Archive for March, 2014

Michael Mersch CBA Screenshot


At this week’s Canadian Bar Association combat sports legal conference  I asked the UFC’s lawyer, Michael Mersch, whether Zuffa has any plans to conduct regular, random, out of competition PED testing for their contracted fighters.  In short his answer was no however the details of his reply give good insight that, should a lawsuit ever arise following injury at the hands of a PED using opponent, Zuffa’s strategy will be to deflect liability to government regulators.  It is a strategy that just may work and for this reason Athletic Commissions must take great care in updating PED testing practices to reasonable standards.

Mersch replied as follows:

 “The UFC has a policy of performance drug enhancement testing for all of its  fighters when they come into the UFC.  We obviously want to start the process where we know whoever we are bringing into the organization is clean.  From that point on, of course, we are always working, consistently working, with Athletic Commissions who are in charge of drug testing above and beyond that.   There are different athletic commissions that test at different levels.  Some will just test a few fighters some will test more.  There are certain jurisdictions that the UFC self regulates in because there are not athletic commissions or federations everywhere in the world, and when that happens we test every single fighter.   So literally every single fighter on the card, when we’re in charge of it, gets tested.  So there is no question that we as a company are 100% in favor of drug testing.  We support it.

Again we have some other concerns outside of that though with respect to the fact that our fighters are independent contractors.  When they’re signed up to fight in a certain jurisdiction we have to comply with the laws of that jurisdiction.  We don’t necessarily take it upon ourselves to assume that we should be doing more.  We defer to those individual commissions. “

Lawyer David Goldstein then adds

one thing that comes up, and I think someone blogged about it recently, the question of going to the PED point, if you consent to a fight between two clean athletes and one you find out after the fact has been all kinds of juiced up and all kinds of PED’s, does that vitiate the consent to that fight?  Did I think I was fighting the strongest that guy can be and now I’m actually fighting that guy on substances XYZ, would that be a right to claim, to file suit?  It’s an interesting question

It is a question that likely will be judicially addressed at some point in time.

When that time comes recent comments from the UFC’s Lorenzo Fertitta create an even stronger case for commission liability.  Fertitta has been vocal that the UFC would finance Athletic Commission efforts to conduct random, out of competition testing.  Appreciating that this will strip an Athletic Commissions ability to hide behind budgetary restrictions, this creates an even greater need for commissions to seriously consider random out of competition tests of all licence holders.

The ability of commissions to conduct out of competition testing depends on jurisdiction. Two issues that come into play are duration of combatant licences and statutory PED testing powers.

Some combatant licences are only good for a single bout. Other jurisdictions issue them for a set time frame, typically one year.  Different jurisdictions also have different rules about when PED tests can take place with some only calling for post bout testing while others can test any time during a license term.

If regulators are serious about cleaning up the sport a jurisdiction with year long licencing and out of competition testing abilities should take Fertitta up on his offer and conduct random, comprehensive tests on all licence holders.  Nevada is one jurisdiction that can accomplish this if they have the will to do so.

Under Rule NAC 467.012(7) Nevada licences are valid for the entire calendar year in which they are granted.  NAC 467.850(5) allows for testing out of competition reading as follows “An unarmed combatant shall submit to a urinalysis or chemical test if the Commission or a representative of the Commission directs him or her to do so.“.  This language is broad an allows comprehensive PED testing.

Nevada, or another jurisdiction with similar powers, would be wise to be a leader, take the UFC up on their financing offer, and conduct comprehensive PED tests to all currently licensed combatants. This will not only weed out abuse but bring integrity to Athletic Commissions in their role as safe keepers of the sport.

Findings were published in this month’s American Journal of Sports Medicine studying “incidence, risk factors, and characteristics of knockouts (KOs) and technical knockouts (TKOs) from repetitive strikes in professional MMA“.  The study focused specifically on UFC’s pay per view cards.

The study concludes that “Rates of KOs and TKOs in MMA are higher than previously reported rates in other combative and contact sports.”.   The study also notes the statistical risk factors making brain injuries more likely as “weight class, earlier time in a round, earlier round in a match, and older age“.

