Illegal Sports



An illegal sport are activities banned because they are violent or dangerous. Some illegal sports, such as BASE jumping or elevator surfing, is argued to be purely adventurous. A counterargument is that the possibility of loss of life, rescues, and medical care that may be required for participants of these sports can end up costing the general public.

Other more well-known illegal sports, such as cockfighting and dogfighting, are barred on the basis of animal abuse. Some of these sports are often a gateway to other crimes, such as illegal gambling, illegal gun trading, and crimes against people such as assault and murder. Illegal sports are controversial due to the dangerous aspects attributed to them and the pain they can inflict on humans and/or animals. They also are controversial due to the perceived nature of some of them, notably of cockfighting and dogfighting, as being savage sports.

Cockfighting is a gambling and spectator sport where roosters fight, frequently to the death, in rings. Often, sharp implements are attached to the legs of these typically non-violent birds, inflicting injuries and pain. The birds used for cockfighting sometimes are given stimulant drugs to enhance their fighting ability and make them more aggressive. Cockfighting is classified as a felony in 39 states.

Dog fighting is a practice, illegal in many jurisdictions, where two dogs, often a Pit Bull breed, are put into an area to fight and sometimes kill each other. Dog fighting has been reported as far back as 43 CE when the Romans invaded Britain. Both sides employed fighting dogs, and out of their wartime use grew a sport, which achieved great popularity, particular in Britain and later the United States. Dog fighting is a felony in all states except Idaho and Wyoming, where it’s a misdemeanor.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals focuses heavily on the issue on dog fighting. There are various levels of dog fighting. There is ‘street’ level, which means that the dogfights are informal and strict rules and regulations are absent from the matches. Another level is ‘hobbyist,’ which are fights that are formally organized. The final level of dog fighting is ‘professional,’ at which owners usually have more that fifty fighting dogs and carefully examine the specific breed, lineage, and winning history of each dog.

BASE jumping involves four categories of fixed objects from which one can jump: buildings, antennae, spans (bridges), and earth (cliffs). BASE jumping has been practiced since at least the 1970s, and continues to gain popularity. It is an extreme sport that combines the skills of skydiving and jumping off of very high, but fixed, objects. Jumps can be made as low as 300 feet above ground. BASE jumping is technically not an illegal sport, but the aspect that makes it illegal is that many jumpers will trespass onto private property in order to reach their desired altitude.

Elevator surfing is an activity popular on college campuses and in residential buildings. Participants in this sport gain access to the top of the elevator car and ‘surf’ it while it goes up and down in between floors. Some even attempt to jump from elevator car to elevator car while the cars are in motion. It is highly dangerous and many deaths have been accounted for due to this activity, causing many jurisdictions around the world to outlaw it. Many of those who die from elevator surfing fall off the top of the elevator car, are struck by the counterweight, or are crushed somewhere between the elevator car and the elevator shaft.

Street racing is the illegal racing of motor vehicles on public roads and highways. These high-speed races, usually with untrained drivers, can result in fatal crashes that have the capacity to inflict damage on innocent people not participating in the race. Private drag strips have been set up for people, at their own risk, to legally race on.

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