UFC Halifax Event and Nova Scotia’s Bizarre MMA Rules

Update October 3, 2014 – Nova Scotia’s Deputy Registrar of Regulations confirmed to me that the Regulations discussed below remain the ones presently in place.  In short this means the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority is simply turning a blind eye to their actual laws in having the UFC Halifax card take place under the Unified Rules.  Here is the e-mail from the Deputy Registrar –

Hello,

I confirm that I have searched the Provincial Register of Regulations that lists all regulations that have been filed with our office.  The Register shows no entries for amendments to the 2002 Boxing Authority Regulations, and there do not appear to be any regulations made under the Boxing Authority Act filed with our office, other than the regulations currently posted on our website.

Please contact us again if you have any further questions.

Marie Christ

Deputy Registrar of Regulations

Legal Services Division, Department of Justice

___________________________________________________________

With the UFC’s first ever event in Nova Scotia comes enhanced media attention with all its ups and downs.

My narrow niche deals with addressing legalities in MMA regulation and to put it mildly, this event is a legal mess.  In short, the event must be regulated using traditional boxing rules, and if that is not enough, each fighter must sign a contract stating they will not lose by a low-blow because they will each use “a foul proof guard…sufficient to withstand any so-called low blow” so in other words, fire away!

Here’s the breakdown:

Professional MMA is regulated in Nova Sotia by the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority.  The Authority was created by the Boxing Authority Act.  While the name indicates this body can only oversee boxing the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority Regulations goes on to define all ‘combat sports‘ as boxing.

The problem, however, is that the regulations fail to create a different rule set for different combat sports.  It does not matter if you are fighting MMA, Karate, Jiu Jitsu or Kickboxing, all of these are called ‘boxing’ and, if you want to follow the actual law, you must follow the official regulations.  So, for the upcoming UFC Fight Night to comply with Nova Scotia’s actual laws here are some of the fun rules they need to follow

– Regulation 146 – The infamous ‘low blow’ contract needs to be signed by both boxer and promoter, which reads “It is expressly understood that this boxing match is not to be terminated by a low blow, as any foul-proof guard selected by the Boxer is, in the Boxer’s opinion, sufficient protection to withstand any so-called low blow that might otherwise incapacitate the Boxer

If the contact is not enough they put it right in regulations with s. 146 stating that

No boxing match shall be terminated by a low blow, as the protectors that are used by boxers are sufficient protection to withstand any low blow that might otherwise incapacitate either of the boxers..

If a boxer falls to the ring floor or otherwise indicates an unwillingness to continue because of a claim of a low blow foul, the boxing match shall be terminated and the referee shall award the boxing match to the opponent.”

– Regulation 78 – Three minute rounds are mandatory for male boxers with 2 minute rounds for females.  Bouts must be either 4, 6, 8, or 10 rounds in duration.

– Regulation 84 – The bout must take place in a ring (Pride never die!)

–  Regulation 85 – 8 oz gloves are mandatory except in weight classes above 154 lbs which require 10 oz gloves.

– Regulation 117 – 10 counts are required for downed boxers

– Regulation 130 – Boxers must wear custom made chest protectors

– Regulation 148 and 149 – have a host of fouls incomptible with MMA which include

  • hitting an opponent who is down
  • using a knee against the opponet
  • holding an opponent
  • deliberately maintaiiig a clinch
  • hitting with the butt of the hand, wrist or elbow
  • backhand blows
  • wrestling or roughing at the ropes

So will these Regulations be followed for UFC Fight Night?  Of course not.  They will be ignored and something similar to the Unified Rules will, I expect, be used.  There is of course no legal authority to do this without formal amendment to the Regulations, however, as has been demonstrated occasionally in the Canadian MMA scene, it is far easier for the government to turn a blind eye to the actual law then make all the amendments needed to properly regulate the sport.

__________

I have written the following e-mail to Hubert Earle, the current Director of Combat Sports at the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority.  I will update this article once I have Mr. Earle’s reply –

First let me congratulate your Province for hosting your first UFC event, I hope it is a success.

I am a lawyer who tracks combat sports regulatory matters and have a few questions about the upcoming Halifax card.  As I read the NS Boxing Authority Act and Regulations I don’t see the legal framework for using the unified rules or anything similar to these.

I write to inquire which rules will be used for the upcoming event and to request a copy of these.  I would also like to know if there have been any formal amendments to the Boxing Authority Act or Regulations or any other legal enactment allowing these rules to be used.

I look forward to your reply

——————–

UPDATE October 1, 2014 – Hubert Earle provided me with a copy of Nova Scotia’s amended ‘regulations’.  These don’t appear to have yet been approved by the Governor in Council which means they are not legally in force.  I have asked Mr. Earle to advise, in the event I am mistaken, what day these received approval from the Governor in Council to which he has not replied.  Further, these amended rules still have many of the above noted shortcomings such as not allowing a fight to end via low-blow, and prohibiting many techniques allowed under the Unified Rules (such as hitting an opponent who is down, holding an opponent etc.).

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10 thoughts on “UFC Halifax Event and Nova Scotia’s Bizarre MMA Rules

  1. Actually Nova Scotia and the Boxing Authority has adopted MMA rules significantly similar to the unified rules. They just haven’t been enacted in the legislation as yet as they keep getting amended. The Boxing Authority has the Minister’s approval to use the rules that they have defined and published for MMA bouts. Since they have complete jurisdiction over all combat sports, they can “bend” the rules as they see fit. There is wording in the act that gives them that power.

    Ken

  2. Ken, thank you very much for your comment. I suppose that is the rub of the issue that the Unified Rules have not yet been enacted into legislation. The law on the books, as it stands today, is apparently being ignored.

    Can you share a copy of the MMA Rules which you refer to that are being used with the Minister’s approval?

    Also, is there an Order in Council passed or is this approval an informal matter?

    1. Yes, I do believe an order in council approved the regulations. I do have a copy but not an electronic copy. You could get one from the Boxing Authority itself. Just as any trainer would be able. Let me know if you need it faxed to you I could do it tomorrow.

    1. Okay, I will send it to you tomorrow. I was an official at the time those rules were developed, I helped develop and refine them for the Order in Council so I was pretty sure something was done by now. I could be wrong.

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