The National Post, who also reported on this study, printed the following graph analyzing MMA KO/TKO rates compared with other contact sports: (Note: some of the methods and conclusions have been subject to criticism)

NationalPost Info Graphic

Here is the full abstract of the study:

Background: Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full combative sport with a recent global increase in popularity despite significant scrutiny from medical associations. To date, the empirical research of the risk of head injuries associated with this sport is limited. Youth and amateur participation is growing, warranting investigation into the burden and mechanism of injuries associated with this sport.

Purpose: (1) To determine the incidence, risk factors, and characteristics of knockouts (KOs) and technical knockouts (TKOs) from repetitive strikes in professional MMA; and (2) to identify the mechanisms of head trauma and the situational factors that lead to KOs and TKOs secondary to repetitive strikes through video analysis.

Study Design: Descriptive epidemiology study.

Methods: Competition data and video records for all KOs and TKOs from numbered Ultimate Fighting Championship MMA events (n = 844) between 2006 to 2012. Analyses included (1) multivariate logistic regression to investigate factors associated with an increased risk of sustaining a KO or TKO secondary to repetitive strikes and (2) video analysis of all KOs and TKOs secondary to repetitive strikes with descriptive statistics.

Results: During the study period, the KO rate was 6.4 per 100 athlete-exposures (AEs) (12.7% of matches), and the rate of TKOs secondary to repetitive strikes was 9.5 per 100 AEs (19.1% of matches), for a combined incidence of match-ending head trauma of 15.9 per 100 AEs (31.9% of matches). Logistic regression identified that weight class, earlier time in a round, earlier round in a match, and older age were risk factors for both KOs and TKOs secondary to repetitive strikes. Match significance and previously sustained KOs or TKOs were also risk factors for KOs. Video analysis identified that all KOs were the result of direct impact to the head, most frequently a strike to the mandibular region (53.9%). The average time between the KO-strike and match stoppage was 3.5 seconds (range, 0-20 seconds), with losers sustaining an average of 2.6 additional strikes (range, 0-20 strikes) to the head. For TKOs secondary to strikes, in the 30-second interval immediately preceding match stoppage, losers sustained, on average, 18.5 strikes (range, 5-46 strikes), with 92.3% of these being strikes to the head.

Conclusion: Rates of KOs and TKOs in MMA are higher than previously reported rates in other combative and contact sports. Public health authorities and physicians should be cognizant of the rates and mechanisms of head trauma. Preventive measures to lessen the risks of head trauma for those who elect to participate in MMA are described.


Update – Dr. Benjamin offered the following thoughtful comments with respect to this study:

Although I have a tremendous amount of respect for my University of Toronto colleagues, I respectfully disagree with some of their conclusions and suggestions.

I find their observations regarding older fighters and knockout/TKO history being significant risk factors extremely interesting. Also, 17 blows to the head, on average, before a TKO being called seems like a lot of punishment when you put it on paper!

Unfortunately, like me (in my earlier days) they took the bait and stepped into the pointless “Which is more dangerous?” debate. It reminds me of the thin vs. thick crust or Pat’s vs. Geno’s cheesesteaks debates.

The far more important and medically relevant question that unfortunately went unaddressed is, are combat sports following current concussion management guidelines and protocols, and the latest research regarding enhanced player safety? The clear answer is, not even close!

Their basic conclusion that MMA is more dangerous than these other contact sports does not consider the importance of the accumulation of damage over time due to sub-concussive blows. Research clearly suggests that far more important than the highlight-reel stoppages, it’s the hundreds or thousands of routine head strikes that do the real damage over time. Therefore, drawing your conclusion from accumulation of head strikes over time is far more likely to be predictive and useful than mere stoppages.

I believe that 10-second counts potentially subject an injured athlete to additional unnecessary head trauma. If a fighter is so injured that he needs 10 seconds to shake it off or gain his composure, the fight should be stopped.

The NFL experience shows that it takes a sideline concussion expert roughly seven to nine minutes to properly evaluate a potentially concussed athlete. Therefore, a 10-second count/assessment/evaluation is meaningless and probably dangerous.

