrapped with gauze and athletic tape that ends no closer than one inch from the fighter’s knuckles. The wrap must include the wrist and may travel up to three inches past the junction of the wrist bone.

                                (2)           Gauze may be applied to the wrist, palm of the hand, back of the hand, and thumb. The length of gauze to be utilized may not exceed a length of 10 feet per hand.

                                (3)           Tape may be applied to the wrist, palm of the hand, back of the hand, and thumb. The tape shall not be greater than one inch in width and shall not exceed 10 feet in length per hand.

                                (4)           The use of water, plaster, ointments, Vaseline, glues or any other liquid or materials to the hand wraps or bandages is strictly prohibited.

                B.            Shoes: Shoes are required and must be soft material that are not fitted with spikes, cleats, hard soles, or hard heels shall be permitted in the ring.

                C.            Mouthpieces: Each contestant shall wear an individually fitted mouthpiece that shall remain in the contestant’s mouth at all times during the competition.

                                (1)           The round cannot begin until the contestants are wearing mouthpieces.

                                (2)           If the mouthpiece is dislodged during competition, the referee will call time at the first opportune moment without interfering with the immediate action and have the mouthpiece replaced.

                                (3)           The referee shall direct the other contestant to the farthest neutral corner and escort the contestant with the dislodged mouthpiece to the contestant’s corner to have the mouthpiece rinsed and replaced.

                                (4)           The referee may deduct points or disqualify a participant if he deems that the mouthpiece is being intentionally spit out.

                D.            Abdominal guards: Contestants may wear an abdominal guard of a standard type that provides sufficient protection to withstand any low blow. The use of this equipment shall be determined by the fighters or promotion on an individual basis.

                E.            Attire and groin protection: All contestants shall be required to wear shorts or boxing trunks, the belt of which shall not extend above the waistline and protective cups/groin protectors that are properly fitted and shall be firmly in place before the contestant enters the ring. All trunks shall be without pockets.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]             NUMBER OF BARE-KNUCKLE CONTEST OFFICIALS REQUIRED:  There shall be at least two physician in attendance at all times, one of which must remain ringside.  In addition, at least the following officials shall be present at each contest:

                A.            one referee;

                B.            three judges;

                C.            one timekeeper; and

                D.            one announcer.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]             POSITION OF JUDGES AND PHYSICIANS:

                A.            Judges: The judges shall be stationed at opposite sides of the ring.

                B.            Physicians: The physician shall be stationed at places designated by the commission representative in charge.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]             FEMALE FIGHTERS:  The weight classes for female fighter shall be the same as used by male fighters.

                A.            A female fighter shall not engage in a contest with a male fighter.

                B.            Female contestants shall be permitted to wear a body shirt or blouse without buttons, buckles or ornaments.  Other apparel or equipment is prohibited.

                C.            All female fighters must provide a negative pregnancy test prior to each bout.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]             BARE-KNUCKLE CONTESTANTS:

                A.            All event contestants: All contestants, participating in the program must report to the designated dressing room of the event premises no later than one hour before the commencement of the first scheduled contest unless otherwise permitted by the New Mexico Athletic Commission.

                B.            Confinement to dressing rooms: All contestants will remain in their dressing rooms until ordered to the ring by the commission representative in charge.

                C.            Physical appearance: All finger nails must not extend past the tip of the fingers and thumbs.

                D.            Contestant’s ring costume:

                                (1)           Each contestant on a program must provide himself with a ring costume approved by the commission.

                                (2)           No makeup or cosmetics shall be applied to a fighter’s face.

                E.            Contestant’s conduct after contest is finished: After the decision of any contest has been announced, each contestant and his seconds must leave the ring at once and retire to the contestant’s dressing room after being cleared by a ring-side physician.

                F.            Contestant’s minimum age: No fighter shall be less than 18 years old at the time the sign a contract to fight.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]             WEIGHING-IN CEREMONIES:

                A.            Schedules of ceremonies: The times and places of all weigh-in ceremonies for indoor or outdoor programs shall be determined by the commission.  However, all weigh-ins shall take place no later than twelve o’clock noon on the day of the contest.

