There was much celebration in the Canadian MMA Community yesterday with the passing of Bill S-209. Now that MMA has a legal framework in Canada it is time for stakeholders to get to work with Provincial politicians.
As discussed yesterday, Bill S-209 does not in and of itself make MMA legal across Canada, it allows Provinces to make it legal on a Province by Province basis. The default is the sport remains illegal. It requires Provincial regulation. This needs to happen for both professional and amateur contests. The landscape on the professional side is largely in place. The amateur side, however, remains a real problem.
For Provinces such as Ontario, BC, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia the work is largely done on the Professional side. Quebec and any other Provinces that tried to dance around the old language of s. 83 could use some legislative overhaul to get rid of “mixed boxing” and embrace the actual sport of MMA. Provinces that regulate the sport on the municipal side such as Alberta and New Brunswick ought to consider province wide commissions to bring in consistency in regulation.
Other Provinces, such as Saskatchewan, can now feel safe in passing legislation to regulate professional MMA.
Professional contests are well and good, but few practitioners make it to the bright lights of the big show. Most MMA is amateur and this is where participants start. This is also where the most pressing problem lies.
Will Bill S-209 in place there is no more uncertainty about the legal status of amateur MMA. It can no longer said to be ‘illegal but tolerated’. Unless the sport is put “on the programme of the International Olympic Committee” every amateur contest will remain illegal unless Provinces specifically pass laws that permit or designate the legality of amateur MMA. This framework is largely lacking.
I have written to BC’s minister of sport Bill Bennett who has agreed to discuss this with me. I am following up with him and keep this site updated with any progress. I urge other fans and stakeholders of MMA to contact your appropriate Provincial politicians to see that proper legislative frameworks are being put into place.