Greater referee training regarding concussions is a must!

The more I learn about mTBI, the more I believe that sustaining repeated blows to the developing brain (specifically kids younger than 14) regardless of the activity or sport (tackle football, soccer headers, girls lacrosse without helmets, amateur boxing, full-contact martial arts, etc.) is not a good idea.

This paper is a good step to further the conversation and encourage stakeholders in combat sports to aggressively address the mTBI elephant in the room.


ufc cba conference image











Like all major sporting organizations, the UFC is aware of legal threats their business model poses and considers legal strategies in response to these.

On March 25, 2014 the UFC’s Michael Mersch and Tom Wright along with two local attorneys hosted the Canadian Bar Association’s Professional Development course “The Legal Landscape of Full-Contact Professional Sports:  Impacts of Developments in the Study of Brain Injuries and the Emergence of Mixed Martial Arts“.

During the conference some interesting legal issues were canvassed including the potential of Zuffa facing concussion related litigation similar to the recent NHL and NFL class action lawsuits.  In the course of the conference some of the contemplated responses to this legal threat emerged.

Lawyer David Goldstein, who works for Cassels Brock & Blackwell, the firm Zuffa used when lobbying to overhaul s. 83 of Canada’s Criminal Code, commented as follows:

Given the NFL attention other lawsuits started…So why are we talking about that at an MMA event?  The thinking being, if you combine big dollars which we see MMA has, the UFC has, and full contact sport, the question is will some enterprising plaintiff, enterprising plaintiff’s lawyer, sue the UFC, Bellator or any other MMA organization next?  …

We know that in the course of…Mixed Martial Arts…. there will be contact with the head so what are the potential defenses?  …

As far as the standard of care…(the legal requirement is) what’s reasonable….the concept that it has to be perfect or 100% certain or iron clad its just not legally viable…

A big point is causation.  One of the other defenses on which you’d expect a league or organization to rely is let’s say you can show you were concussed, let’s say you can show that you suffered damages from those concussions and lets say even that the activity that caused the concussions was clearly football, hockey, MMA.  You don’t wake up a 26 year old professional defensive lineman or anything else.  You play from youth all the way through. So the issue of trying to show that the concussions that you suffered while in the NHL, NFL, UFC, what have that would be a very difficult thing to have to show.

Mr. Goldstein goes on to quote from retired MMA fighter Mac Danzig’s blog post where he discusses suffering damage more so from training than competing as the type of evidence that would be used when attacking claims of causation.

Mr. Goldstein continues as follows:

There is sparring, there is training as a youth, there are amateur fights, there are pro fights in different organizations.  At the end of the day if an MMA concussion lawsuit did go through to trial (causation) would be a very difficult thing to show.

And then lastly, voluntary assumption of risk,  there is the legal doctrine that no wrong is done to one who is willing.  The concept being if you know what you are signing up for, you sign up for it, society has deemed it an acceptable activity and that’s where the legalization comes in, its not on the NFL, NHL, UFC to prohibit an activity that’s legal.

UFC contracts…talk about the inherently and abnormally dangerous activity and the athlete being willing and able to accept those risks.”

Mr. Goldtein then distinguishes the NFL litigation from potential MMA concussion litigation noting the allegations of fraud driving the NFL litigation.

The panelists also note that since professional MMA is government regulated deference is given to their oversight and imply that protection would be sought from this oversight should litigation arise.

It was an insightful conference and for those interested video of the conference is available online for anyone (non lawyers included) who wish to register.


Battlegrounds ONE Advertisement

UPADATE – After a series of setbacks this event was pushed back from its June date and is now scheduled to take place on October 3, 2014.


It is reported that the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission has approved a one night, 8 man elimination MMA tournament.  Promoted as the “Battlegrounds ONE Tournament” it is advertised as “ the most grueling and punishing tournament in sports”.

As a fan whose first exposure to MMA was the old tournament format popularized by the UFC of the 1990’s I have some nostalgia for such events, however, given modern government regulation of the sport my interests quickly shift to the legal overview of such an event.

