“Bill S-209 will make amateur combat sports illegal”

The fact that Bill S-209 creates issues on the Canadian amateur MMA/Combat Sports landscape is a reality. If you want proof you need look no further than the below e-mail from Bill Bennett, BC’s outgoing Minister of Sport, who confirms that, “Bill S-209 will make amateur combat sports illegal“.

The good news is the BC Government is aware of this issue and it sounds like remedy may be in the works.  I’d like to thank Bill Bennett for providing the below substantive response to my concerns and outlining some of the ways the BC Government may address this issue.

Once Coralee Oakes takes office as BC’s new Sports Minister I will follow up with her to ensure this issue is followed through with.  I urge other MMA fans across Canada to take similar steps with their Provincial authorities to help encourage the proper legalization of amateur MMA and other combat sports.


Hello Eric,
As of Monday, June 10th, I will no longer be minister responsible, but I do owe you a response. Since you and I are both lawyers, me non-practicing, I need to say that the information I am providing to you is simply my personal opinion and not a legal opinion and not a commitment.
You are correct, Bill S-209 will make amateur combat sports illegal. It is my understanding that government can pass an OIC that will allow amateur combat sports in BC. I cannot speak for the new Justice Minister, but it seems likely that an OIC would be passed by the new cabinet. If this is the route chosen,  the OIC would enable amateur combat sports where events can take place without regulation and supervision from a Provincial Sport Organization (PSO) or other body; or,
the Province could designate, with Cabinet approval, amateur combat sports events with regulation and supervision from a sanctioning body or PSO designated by the Province.  This regulation would like require licensing and permitting in the same manner as the BC Athletic Commissioner is doing for professional boxing and mixed martial arts.
I am advised that if regulation is required for a particular sport, the Order-in-Council must specify a unique sanctioning body for each sport, one sanctioning body only for each sport.
The Province is monitoring the progress of Bill S-209 closely and prepare a strategy to outline which sports will fall into which category, with the aim of not disrupting amateur events.
I hope this helps assure you that the Province is aware of what is happening in Ottawa and is thinking through what we must do in response. As our new government is just now getting up and running, I would not look for any announcements on this matter for a few weeks.
Bill Bennett
On 2013-06-06, at 10:35 AM, Erik Magraken wrote:

Hi Bill, congratulation on your and your Party’s re-election.

With this out of the way I write to follow up on the status of amateur martial arts and MMA in BC.

As you know, Bill S-209 has passed Third Reading.  Once in force, amateur MMA will be illegal in BC.  The Province needs to act to remedy this.  Additionally, martial arts that are not on the IOC’s roster (such as Karate and Kickboxing) will be illegal by default.  Members of my family practice Karate and they certainly are not criminals.

Can you please let me know what steps the Province is taking to address this legislative gap?

I look forward to your reply.  If you have any questions for me please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Yours truly,


8 thoughts on ““Bill S-209 will make amateur combat sports illegal”

  1. Awesome. maybe ameture fighters will start getting a litle bit of coin seen`;s promotions make a killing lining there pockets.Dont get me wrong, I understand its about development and safety. But there`s guys out there with 30 to 40 fights (example) broke every bone in there body,and never turn pro, and there left with not a dime made from it. I think there should be some sort of benefit for ametures, no?? Like, promoters, match makers, owners, the city ect ect $$$. like some food stamps or something would be a boost!! LOL

  2. Soooo whats next we cant spar in our gyms, then we cant train combat sports at all !!!! This is just not right This is a JOKE ! If people want to sign a paper saying they understand the rules and they Could get hurt when fighting and they understand this, then I do NOT see the problem in people wanting to fight. Boxing and fighting has been going on sins the begging of time. There is no reason to take it away from the people who want to do it for fun. Look if you take this away from us then you can expect some more Underground Fighting to pop up here and there. If people want to fight, then they will fight for what they love !

  3. This is just forcing people to turn Pro and some people are not ready to turn Pro. Amateur fights is to get people ready for the Pros, not just throw them in there to get killed in the ring. This is a STUPID idea to get rid of Amateur fights…….

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