From the strange but true files, fighters competing at the UFC’s upcoming card in Halifax are entering an odd legal landscape. I have previously canvassed some Nova Scotia legal peculiarities here along with legal positives for fighters but there is one regulation which deserves a stand-alone post. The fight ending groin shot.
The Nova Scotia Boxing Authority (who oversee MMA in the Province because “a combat sport is boxing” by their regulations) don’t believe a fight can end by groin shot.
Nova Scotia’s official Promoter-Boxer Contract contains the following clause –
6. (1) The Boxer agrees to use a foul-proof guard/chest protector selected by the Boxer of a type approved by the Authority.
(2) 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.
But this is MMA, not boxing you say? It does not matter, because remember, by legal definition in Nova Scotia MMA is a combat sport and combat sports are boxing.
Still not convinced? Nova Scotia has an ‘off the books’ regulation (which is not legally in force but apparently used by the Authority) for MMA and the Promoter-Contestant contract has an almost identical clause referring to “contestants” instead of “boxers” noting as follows:
6. (1) The Contestant agrees to equip himself/herself with a foul-proof guard/chest protector of his/her own choosing.
(2) It is expressly understood that this contest is not to be terminated by a low blow, as any foul- proof guard selected by the Contestant is, in the Contestant’s opinion, sufficient protection to withstand any so-called low blow that might otherwise incapacitate the Contestant.
OK, you say, that’s just the promoter-fighter contract and not the actual regulations. The actual regulations must not allow this, right? Wrong. Section 146 of current regulations (which the Province confirmed to me just last week are indeed still in force) repeats the bizarre requirement noting
146 (1) 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.
(2) 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.
So, in short, both on the books and off the books the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority make it clear – if you can’t compete after a low-blow you lose.
Will these rules be followed? I’m guessing not. The Authority will likely turn a blind eye to these rules and allow the UFC to use the so-called unified rules. However, if a fighter is disqualified after giving an illegal low-blow they would win an appeal to have the result overturned according to the actual rules. I guess my legal advice to fighters is to truly “protect yourself at all times” in the Bluenose Province. That, or train with Master Ken!