Despite reports that the format has been approved and the letter from promoter Brian O’Rourke requesting rule changes to allow such an event being publicly available, a review of the presently published Oklahoma State Athletic Rules (Title 92 – General Agency Rules) don’t explain how such a format can be sanctioned.  Looking to Subchapter 7 of the published Oklahoma Rules elimination rules are specifically allowed, however, among the requirements are mandatory 16 oz boxing gloves, headgear, and 3 one minute rounds.

Interestingly the request for approval of this event states that the suggested rule changes allowing one night elimination MMA tournaments “has been compiled with major contributions form some of the leading surgical physicians of impact and combat sports nationwide“.

Despite this claim the Association of Boxing Commissions Medical Committee disagrees with the safety of one night elimination tournaments in MMA.  Last year they released a consensus statement on the topic which is reproduced below:

It is the stance of the ABC Medical Committee that single event, tournament style
mixed martial arts shows stand in contradistinction to all efforts of its participating
physicians to provide the best possible safety regulations and healthcare for combat
sports participants.
Tournament style MMA will not be endorsed for the following reasons:
o There is minimal to no time for athletes to recover between bouts
o There is no guarantee that second round opponents will have had similar
experiences in their first rounds. For example, one second round participant
may have submitted his opponent in the first round due to disparate skill sets
while the other opponent may have had a grueling stand up fight for three
rounds. This makes the second round “playing field” unequal.
o Fatigued and dehydrated participants are at increased risk of injury to every
organ system.

o In the case of MMA, orthopedic injuries are more likely to occur.
o Competitors maybe exposed to a greater number of head blows for an
extended period of time with no chance for adequate rehydration or
recovery, thus potentially increasing the risk and severity of concussions,
cerebral bleeding, or second impact syndrome.

Repetitive chokes may occur in a time period extending over multiple match-ups, 

theoretically increasing the risk of blood vessel clots, dissections and brain injury.

I reached out to the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission requesting a copy of any amendments to their Agency Rules explaining how the above event is sanctioned.  Interestingly, there is no specific provision in the MMA sub chapter dealing with elimination tournaments and given the silence the OSAC seems content to sanction this event.  Given that subchapter 7 deals specifically with elimination tournaments it is hard to see how those rules can be overlooked.  In any event, here my correspondence with the  OSAC’s Joe Miller:

I have reviewed Subchapter 11 as published under the General Agency Rules and have further looked at the Rule changes effective July 1, 2013 at the following link:

 I cannot find any provisions that speak to one night elimination tournaments for MMA.

 Perhaps I am missing something, can you point me to the specific link containing the rules and point out the relevant subsections?

Yours truly,


To which Mr. Miller replied:

The entirety of Chapter 11 covers the rules for mma.  Each bout is viewed as a separate bout to itself.  We have no rule in place preventing an mma fighter from competing on consecutive days or on the same night. 

Dangerous weight cutting practices have been attracting an ever increasing spotlight in the combat sports community.  The Association of Ringside Physicians have now weighed in on the issue providing the following press release (ARP Weight Cut Reform Press Release) calling for reform:

Unhealthy and sometimes dangerous weight loss practices continue to be a
significant problem in amateur and professional combat sports. The ARP
recommends that regulatory bodies adopt standardized weigh-in policies in
conjunction with year-round weight management and educational programs.

There is a growing body of information in the medical literature that presents
unequivocal evidence of the danger of excessive weight loss, rapid weight loss, and
repeated cycling of weight gain and loss. Rapid weight loss and dehydration have
been proven to negatively affect a number of health-related parameters including:
physical performance, cardiovascular function, temperature regulation, hormonal
balance, nutritional status, neurologic function, mental performance, and energy
utilization. These may cause life-threatening muscle breakdown, shock, heat illness,
kidney failure, and electrolyte imbalances, in addition to placing the athlete at
increased injury risk. Additionally, the possible relationship between dehydration
and predisposition to concussion requires more investigation. Significant
dehydration also puts the athlete at risk of improper rehydration techniques — when,
in reality, proper re-hydration requires hours to days.

