Mutual combat

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Mutual combat, a term commonly used in US courts, occurs when two individuals intentionally and consensually engage in a fair[1] fight,[2] while not hurting bystanders or damaging property. There is not an official law that forbids mutual combat in the United States. There have been numerous cases where this concept was successfully used in defense of the accused.[3] In some cases, mutual combat may nevertheless result in killings.[4]

Notable examples[edit]

In 2012, MMA fighter Phoenix Jones hit the headlines for engaging in mutual combat.[5] A video of the fight went viral.[6] The Seattle Police Department later defended their officers for not intervening.[3] The Seattle Municipal Code 12A.06.025 states that "It is unlawful for any person to intentionally fight with another person in a public place and thereby create a substantial risk of: 1. Injury to a person who is not actively participating in the fight; or 2. Damage to the property of a person who is not actively participating in the fight."[7] Thus since the fight did not injure a third party or damage property, it was not disallowed by this law.

Also in 2012, Gabriel Aubry and Olivier Martinez engaged in mutual combat and were not charged.[8] In 2014, after Zac Efron had engaged in a fight in Skid Row, law enforcement officials did not make any arrests because they viewed it as mutual combat.[9] Mutual combat has been used to deny damage claims,[10] as a legal defense,[11] and to drop charges against fighting students.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Heckman, Candace (6 April 2001). "Police break up teen boxing match at park". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Redmond, Washington. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  2. ^ Martinez, Fidel (15 November 2012). "Civilian crime fighter knocks out disorderly man". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  3. ^ a b Shiers, Frank (12 November 2012). "Seattle police stand by and watch Phoenix Jones fistfight". KIRO-FM/ Bonneville International. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  4. ^ Dolan, Maura (28 August 2001). "2 Rulings on Gangs Help, Hurt Prosecutors". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  5. ^ Schauffler, Allen (9 November 2012). "'Superhero' Phoenix Jones gets into street brawl as officers watch". KING-TV. Archived from the original on 19 July 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  6. ^ Raftery, Jillian (12 November 2012). "Phoenix Jones fist fight video goes viral". KIRO-FM/ Bonneville International. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  7. ^ "Title 12A" (PDF).
  8. ^ "Gabriel Aubry Drops Restraining Order Against Olivier Martinez". Fox News Latino. 3 December 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  9. ^ Grossman, Samantha (27 March 2014). "Zac Efron Got Punched In the Face During a Brawl on Skid Row". Time. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  10. ^ "Court Denies Pair Damages". Reading Eagle. 16 November 1966. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  11. ^ Serna, Joseph (26 February 2015). "Slain Fox exec was in 'mutual combat' with alleged killer, lawyer says". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  12. ^ Boyer, Barbara (3 March 2001). "Abraham Drops Charges Against 3 Black Students Charged In A Racial Fight At A Northeast High School, Two Were Victims And One Was Not Involved, She Said". Retrieved 9 March 2015.

External links[edit]