In British Columbia professional and amateur MMA events along with various other combative sports are regulated by the office of the BC Athletic Commissioner. Individual City’s were stripped of the ability to self regulate events however they enjoy the power to ban professional combat sports if they wish. Such a proposed ban was up for vote but defeated this week in the City of Surrey.
Surrey had not received any request to permit an MMA event since the BC Athletic Commissioner’s office was created in 2013. This changed in 2019 when a promoter sought to host an event in the City. City documents reveal that “The City’s long-standing position on this issue is that Surrey does not support hosting professional MMA events that are regulated by the Office of the BC Athletic Commissioner“.
A ‘long standing position‘ however is far short from a formal ban and an thin legal reason to turn away a promoter. The City looked to change this by proposing Surrey Professional Mixed Martial Arts Events Bylaw, 2020, No. 20000. This proposed law would ban pro MMA events in the City and expose anyone who violated the ban to fines of up to $10,000 and “to imprisonment for a term not more than 6 months.”
The proposed bylaw, however, was defeated this week.
As reported by Tom Zytaruk of SurreyNowLeader 5 councillors voted against the Bylaw thus defeating it.
The proposed bylaw and the City’s reasons justifying it as a proposal can be found here – Surrey Proposed Bylaw Banning Pro MMA