After BJJ Tournament Ontario Doubles Down on “Illegal” Combat Sports

Last week NextGen Brazillian Jiu Jitsu hosted an amateur BJJ contest despite the Province saying such events are illegal.  In an interesting twist Toronto police officers were present but not to arrest anyone, rather they posed for photos with participants thumbing their nose at the Province’s position.

Photo Toronto Police

The Province, apparently not too pleased with this show of defiance, has now doubled down sending a letter to all “Professional Combative Sports Stakeholders” threatening those that participate in “illegal” events.

The full letter is set out below:

Ontario Letter

While there is no doubt the government can use section 83 of the Criminal Code to keep various ‘prize fights’ illegal there is a live debate about whether the vaguely drafted section gives the Province the power to deem amateur grappling contests illegal.  As previously discussed the Senator that wrote the law has gone on record saying this was never the law’s intent.

I repeat my offer that while I can’t encourage anyone to break the law, my offer remains open that should anyone in Ontario (or Quebec, another jurisdiction that is seeking to expand s. 83 to grappling events) be criminally charged I will, if asked, work with your local lawyer free of charge to help navigate this legal landscape.


5 thoughts on “After BJJ Tournament Ontario Doubles Down on “Illegal” Combat Sports

  1. Grappling Industries is intent on putting on an event in Toronto in November, which seems reasonable as it doesn’t look like anything has really been changed or affected by the province’s letter writing. Should potential competitors be concerned that the event could be stopped by the province or some sort of legal action be taken against us? Has there been any developments on the PSO front since July?

  2. Given the Province’s position there is always some threat the event can be shut down or legal action can be taken. Unless Ontario changes their position or until they assign a PSO for BJJ there is risk. I cannot encourage anyone to do something that breaks the law but my offer remains good that if someone happens to be criminally charged under s. 83 for participating in a BJJ tournament in Ontario I will work with your local lawyer free of charge to help address the issue.

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