It was previously announced that an amateur MMA event was scheduled to take place in Ontario with the winners receiving a “free ride” to the CNMMAF national championships. The CNMMAF has now announced an overhaul of this format stating that “Due to the legalities of the CNMMAF hosting a National Championships…we have voted upon with our Executive membership to hold a Team Canada Tryouts in the Months of February and March to give every Amateur MMA Athlete in all Canadian provinces the opportunity to compete to represent Canada as a part of Team Canada“.
The announcement goes on to site a number of Provincial ‘tryouts‘ with events reported to take place in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and PEI.
If the tryouts include actual fights there will continue to be ‘legalities’ that can get in the way. Amateur MMA is not legal across all of Canada. Some of the reported Provinces, namely Ontario, PEI and Manitoba, don’t yet have the proper laws in place to allow amateur MMA events to be hosted in compliance with the Criminal Code. Interestingly a lot of the events are reported to take place in local Gyms. It is worth noting that there is no “dojo / gym exception” in the Criminal Code. All that is required to be caught by the language is for the event to be “an encounter or fight with fists, hands or feet between two persons who have met for that purpose by previous arrangement made by or for them“.
If these pre-arranged ‘tryouts’ include fights the possibility of criminal prosecution remains a live threat. While the road to growing amateur MMA in the country with a view to international participation is laudable, there are no shortcuts and the Criminal Code’s requirements must be kept in mind.