There Can Be Only One! – The Path To NSO Status For Amateur MMA in Canada

There is a race currently underway between rival organizations to govern amateur MMA in Canada.   You can click here for some insight into this. Currently the race looks like a sprint but whether they know it or not the competitors are actually running a marathon.

The end game is to gain National Sport Organization status with the Federal Government, to unite AMMA under an international umbrella and ultimately have amateur MMA enter the Olympics.  All lofty goals.  Unfortunately the road to NSO status is slow and arduous and unless there is national cooperation among stakeholders in the MMA community NSO status will not be achieved.

So what does it take to become an NSO?  A starting point is to become familiar with the Federal Government’s Sport Funding and Accountability Framework.  Here are the highlights:

1. There can only be one NSO.  It is not first come first serve.  The successful candidate must be “the single national governing body for all aspects of the sport in Canada including its disciplines and events“.  Leaving aside the fact that AMMA is illegal in much of Canada and further that where it is legal Government dictates how the sport is regulated the first hurdle will be to form unity among local MMA communities.  In other words, Big Tent Politics.

2.  Its all about money.  Although the NSO must be a Not For Profit Corporation there will be money involved.  The NSO must “maintain or have access to its membership demographics”.  Who are these people?  These can include athletes, competitors, coaches, officials or teams.  Its not about simply signing up names.  Money needs to be involved as well because “such membership must be associated with the payment of a fee“.

3.  It’s all about numbers.  Not only do you need to collect a fee from the members you need to have a critical mass.  The magic number is “a minimum membership of 5,000

4.  The biggest barrier  – The Sport must be established “in a minimum of 8 Provinces / Territories“.   Since AMMA is illegal by default due to section 83 of the Criminal Code at least 8 Provinces or Territories will need to pass laws legalizing MMA.  This is by far the biggest barrier.  Government moves slowly.  While some Provinces have used their S. 83 powers others have not.  The Federal government will not have any interest in providing NSO status to an MMA organization until all the necessary Provincial laws are in place.

Having national unity and international representation for amateur MMA are worthwhile pursuits.  To achieve these goals the above metrics are the key and the long road must be taken one step at a time.  An AMMA NSO will not come to be unless and until all the key stakeholders from across Canada work together to make this happen.

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