The Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Championship Series #3 is advertised to take place on February 22 and 23 at Adrenaline MMA Training & Fitness London Ontario.
This amateur Mixed Martial Arts event has ties to the International Mixed Martial Art Federation’s Canadian “Observation Member” (the CNMMAF) with the event promoter stating that “After Ammacs 3, the Advanced League Champions will receive a FREE ride to the CNMMAF Nationals this April“. As laudable as it is to crown a national champion in AMMA with a goal of growing the sport and competing on a world stage, an important question is can such an event take place in Ontario without breaching the Criminal Code?
Under AMMACS Rules the tournament will be sanctioned by the Ontario Grappling Alliance. There is one glaring problem with this; OGA sanctioning does nothing to make an AMMA event comply with section 83 of the Criminal Code.
As readers of this site know, section 83 makes amateur MMA illegal. Provinces can pass legislation or an Order in Council overturning this ban and setting out how events can be legally hosted. As of today Ontario still has not passed such a law. Absent such a law the only way an AMMA event can comply with the Criminal Code is if it is held “with the permission of the province’s lieutenant governor in council or any other person or body specified by him or her“.
If you don’t want to take my word for the OGA’s lack of regulatory power you need look no further than OGA’s own petition asking the Ontario Government to give them the power to regulate AMMA. In other words, OGA cannot oversee AMMA events in compliance with the Criminal Code and they themselves acknowledge this and are lobbying the government for change.
I have reached out to the Ontario Government on numerous occasions asking for them to overturn their AMMA ban but they have yet to act. Until Ontario uses their Section 83 powers to legalize AMMA amateur combatants should be weary of a potential criminal prosecution looming in the background (whether the Government chooses to selectively enforce the law is another matter). I applaud efforts to grow the sport of MMA however this needs to be done within the legal framework that Bill S-209 has provided. People seeking more opportunities to compete in Ontario would do well to pressure their MLA to pass appropriate legislation. Participating in AMMA events in the meantime is risky and can trigger the Criminal Code.