                B.            Contestant weigh-ins: All contestants shall be weighed-in on scales approved by the commission, and in the presence of their opponents and the commission representative.

                C.            Postponement of weigh-in: In the event a contest is postponed, for any reason whatsoever, more than 24-hours prior to the contest, a second weigh-in and additional physical examinations may be required on the day to which the contest has been rescheduled.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]             LICENSURE OF AGENTS REQUIRED:  The commission shall issue licenses to all agents present to perform functions representative of the commission at a Bare-Knuckle program.  This requirement shall include, cut men, seconds, managers, and any others performing duties specified and ordered by the commission at a program.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]             THE REFEREE:

                A.            Referee’s wearing apparel: The commission shall prescribe the type, style, and color of the referee’s apparel.

                B.            Referee instructs the contestants: Before the start of each contest, the referee must call the contestants together for final instructions.  Each contestant may only be accompanied by his chief second, except in cases where a contestant also requires the services of an interpreter.  After receiving the referee’s instructions, the contestants shall shake hands and retire to their respective corners to await the gong for the first round.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]             INSPECTORS:

                A.            Appointed by the commission: The commission shall appoint inspectors to be present at all contests.  Inspectors shall work in cooperation and in conjunction with any police officers as may be detailed for this duty at contests.

                B.            Prohibitions to assigning officials: The commission will not and shall not assign officials who are directly or indirectly associated with, including but not limited to any financial interest in, the management of any contestant; or who is an individual promoter; or who is a stockholder in, or employee of, a promoter corporation or an unincorporated club or association engaged in the promotion of contests.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]             PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES:

                A.            Excessive spraying of water on contestant: Any excessive or undue spraying or throwing of water on any contestant between rounds is forbidden.

                B.            Application of monsel’s solution: The application of monsel’s solution, or any use of its derivatives on the body of the contestant between rounds, is prohibited.

                C.            Persons forbidden to coach contestants: The licensed promoter, matchmaker and any promotion employees or contract employees are forbidden from coaching any contestant at any time during the progress of any contest.

                D.            Persons disqualified from officiating: Officials, directors, matchmakers, or stockholders of any promoting corporation or licensed club are disqualified from officiating in any capacity at any contest conducted by such corporation.  They are also prohibited from interfering in any way with the contestants participating in said program.

                E.            Persons prohibited from holding financial interest in contest: No official or employee of this commission, or of its medical panels or medical advisory board, and no judge or referee licensed by this commission may, directly or indirectly, have any financial interest in any contestant, wrestler, promoting corporation, or in any manager’s contract with any licensed athlete, or in any assignment thereof.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]             OUTDOOR CONTESTS:  The following special rules and regulations pertain to outdoor programs only.  All other rules and regulations of the commission not affected or modified below remain in full force and effect for all outdoor contests, as well as, other programs.

                A.            Postponement of event: In the event of rain immediately before or during the course of any outdoor program, except during the course of the main event, the promoter may postpone the program to a time and place approved by the commission.

                                (1)           An announcement giving the full details of the postponement shall be made by the promoter.

                                (2)           Any patron desiring a refund of the purchase price of his ticket may apply for the refund at the box office on the premises, except when the main contest is held on the scheduled date or one of the successive rain-out dates indicated on the ticket.

                                (3)           All contestants who have fulfilled their contracts before the rain-out, shall be paid in full by the promoter.

                                (4)           On the date to which the program is postponed, the promoter shall have scheduled substitute contests in such number and duration as directed by the commission.

                B.            Rearrangement or shortening of program: In the event of threatening weather and rain, the program of contests may be rearranged or shortened by the promoter with the consent of the commission representative in charge.

                C.            Reimbursement of expenses to contestants: All contestants in a contest who were unable to compete because of weather conditions or a rearrangement or shortening of the program, shall have their expenses and other fees paid by the promoter as the commission representative in charge may direct.