The prevalence of these problems is significant. One recent study found that 39% of
MMA fighters were entering competition in a dehydrated state. Many cases of
dehydrated athletes using intravenous fluids to re-hydrate after weigh-ins have been
reported – considered a doping violation with several international organizations.
Heat illness and death in athletes have been previously documented in the sports of
wrestling and MMA. Weight management regulations for boxing/MMA competitors
are warranted to mitigate improper weight loss techniques contributing to severe
dehydration and starvation and their complications.

A number of organizations including the National Collegiate Athletic Association
(NCAA) have adopted rules to minimize unhealthy weight loss in weight–classified
sports. The rules emphasize hydration and body composition assessment to identify
an individual’s proper weight class, and provide a safe, gradual, weekly weight
control plan (gain or loss) to achieve same if desired. The new regulations were
subsequently investigated for their effectiveness and were reported to be successful
by minimizing unhealthy weight loss, excessive weight fluctuations, and competition
at weight classes inappropriate for a given athlete. It is noted that the effectiveness
and success of protocols such as same day weigh-ins are directly tied to proper
weight management programs.


The ARP recommends standardized weigh-in policies in conjunction with year round

weight management programs. These would include scheduling weigh-ins
twenty four hours or less before the start of competition. Therefore, establishing a
lowest allowed fighting weight (weight class) for competitors through body
composition and hydration assessment is essential. Combatants should be assessed
and certified at biased examiners, in conjunction with licensure, and stored in an
international data bank accessible to athletic regulatory bodies. In this light, the
ARP will be estabtheir appropriate weight annually. This assessment should be
completed by non-lishing a medical database to provide this and other resources.

Regulatory bodies should also consider adding additional weight classes in certain
sports where needed

Additionally, in order for an athlete to maintain proper weight control and optimal
body composition, a continual commitment to proper diet and training is required.
Educational programs should be established to inform coaches, athletes,
administrators, promoters and sponsors about the adverse consequences of prolonged
fasting and dehydration on performance and health. These programs should
discourage the use of extreme methods for making weight; i.e., excessive heat
methods (such as rubberized suits, steam rooms, hot boxes, saunas), excessive
exercise, induced vomiting, laxatives and diuretics. Nutritional programs should
also be instituted to emphasize and meet an athlete’s individual needs for adequate
daily caloric intake from a balanced diet high in healthy carbohydrates, the minimum
requirement of fat, and appropriate amounts of protein.

The ARP wishes to thank Alan C. Utter, Ph.D., M.P.H., FACSM, Appalachian State
University, Boone, NC for his dedicated assistance in the development of this
consensus statement.


It is rumored that, following WSOF Canada’s Ford v. Powell card, fighter pay issues arose with some cheques issued being cancelled or otherwise not clearing.  I reached out to WSOF Canada to verify these rumours but at the time of publication they have yet to respond:

tweet WSOF Canada





I am advised by a source privy to the situation that the promoter is dealing with any outstanding issues which may have arisen and that new cheques have since been issued.

Hopefully this is true, however, this story highlights something that should never happen in professional MMA.  Leaving aside promoter duties to fulfill their contractual obligations, Government Athletic Commissions exist first and foremost for the protection of fighters.  This applies not only in ensuring reasonable safety precautions are in place but also to ensure financial obligations are met.

Section 10 of Edmonton’s Combative Sports Bylaw, which was in force during the Ford v. Powell card, requires that:

At least five days prior to the date of the Event the holder of an Event Permit must submit to the Executive Director…a certified cheque in the amount necessary to pay…the maximum amount of prize money that could be awarded to Contestants at the Event”.

Note that this clause is mandatory. The use of the word “must” leaves no discretion and mandates that certified cheques sufficient to cover a fight purse be paid ahead of time.  Clauses like this are common for combat sports athletic commissions across Canada and the US and exist for a reason – to protect the financial interests of licensed combatants.  If this rule is adhered to fighter non-payment should never be an issue.

If a promoter does not make good on a fight purse, an Athletic Commission that fails to strictly follow clauses such as the above would likely be liable to make up any shortfall.  Hopefully this is nothing but rumour and WSOF Canada have met all of their contractual obligations.  If not, however, this is a lesson for commissions not to take short cuts otherwise they can be left holding the bag.

