Archive for February, 2013

Last Summer British Columbia passed the Athletic Commissioner Act which will create a commission to regulate “professional” MMA and other combat sports on a Province wide basis.  Despite this there is still little certainty about exactly how professional contests will be regulated in BC because the Athletic Commissioner Act Regulations have not yet been passed.

The Regulations will be the ‘nuts and bolts’ governing professional contests in BC as they can address the following:

(a) prescribing the requirements that a corporation must meet to be eligible for an administrative agreement under section 6 [administrative agreement];

(b) establishing criteria for the purposes of section 8 (2) (b) [power of corporation to set and retain fees];

(c) prescribing other activities for which a licence is required;

(d) respecting licences, including, without limitation, prescribing

(i) information, authorizations and records that must be provided on application for a licence,

(ii) eligibility criteria,

(iii) terms and conditions of licences, and

(iv) forms of licences;

(e) respecting event permits, including, without limitation, prescribing

(i) information, authorizations and records that must be provided on application for an event permit,

(ii) eligibility criteria,

(iii) terms and conditions of event permits, and

(iv) forms of event permits;

(f) respecting security in relation to event permits, including, without limitation, prescribing

(i) the amount, or maximum amount, of security that may be required,

(ii) the forms of the security that may be provided, and

(iii) the circumstances under which the security may be realized;

(g) requiring event permit holders to have insurance for a professional contest or exhibition, including, without limitation, establishing the amounts of insurance required;

(h) respecting records, books and accounts to be kept by holders of licences and event permits;

(i) requiring holders of licences and event permits to provide information to the commissioner at the times and in the manner directed by the commissioner;

(j) respecting the duties of persons promoting, conducting or holding, matchmaking for, acting as seconds for, refereeing or judging professional contests or exhibitions;

(k) establishing standards for refereeing, judging or matchmaking for professional contests or exhibitions;

(l) regulating or prohibiting the use of specified equipment during weigh-ins and professional contests or exhibitions;

(m) respecting the safety of participants, officials and others at professional contests or exhibitions;

(n) respecting medical examinations for professional athletes and the availability of medical assistance during professional contests or exhibitions;

(o) providing for the drug and alcohol testing of professional athletes on a random basis or otherwise;

(p) regulating the conduct of professional athletes and other participants in professional contests or exhibitions;

(q) requiring that the officials for a professional contest or exhibition be designated by the commissioner;

(r) respecting the payment of officials who participate in a professional contest or exhibition, including, without limitation, prescribing the amounts officials must be paid.

 

I followed up with Bill Bennett, BC’s current Minister of Sport about when the Regulations will be in force.  He responded that they are expected to be established “soon”.

Bill Bennett exchange re MMA Regulations

I would expect that these regulations will be out before the Spring election but this remains to be seen.  I will continue to keep an eye on these developments.

canadian mma law blog wrestling trophy photo

The short answer is arguably yes if Bill S-209 passes in its current form and if Provinces don’t act accordingly to fill in the soon to be created gap.

As previously highlighted, the Canadian Government’s ongoing effort to amend the Criminal Code to make MMA legal in Canada is not without it’s shortcomings.  One of the biggest flaws in this draft legislation is that exempted amateur contests are limited to those that are “in the programme of the International Olympic Committee” or to sports that are held with the permission or have been designated “by the Province’s lieutenant governor in council”.  

This means that individual Provinces need to fill the gap to address which amateur contests are legal and if Provincial powers are silent on the point then the only ” encounters or fights with fists, hands or feet” that will remain legal will be those that have the IOC’s blessing.

As previously discussed, this leaves a gap with many amateur Martial Arts contests such as Karate which is not presently an Olympic Sport and is not designated on the Provincial side of things.

Surely when Bill S-209 was drafted it was assumed that longstanding Olympic sports such as wrestling were untouchable.  With the IOC’s recent announcement removing wrestling as an an Olympic Sport this long honored staple will become legally threatened should Bill S-209 pass in its current wording.   As Canadians, tying the legality of amateur sport to the IOC’s collective wisdom surely needs to be rethought.