Myth or Fact: Is there a “Mike Tyson Rule” in Ohio? (Part 1)

Since Horwitz & Horwitz, LLC is an Ohio law firm representing persons accused of committing crimes in Ohio, this blogpost will examine whether such a law exists in Ohio.

The Ohio Athletic Commission website provides detailed information governing the sports of Boxing, Tough Man Contests, Mixed Martial Arts, and Pro Wrestling, as well as relevant sections of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC).  An examination of the information on the website and the OAC fails to reveal any restrictions on the participants outside of their involvement in the athletic event itself.  Thus, there is no “registry” of participants for law enforcement purposes.  Rather, each participant must be “licensed” to participate in the given sport for mainly health and safety reasons.

Although Ohio does not have a “registry” designating a person’s body parts as “deadly weapons”, I will next examine whether Ohio law provides for the treatment of a body part as a “deadly weapon” by reviewing the criminal charges that may be filed against a person participating in a fistfight.

Ordinarily, if a person gets into a fistfight with another, that person can be charged with one of two offenses, under the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) – Disorderly Conduct or Assault.

Disorderly Conduct, pursuant to ORC 2917.11, states:

(A)  No person shall recklessly cause inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm to another by doing any of the following:

(1)    Engaging in fighting, in threatening harm to persons or property, or in violent or turbulent behavior.

A violation of this section is categorized as a minor misdemeanor, and does not carry any possible jail time.  However, if the offense continues after the offender is given a reasonable warning to desist, if it is committed in the vicinity of a school, or in the presence of any law enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency medical services personnel, then the offense would be classified as a misdemeanor of the fourth degree, and carry a potential sentence of up to 30 days in jail.

Assault, pursuant to ORC 2903.13, states:

(A)  No person shall knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm to another or to another’s unborn.

(B)   No person shall recklessly cause serious physical harm to another or to another’s unborn.

Unless the victim of the offense is a correctional employee, law enforcement officer, school teacher or staff member, or children services agency employee, the offense would be categorized as a misdemeanor of the first degree, and carry a possible punishment of upon to 180 days in jail.