As the Government appointed body tasked with amateur MMA regulation in Saskatchewan the SMAA is an agent of Government and must ensure that they operate with legal protections in mind including those set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Unfortunately one of the SMAA’s policies appear to run afoul of these protections, specifically their policy for event sanctioning.

In order to receive event sanctioning for amateur MMA in the Province, a promoter must be an SMAA member.  Among the various requirements for SMAA membership is a term that “applying clubs must have been (in) operation in one location in Saskatchewan for a minimum of one year prior to application.”.  When held up against “mobility rights” guaranteed in the Canadian Charter this clause is troubling when applied to out of Province promoters.

Section 6(2) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides Canadian citizens and permanent residents with the following protection:

2) Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right

  • (b) to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province.

Section 6(3) of the Charter provides the following limited exception to this guarantee:

(3) The rights specified in subsection (2) are subject to

  • (a) any laws or practices of general application in force in a province other than those that discriminate among persons primarily on the basis of province of present or previous residence

As has been held by Courts interpreting this provision, section 6(2)(b) protects the right of Canadians to pursue their livelihoods in any province even though they may not be residents.  If a Canadian citizen or permanent resident from out of Province wishes to host an amateur MMA event in Saskatchewan the SMAA will prevent them from being licensed unless they first set up a physical operation in Saskatchewan for a minimum of one year.  This is a requirement that can hardly be met without also setting up residence.  The effective reality is to ban any out of province promoters from hosting amateur MMA events.

While the SMAA’s policies are currently being legally challenged, allegations of “mobility rights” violations have not been plead.  If a Court was to scrutinize the the above SMAA policy with the Canadian Charter in mind there is a good chance the SMAA would be forced to overhaul their licensing criteria.

Saskatchewan Bill 108






Less than a year following passage of Bill S-209 the landscape for professional MMA in Canada continues to take shape with another Province formally legalizing the sport.

On March 18, 2014 the Saskatchewan Athletics Commission Act  (Bill 108) passed Third Reading.  The Act creates a Province wide Athletics Commission which will regulate professional boxing, MMA and “other prescribed sport(s)” in the Province.

The Act comes into force on proclamation.  Once in force the Lieutenant Governor in Council will pass appropriate regulations setting out the specific details for professional MMA in the Province.

The Third Reading was direct and to the point.  Below is the transcript of the proceedings in full:

Mr. Michelson: — Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I am
instructed by the Standing Committee on Intergovernmental
Affairs and Justice to report Bill No. 108, The Athletics
Commission Act without amendment.

The Speaker: — It has been moved by the Chair of the
Intergovernmental Affairs and Justice report that the Bill No.
108, The Athletics Commission Act be reported without
amendment. Is the Assembly ready for the question?

Some Hon. Members: — Question.

The Speaker: — It has been moved by the Chair that the . . .
Okay. We have a new script and I went a little too close to the
top here.

When shall this Bill be considered in Committee of the Whole?
I recognize the Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport.

Hon. Mr. Doherty: — Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I request leave
to waive consideration in Committee of the Whole on this bill
and that the bill be now read the third time.

The Speaker: — The minister has requested leave to waive
consideration in Committee of the Whole on Bill No. 108, The
Athletics Commission Act without amendment and that the bill
be now read the third time. Is leave granted?

Some Hon. Members: — Agreed.

The Speaker: — The minister may proceed to move third



Bill No. 108 — The Athletics Commission Act

Hon. Mr. Doherty: — Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move that
this bill be now read the third time and passed under its title.

The Speaker: — It has been moved by the minister that Bill
No. 108, The Athletics Commission Act be now read the third
time and passed under its title.

Is the Assembly ready for the question?

Some Hon. Members: — Question.

The Speaker: — Is it the pleasure of the Assembly to adopt the

Some Hon. Members: — Agreed.

The Speaker: — Carried.

Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel: — Third reading of
this bill.

