Archive for July, 2012

I previously discussed that the Federal Government’s attempt to legalize MMA Bouts will create a gap on the Provincial side potentially criminalizing amateur contests.  I am pleased to report that after bringing this issue to the BC Government’s attention, BC’s Minister of Sport has responded advising the Government is aware of this and that a “change of policy” will be needed should Bill S-209 pass.

Other Provinces need to follow suit.

Here is Minister Chong’s response:

Dear Mr. Magraken:

 Thank you for your email of May 14, 2012, regarding the Athletic Commissioner Act (Bill 50).

 As you correctly mention in your email, the Athletic Commissioner Act (Bill 50) provides only for the supervision and regulation of professional exhibitions and contests. Amateur sports are not currently regulated in British Columbia. The Province of British Columbia is aware of the proposed change in Bill S-209 to the definition of amateur Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) contests that would require the designation of an athletic organization to sanction amateur MMA. In British Columbia, amateur sporting events are presently governed by a sport specific non-government body, such as Soccer BC. However, unlike in Ontario, British Columbia does not currently provide for a system of amateur sport regulation through designated sports bodies.

 Our understanding of what would be required if the bill is passed in its exact current form is that all provinces would have to designate a regulating body for amateur MMA. British Columbia and some other provinces have not previously regulated amateur sport, so this would be a change in policy.

 It is important to keep in mind, however, that Bill S-209 is a private member’s bill, currently being considered in the Senate. It is our understanding that if passed by the Senate, the Bill would still need to be adopted as a government bill.  Once the Bill is developed as a government bill there will be further opportunities for the Province to provide input into the policy development process for a government bill.

 The Province has also provided direct input into the recent Senate Hearings on Bill S-209 and will continue to work with federal counterparts in the development of any amendments to Section 83 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

 Thank you for your interest and for raising your concerns.



 Ida Chong, FCGA

Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development

Following Bill S-209

Posted: July 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

I’ve previously discussed Canadian Bill S-209 which will lay the groundwork to legalize MMA in Canada.

For those of you who wish to track the progress of this Bill you can do so by clicking here.

(Update July 11, 2012 – the reports of the intended appeal have now been refuted by Chael Sonnen.  The below potential dilemma, however, still is one that can and ought to be remedied)


Yesterday Canada’s The Score reported that Chael Sonnen has “started the process to file an appeal with Keith Kizer and the Nevada Athletic Commission”  arguing that the Anderson Silva knee that led to Sonnen’s defeat was intended to be an illegal strike.  They further argue that Silva’s thigh struck Sonnen’s face (although it is worth noting that while knee strikes to grounded opponents are prohibited, there is no prohibition to a thigh grazing the face of a grounded opponent).

Leaving aside the incredible uphill battle of arguing that the most accurate striker in the history of MMA intended the blow to land elsewhere, this made me wonder whether there is any actual prohibition to ‘intended’ illegal strikes.  Review of the Unified Rules of MMA show no such prohibition.  I posted this observation on Twitter which led to the following exchange of ideas with Frank Geric who is an MMA ref in Cleveland Ohio.

Frank Geric went on to note that the prohibition of Unsportsmanlike Conduct likely creates enough latitude to cover intended fouls.  This makes sense but there is something desirable about specificity of prohibited conduct.  Since BC needs to adopt Rules in the very near future under the Athletic Commissioner Act, and since the Unified Rules of MMA are the most obvious choice I suggest it makes sense to add a brief section specifically addressing ‘intended’ fouls to give combatants certainty as to the prohibition of intended fouls and further to give regulators/referees specific authority and confidence in their ability to intervene with such conduct.

Although a little off topic for this blog, I thought this would be of interest to my readers.

Recently a Vancouver jury awarded a professional boxer just over $1 million for a hand injury caused in a car crash which impeded his professional career.  You can click here to read the details on my BC Injury Law Blog.