Mutual Combat Laws By State

The states with mutual combat laws on the books are Oregon, Texas, and Washington.

Mutual combat laws by state research summary. Mutual combat in the United States is a situation in which two individuals engage in a physical confrontation or fight with the consent and agreement of both parties involved. We researched state penal codes to determine which states allow mutual combat and which forbid it. After reviewing all 50 states, here is what we found in terms of mutual combat laws by state.

  • Texas and Washington State are the only two states that allow mutual combat.

  • Oregon is the only state to outlaw mutual combat specifically.

Map Of States With Mutual Combat Laws

Map Of States With Mutual Combat Laws

Click to enlarge

Mutual combat has roots in historical notions of honor and personal dispute resolution. Throughout various periods of U.S. history, there have been instances where individuals engaged in consensual fights as a means of settling disputes, often to preserve their reputation or resolve grievances.

During the 19th century, when formal legal systems were less developed in some areas and social norms played a significant role in dispute resolution, mutual combat was sometimes seen as an accepted way for individuals to settle their differences. However, this was not uniform across all regions or communities, and the acceptance of such fights varied widely.

Modern legal systems prioritize public safety and harm prevention, leading to criminalizing violent behavior, even if consensual. Consequently, engaging in mutual combat can lead to charges of assault, even if both parties consented to the fight.

States With Legal Mutual Combat

States legalize mutual combat on principles of personal autonomy and controlled conflict resolution, allowing consenting adults to resolve disputes while taking personal responsibility. However, potential risks, safety concerns, and societal impact should be carefully weighed against these points when engaging in mutual combat.

  1. Washington – Legal
  2. Texas – Legal

States With Illegal Mutual Combat

While Oregon might not explicitly use the term ‘mutual combat,’ its laws address similar situations where individuals engage in consensual fights or altercations.

The primary reason for making mutual combat illegal is to prevent situations from escalating into violence that could result in serious injuries or even death. Allowing individuals to engage in mutual combat could lead to unpredictable outcomes, put bystanders at risk, and strain law enforcement resources.

  1. Oregon – Illegal

Table Of States With Mutual Combat Laws

State Mutual Combat Status
Oregon Illegal
Washington Legal
Texas Legal
Alabama Unspecified
Nevada Unspecified
New Hampshire Unspecified
New Jersey Unspecified
New Mexico Unspecified
New York Unspecified
North Carolina Unspecified
North Dakota Unspecified
Ohio Unspecified
Oklahoma Unspecified
Pennsylvania Unspecified
Rhode Island Unspecified
South Carolina Unspecified
South Dakota Unspecified
Tennessee Unspecified
Utah Unspecified
Vermont Unspecified
Virginia Unspecified
West Virginia Unspecified
Wisconsin Unspecified
Nebraska Unspecified
Wyoming Unspecified
Montana Unspecified
Mississippi Unspecified
Alaska Unspecified
Arizona Unspecified
Arkansas Unspecified
California Unspecified
Colorado Unspecified
Connecticut Unspecified
Delaware Unspecified
Florida Unspecified
Georgia Unspecified
Hawaii Unspecified
Missouri Unspecified
Idaho Unspecified
Indiana Unspecified
Iowa Unspecified
Kansas Unspecified
Kentucky Unspecified
Louisiana Unspecified
Maine Unspecified
Maryland Unspecified
Massachusetts Unspecified
Michigan Unspecified
Minnesota Unspecified
Illinois Unspecified
Washington Dc Unspecified

Methodology: How We Researched The Laws Surrounding Mutual Combat

Regarding mutual combat, the two states that ‘allow’ mutual combat do not have laws that expressly state, ‘You may duel who you wish.’ Instead, they affirmatively define assault as having one non-consenting party. In that way, if both parties consent to mutual combat, they must also meet the following criteria to be within the bounds of the law:

  • The parties are not part of the same domestic household
  • Do not pose a threat to others
  • Do not post a threat to property

Note I am not a lawyer, and none of this is legal advice. That is just how I understood the statutes of the penal codes.

Conversely, Oregon specifically outlaws mutual combat as its laws classify any fighting as disorderly conduct, which is against the law.

For the rest of the states, mutual combat typically falls under assault law but does not have any statute that explicitly outlaws it.


Not sure about you, but I’m not going to engage in mutual combat at any point soon, but if I do, I’ll fly to Texas or Washington State first.


About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

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