Since laws and regulations regarding Combat Sports vary from State to State and Province to Province some unique provisions exist across different jurisdictions.  One interesting provision that caught my eye when reviewing the Texas Combative Sports Administrative Rules relates to the ability to hold MMA contests with no gloves.

Section 61.111 of the CSAR deal with MMA.  Rule 61.111(b) specifically allows MMA events to be hosted with no gloves whatsoever provided that “If both contestants are not wearing gloves, frontal palm/heel strikes and closed fist punches are not permitted, except to the body.”

Subsection (g) goes on to note that “If contestants are not wearing gloves, it is not permissible to wrap hands, but wrists may be taped….Contestants choosing not to wear gloves, may only compete with other contestants who choose not to wear gloves.

Another noteworthy Texas provision relates to contestant outfits with subsection (e) allowing MMA combatants to “wear shorts, trunks, wrestling singlet, or traditional martial arts Gi,“.

Other than the above restrictions the Texas rules are largely in compliance with the so called unified Rules of MMA.

So, if you want full Gi, no glove, full contact MMA (with the exception of closed fist and palm strikes to the face), there’s no place like Texas!






After much dysfunction it appear the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation has grown weary of the infighting between the CNMMAF and the CAMMAF (the two groups vying to be the Canadian representative in the organization) and has now dropped ties with both groups.  In a press release issued today the IMMAF has announced a new representative, the Canadian Combat Alliance.

As previously discussed, for there to be a viable National Sporting Organization for amateur MMA in Canada ‘big tent’ politics need to be followed and the organizations need to encourage grass roots growth, not a race for power and control.  Hopefully the CCA will have better success in this regard.

Below is the full IMMAF press release:

Tryouts for the Canadian national team will be organised by the Canadian Combat Alliance, details to be announced Friday March 21st. The CCA was approved on March 18th 2014 for observation membership status and have been given the task of ensuring that MMA athletes are able to compete for a spot in the national team. Being the home of many successful MMA athletes over the years, Canada should prove a strong contender at the World Championships in Las Vegas, tapping from a wide pool of talent across the large country.

The CCA membership follows upon a couple of months of turbulence in the Canadian MMA community. The IMMAF has regrettably been forced to disaffiliate the two previous members – first the CAMMAF and recently the CNMMAF – which has negatively affected the situation for the Canadian athletes.

The IMMAF membership comes with requirements to be met and one of the most important requirements is majority representation. This stems from MMA being a young sport; what is happening now all around the world is that people are coming together to form the basic fabric needed to support the development of the sport. Established sports already rely on a structure; clubs, gyms and athletes are affiliated to one national federation and the federation has a nation-wide mandate to represent the sport. When there is no established entity in place something needs to be formed, and in order to do that with credibility and voluntary support the entire MMA community must take part. One group can’t dominate the others, trust needs to be established and democracy must rule.

Dedicated individuals within the CAMMAF, the CNMMAF and other groups across the country are currently working hard for the sport of MMA and that deserves recognition and respect. The IMMAF has however failed in our repeated attempts to bring the two major groups together in cooperation. With constellations and partnerships breaking down, people moving in and out of the groups and there being a general mistrust among peers the IMMAF regrettably has little hard fact to go on in assessing the degree to which requirements are met. For now the decision must therefore be to not engage either party. The IMMAF is deeply committed to supporting and enabling democratic, non-profit representation for the Canadian MMA community and will continue to encourage cooperation and engage key groups in dialogue. The IMMAF board decided on affiliating the CCA with the explicit task of working out a long-term solution that engages all parties.

The CCA is an experienced and well established organization currently developing and promoting MMA, grappling, BJJ and pankration in Canada. They have been tasked to represent the IMMAF in this period of transition; hosting the tryouts, facilitating dialogue with all key parties of the MMA community and thus laying the ground-work for the establishment of a national federation solely for MMA that has wide national and provincial representation. IMMAF headquarters will resume active work of facilitating a permanent solution for Canada after the summer and until then invites all parties to engage with the CCA and put aside differences for the greater good.

For questions regarding the Canadian tryouts please contact the CCA at or email For questions or suggestions regarding the representation of MMA in Canada please contact