                D.            Stopping the contest because of rain: In the event that rain occurs after the main event is completed, the program shall be considered as having been completed.

                                (1)           In the event of rain during the progress of the main event, the contest shall be continued or stopped at the discretion of the commission representative in charge.

                                (2)           If the main contest is stopped, the provisions of Subsection A of NMAC as to postponement and refunds shall apply.


                A.            Contest elements considered: In scoring a contest, the elements of offense, defense, clean hitting, ring generalship and sportsmanship shall be carefully considered.

                B.            Scoring judges: Three judges approved by the commission shall evaluate each contest and score the contest.

                C.            “10 point” must system: The 10-point must system will be the standard system of scoring a bare-knuckle contest.

                D.            Winner’s points: The winner of any round is marked a “10”.

                E.            Loser’s points: The loser of any round is marked “one” to “nine”.

                F.            Mandatory eight-count: Mandatory eight-count will be the standard procedure in all contests.

                G.            Three knockdown rule: There shall be NO three-knockdown rule called in any contest.

                H.            20 second count: A contestant shall receive a 20-second count if he is knocked out of the ring and onto the floor.

                I.             Referee is sole arbiter: The referee is the sole arbiter of a contest and is the only individual authorized to stop a bout.

                J.             Knockdown rated: The referee shall call a knockdown as such as soon as it occurs.

                K.            Ring generalship: The contestant who takes advantage of the full “nine” count should be credited with “ring generalship”, which would not be credited to him if he arose immediately and tried to continue in a possibly groggy condition.

                L.            Foul blows: The use of foul blows and other tactics shall result in a penalty of one point for each foul committed, and the referee shall advise the judges immediately of the number of points to be deducted.

                M.           Disqualification for second’s assist: Contestants are to be unassisted by their seconds.  If a contestant is assisted by his second, the referee shall disqualify the fighter.

                N.            Saved by the bell: A contestant who has been knocked down cannot be saved by the bell in any round.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]             KNOCKDOWNS:

                A.            Judges scoring knockdowns: The judges may score a knockdown in any one round as either one or two points in favor of a contestant who scored the knockdown.

                B.            Judges score independently:Each judge must determine for himself which value shall be placed on the knockdown.


                A.            The Rounds Scoring: Judges shall clearly write their decision and sign their scorecards; and they must mark their cards in ink or in indelible pencil at the end of each round.

                B.            The tally: At the conclusion of the round, each judge must tally up the points he has awarded each contestant and submit the scorecard to the referee.

                C.            The decision: After the scorecards have all been checked by the commission representative, they must be returned to the announcer who shall announce the decision of the judges from the ring.

                D.            Main event protocol on announcing the decision: In main events, the announcer shall call out the points awarded by each judge.  The decision must then be awarded to the contestant with the greatest number of points on two of the scorecards.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]             MAJOR FOULS:

                A.            The following are major fouls.

                                (1)           Hitting an opponent who is down or who is rising from the down position.

                                (2)           Using the knee against the opponent.

                                (3)           Purposely going down without being hit.

                                (4)           Failure to heed the referee’s warning concerning low blows or other minor fouls.

                                (5)           Any dangerous and un-sportsmanlike conduct in the ring.

                                (6)           Throwing an opponent out of the ring or fenced area.

                                (7)           Attacking an opponent who is under the care of the referee.

                                (8)           Timidity, including, without limitation, avoiding contact with an opponent, intentionally or consistently dropping the mouthpiece or faking an injury.

                                (9)           Tripping an opponent.

                                (10)         Use of body lock throws to move your “opponent.”

                B.            The referee may disqualify the offending contestant, and award the bout or any points to the contestant being fouled.

                C.            Disqualification on fouls to the body mayonly occur if the referee deems that these fouls are flagrant or continual.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]             MINOR FOULS:

                A.            The following are minor fouls.

                                (1)           Holding an opponent.

                                (2)           Deliberately maintaining a clinch.

