Update June 24, 2014 – the vote for the below bill has been postponed until July 14:
Last month I discussed Vernon, BC’s, plans to ban Mixed Martial Arts from their City. The proposed law has now been drafted and is up for discussion and voting on June 23, 2014.
In short the law seeks to ban both professional and amateur MMA within City limits. Those that break the law are exposed to a fine of up to $10,000 for “each day that the offence is continued“.
While the City is on sound footing in having the legal authority to ban professional MMA, the proposed ban on Amateur MMA is suspect and arguably outside the scope of the City’s powers given the legal framework the Federal Government and the Province have put together for the regulation of the sport.
The proposed law, Bylaw Number 5505, reads as follows:
WHEREAS section 59(1)(f) of the Community Charter authorizes Council to prohibit
professional boxing, professional wrestling and other professional athletic contests;
AND WHEREAS section 8(3)(i) of the Community Charter authorizes Council to prohibit
activities in relation to public health;
AND WHEREAS under section 2(1)(a) of the Private Health Bylaws Regulation (B.C.
Reg. 42/2004) a bylaw in relation to the protection, promotion or preservation of the
health of individuals must be deposited with the Minister of Health;
AND WHEREAS section 8(6) of the Community Charter authorizes Council to control,
inspect, limit and restrict business, including by establishing rules respecting what must
be done in relation to the business and business activities;
AND WHEREAS section 59(2) of the Community Charter provides that before adopting
a bylaw under section 8(6) or 59(1), Council must give notice of its intention as Council
considers reasonable, and provide an opportunity for persons who consider they are
affected by the bylaw to make representations to Council;
NOW THEREFORE the Council of the Corporation of the City of Vernon in open
meeting enacts as follows:
1. This bylaw shall be cited for all purposes as “City of Vernon Mixed Martial Arts
Bylaw Number 5505, 2014.
2. In this bylaw,
(a) “business” means carrying on a commercial activity or undertaking of any kind
or providing a service for the purpose of profit or gain;
(b) “contest” includes an exhibition;
(c) “matchmaker” means a person who arranges contests between particular
athletes for a mixed martial arts contest;
(d) “mixed martial arts” means unarmed combat between two or more persons
involving the use of a combination of techniques from other martial arts,
including, without limitation, grappling, kicking, striking and holding;
(e) “promoter” means a person who carries on a business in relation to mixed
(f) “second” means a person who assists an athlete between rounds in the
course of a mixed martial arts contest or exhibition.
Mixed Martial Arts
3. No person may engage as a contestant in a professional mixed martial arts
4. No person may engage as a contestant in an amateur mixed martial arts contest.
5. Without limiting section 3 or 4 or other forms of athletic contest, no person may
engage as a contestant in a mixed martial arts contest if the contest is or relates
to a business or business activity.
6. Without limiting sections 3, 4 or 5, or other forms of athletic contest, no person
may act as a promoter, matchmaker or second in a mixed martial arts contest or
exhibition if the contest or exhibition is or relates to a business activity.
Offences and Fines
7. (a) Every person who contravenes, suffers or permits any act or thing to be done
in contravention of, or neglects to do or refrains from doing anything required to
be done pursuant to any provision of this bylaw or any notice issued pursuant to
this bylaw, commits an offence punishable on summary conviction, and shall be
liable to a fine not exceeding the sum of $10,000.00.
(b) Where an offence is a continuing offence, each day that the offence is
continued shall constitute a separate and distinct offence.
8. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provisions of this bylaw shall not affect
the validity or enforceability of any other provision of this bylaw, which shall
remain in full force and effect.