Leaving aside the fact that professional MMA is currently technically illegal in BC, an additional problem is that professional MMA events in British Columbia are subject to inconsistent regulatory requirements.
The reason being that local municipalities are allowed to form their own Athletic Commissions based on the power given to the them by section 143 of BC’s Community Charter (or in the case of Vancouver by Part XIX of the Vancouver Charter).
Fortunately, the Provincial Government has taken a meaningful step to remedy this with the introduction of Bill 50. This Bill, introduced earlier this week in the Legislature, seeks to create a Province-wide Athletic Commissioner who will be responsible for the following:
(a) the regulation and supervision of professional contests or exhibitions in accordance with this Act and the regulations;
(b) licensing and permitting under this Act;
(c) the enforcement of this Act and the regulations.
Importantly, section 50 of the Bill specifically speaks to repealing the power of Vancouver and other municipalities to create their own athletic commissions.
In short this will replace the myriad of different regulations local municipalities have created for professional MMA fights. This will create consistency which will benefit both participants and hosts of these events.
It is worth noting that Vancouver, while being stripped of the ability to create their own Athletic Commission, will still retain the right to veto MMA events if they wish because the Vancouver Council will be given the discretion to “prohibit a professional contest or exhibition, including a professional contest or exhibition for which an event permit is required under the Athletic Commissioner Act.”
I should note that as of today’s date this Bill is just that, a Bill. It has not formally become law although Third Reading is expected shortly. I will provide an updated post once this Bill becomes formal law.