                                (3)           Hitting with the inside or butt of the hand, the wrist, or the elbow.

                                (4)           Backhanded blows.

                                (5)           Low blows.

                                (6)           Hitting or flicking with an open hand.

                                (7)           Wrestling or roughing the ropes.

                                (8)           Deliberately striking at the part of the body over the kidneys.

                                (9)           Use of a pivot blow or rabbit punch.

                                (10)         Hitting on the break.

                                (11)         Butting with the head.

                                (12)         Eye gouging of any kind.

                                (13)         Biting.

                                (14)         Hair pulling.

                                (15)         Fish hooking.

                                (16)         Groin attacks of any kind.

                                (17)         Putting a finger into any orifice or into any cut or laceration on an opponent

                                (18)         Small joint manipulation.

                                (19)         Striking to the spine or the back of the head.

                                (20)         Throat strikes of any kind, including, without limitation, grabbing the trachea.

                                (21)         Clawing, pinching or twisting the flesh.

                                (22)         Grabbing the clavicle.

                                (23)         Holding the shorts or wrists of an opponent.

                                (24)         Spitting at an opponent.

                                (25)         Holding the ropes or the fence.

                                (26)         Using abusive language in the ring or fenced area.

                                (27)         Interference by the corner.

                B.            It is within the discretion of the referee to determine whether the offending contestant should merely be warned, or have points deducted, for committing a minor foul.

                C.            If a fighter injures themselves while attempting to intentionally foul their opponent, the referee will not take any action in his favor, and this injury will be the same as one produced by a fair blow.


                A.            In the event that the referee determines that a foul has been committed, he shall notify the judges immediately.

                B.            The judges shall deduct one point from the offending contestant’s scores.

                C.            On any illegal blow to the body the referee may order a deduction of points and will give the necessary time for recovery to the injured fighter (with a maximum of five minutes) after consulting with the ringside physician.  If the referee rules this foul was accidental and after five minutes the injured fighter can’t continue, the rules governing accidental fouls shall apply.  A contestant who is hit with an accidental low blow must continue after the five-minute rest or he will lose the bout.

                D.            There may be a deduction of points by the referee at any time for illegal blows or conduct by the fighter or their corner men.

                E.            In the case of a clear and intentional foul that causes an injury and the contest can still continue, the contestant who was doing the fouling will have two points deducted.

                                (1)           The referee must stop the action and inform all judges and the commission or commission representative of this deduction.

                                (2)           Point deductions for intentional fouls will be at the referee discretion.

                                (3)           The referee has the authority to stop a bout or contest at any stage on account of an intentional foul being committed by either contestant. In such an event, in a bare-knuckle contest the referee may award the decision to the boxer who was intentionally fouled.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]             CONDITIONS FOR COUNTING A CONTESTANT OUT: A fighter who is hit with an accidental low blow must continue the contest after a reasonable time, but no more than five minutes, or he will lose the contest.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]             WRITTEN REPORT TO COMMISSION REGARDING FOULS: If, in any contest, a contestant is penalized with the loss of three or more rounds due to fouls, the referee and each judge must report the matter to the commission, in writing, within 24 hours.


                A.            Technical knockouts.

                                (1)           When a cut is produced by a legal punch and the contest is stopped because of that cut, the injured fighter shall lose by a technical knockout and the commissions shall enter the letters TKO in the record.

                                (2)           When a referee stops a contest to save any contestant from further punishment, he must award the other contestant the decision by a technical knockout.

                                (3)           If a fighter sustains an injury from a fair blow and the injury is severe enough to terminate the bout, the injured fighter will lose by a TKO.

                                                (a)           Any contestant losing by a TKO shall receive a minimum of a 30 day medical suspension.

                                                (b)           Any contestant losing by a KO shall receive a minimum of a 60 day medical suspension.

                B.            Technical decisions.

                                (1)           In the case where a clear and intentional foul causes an injury and the injury results in the contest being stopped in a later round, the injured contestant will win by a technical decision if he is ahead on the score cards.

