Legal Hurdles To Licence Kelvin Gastelum for UFC 206

Posted: November 27, 2016 in Athletics Commissioner of Ontario, Uncategorized

Update November 29, 2016 – It is being reported that the NYSAC is prepared to waive the suspension in lieu of a fine thus clearing the way for Gastelum to be licenced in Ontario assuming prompt payment of the of the fine.



Update – Shortly after publishing this article Gastelum replied with the following tweet leading to speculation that the NYSAC may have backed away from their suspension



Today the UFC announced that Kelvin Gastelum is scheduled to fight Tim Kennedy at UFC 206 in Toronto.  This, despite Gastelum currently facing a 6 month suspension from the New York State Athletic Commission after failing to make weight and attend the weigh in for UFC 205.

The UFC is somewhat cautious in this fight announcement noting it is “pending approval from the athletic commissions“.

Gastelum is apparently appealing his suspension and if the NYSAC is willing to clear the path then no harm no foul.  If, however, the suspension remains in place he may face regulatory issues being licensed in Ontario.

Regulation 52 passed pursuant to Ontario’s Athletics Control Act governs the licencing of professional MMA fighters in the Province.  Section 8(5) of the Regulation requires Gastelum to hold a “current valid licence to take part in professional contests or exhibitions in another jurisdiction“.  This is a mandatory requirement and there does not appear to be discretion to waive it (although the requirement may violate Canadian constitutionally guaranteed ‘mobility rights’).

The full section reads as follows:

(5) A person who is not a resident of Ontario and who applies for a permit to take part in a professional contest or exhibition shall at the time of applying provide evidence satisfactory to the Commissioner that the person is the holder of a current valid licence to take part in professional contests or exhibitions in another jurisdiction.  R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 52, s. 8 (5); O. Reg. 197/06, s. 4 (1); O. Reg. 465/10, s. 7 (2).

Leaving aside an unlikely full blown constitutional challenge to requirement, Gastelum will have to produce a valid licence from “another jurisdiction“.  His New York licence is suspended so that will not do.  Unless he can provide a valid current licence from another jurisdiction or New York changes their mind Ontario’s hands may be legally tied in approving this fight.

Additionally, section 17.2 of the Regulations may act as a barrier even if Gastelum can navigate the above with the following requirement:

17.2 (1) If a participant is under contract to take part in a professional contest or exhibition, the participant or promoter of the contest or exhibition shall, by the time specified in clause 11 (1) (b) or (c) as applicable, submit to the Commissioner evidence satisfactory to the Commissioner that there are no existing suspensions, prohibitions or other limits restricting or limiting the participant from taking part in a professional contest or exhibition under any other jurisdiction.  O. Reg. 465/10, s. 16.

(2) A participant mentioned in subsection (1) who does not submit the evidence described in that subsection shall not take part in the contest or exhibition.  

  1. dave lebold says:

    I think this part is just as relevant:

    The Athletics Commissioner ensures that:

    Competitors are in good standing (not subject to a suspension)

    On another legal note, I was curious to see if Anthony Johnson with his criminal record of domestic violence would have been able to get a visa to fight in Canada. What do you think?

  2. EMagraken says:

    Well said Dave. s. 17.2 says the same so I’m guessing NYSAC are backing down from the suspension.

    Re: Visa issues, off hand I don’t know. Immigration law is not really my field of expertise so I can only speculate.

  3. […] ban for failing to show up at weigh-ins could put his scheduled UFC 206 fight with Tim Kennedy in jeopardy. The Ultimate Fighter: Season 17 winner, however, seems very confident that he will be good to go […]

  4. […] the information would be released after he is cleared to fight. He indicated he wasn’t aware of a clause in Ontario’s rulebook that suggested a workaround if he provided a valid license in another jurisdiction, such as in […]

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