                                (2)           If the accidental foul occurs after the completion of four rounds and the bout must be stopped immediately because the fouled contestant is injured severely enough that he cannot continue, a technical decision shall be awarded to the contestant who is ahead on the score cards at the time the bout is stopped.

                                                (a)           Partial or incomplete rounds will be scored.

                                                (b)           At the discretion of the Judges, if no action has occurred, the round may be scored as an even round.

                                (3)           If in the later rounds, the injury has worsened as a result of legal blows, and the injured fighter cannot continue, a decision shall be rendered by referring to the scorecards.  The judges, who must inform the commission and both contestants that the foul is the result of an accidental foul, shall score partial rounds.

                C.            Technical draws.

                                (1)           In the case where a clear and intentional foul causes an injury and the injury results in the contest being stopped in a later round, a technical draw will be declared if the injured contestant is even or behind on the scorecards.

                                (2)           If an accidental foul occurs before the completion of four rounds and the injured contestant cannot continue, the contest will be declared a technical draw.

                D.            Disqualifications.

                                (1)           In the case where an intentional foul causes an injury, and the injury is severe enough to terminate the bout immediately; the contestant causing the injury shall lose by disqualification, even if he is the injured contestant.

                                (2)           If the referee deems that a contestant has conducted himself in an un-sportsman-like manner, he may stop the bout and disqualify that contestant.

                E.            No contests: If, before four rounds are completed in a contest, an accidental foul causes an injury severe enough for the referee to stop the bout immediately, the bout will result in a no contest.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]             COUNTING:

                A.            Timekeeper calls off the seconds: When a contestant is down, the timekeeper shall immediately commence calling off the seconds indicating the count with a motion of his arm.

                B.            Referee picks up the count: When the timekeeper commences calling off the seconds, the referee must immediately order the other contestant to a neutral corner and shall pick up the count from the timekeeper, indicating the count with a motion of his arm.

                C.            Reaching the count of ten.

                                (1)           If a contestant is unable to continue at the count of 10, the referee shall declare the other contestant the winner by a knockout.

                                (2)           If a contestant who has fallen or has been knocked out of the ring during the contest fails to be on his feet in the ring before the expiration of 10 seconds, the referee shall count him out as if he were down.

                                (3)           A contestant who has fallen or has been knocked out of the ring must return to the ring unassisted.

                                (4)           If a contestant who has fallen fails to be on his feet in the ring at the time the round terminates, the timekeeper or referee, whoever has the count at the time, shall continue the count to 10.  If the contestant fails to rise before the count of 10, the bout shall be awarded to the other contestant by a knockout in the round just ended.

                                (5)           If a contestant has been knocked out of the ring at the time the round terminates, the timekeeper or referee, whoever has the count at the time, shall continue the count to 20.  If the contestant fails to rise before the count of 20, the bout shall be awarded to the other contestant by a knockout in the round just ended.  The contestant must return to the ring unaided.


                A.            The classes for bare-knuckle fighters competing in contests or exhibitions and the weights for each class are shown in the following schedule.

                                (1)           Atomweight 105 to 115 lbs.

                                (2)           Strawweight: over 115 to 125 lbs.

                                (3)           Flyweight: over 125 to 135 lbs.

                                (4)           Featherweight: over 135 to 145 lbs.

                                (5)           Lightweight:  over 145 to 155 lbs.

                                (6)           Welterweight: over 155 to 170 lbs.

                                (7)           Middleweight: over 170 to 185 lbs.

                                (8)           Light heavyweight: over 185 to 205 lbs.

                                (9)           Heavyweight:  over 205 to 265 lbs.

                                (10)         Super heavyweight:  anything over 265 lbs.

                B.            Weight loss of up to two lbs. is allowed. Fighters have up to one hour to lose weight. The weight loss described must not occur later than one hour after the initial weigh-in. Unarmed combatants over weight may be fined, have their license suspended, and have their license revoked by the commission.

[ NMAC – N, 6/11/2021]

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