Archive for the ‘BC Athletic Commission’ Category

BC Athletic Commission Logo

The office of the British Columbia Athletic Commissioner, who oversee various amateur and professional combat sports in the Province, is looking to overhaul and finalize their rules relating to amateur MMA, Pankration, Kickboxing, Muay Thai and Combat Sports Tournaments (events where athletes participate in more than one match during the event).

The BCAC has put together a Draft of the proposed rules for each of these respective sports which can be found here.

 

BCAC Draft New Amateur Kickboxing Rules

BCAC Draft New Amateur MMA Rules

BCAC Draft New Amateur Muay Thai Rules

BCAC Draft New Amateur Pankration Rules

BCAC Draft New Amateur Tournament Rules

Prior to finalizing these rules the BCAC is looking for feedback from the combat sports ccommunityand other interested parties.

All interested parties are invited to email thoughts and suggestions on how to improve the proposed rules to Athletic.Commissioner@gov.bc.ca.

The deadline for submissions is November 28, 2014.

The Commissioner will review suggestions before finalizing and posting updated rules for use in amateur combat sports. It is anticipated that final rules will be posted in early 2015.

Until new rules are posted, the current versions remain in effect.

The BC Athletic Commissioner has released their post bout drug test results following UFC 174.

The Commission advises as follows:

VICTORIA – British Columbia athletic commissioner Dave Maedel has issued the following
statement about drug testing results received following the UFC 174 match on June 14, 2014,
at Rogers Arena in Vancouver:
“The focus of the BC Athletic Commission is to ensure fighter safety and maintain the integrity
of the sport so athletes are competing on a level playing field.
“There were eight UFC 174 competitors tested on June 14, 2014, for the presence of banned
substances, including the two flyweight title fighters and six random competitors. All
competitors’ test results complied with World Anti-Doping Agency Standards subscribed to by
the BC athletic commissioner, as well as our anti-doping policies.
“In addition to the June 14 tests, Mr. Ali Bagautinov – one of the two flyweight title fighters –
was tested out of competition on June 2, 2014.
“Results received by this office from the June 2 tests on Mr. Bagautinov were positive for
erythropoietin, or EPO – a substance banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency. These results
were not available prior to the UFC 174 event due to lab processing times.
“Mr. Bagautinov lost his bid for the flyweight title to Demetrious Johnson.
“I have suspended Mr. Bagautinov’s licence to compete in British Columbia for a period of one
year.”
The Province established the Office of the BC Athletic Commissioner in May 2013. The
commissioner oversees the conduct of professional boxing and mixed martial arts as well as
amateur mixed martial arts, kickboxing, muay thai and pankration events throughout the
province of B.C.
The athletic commissioner is committed to the safety and integrity of combat sports in the
province. Legislation guiding the athletic commissioner is the Athletic Commissioner Act. 

 

 

UFC 174 promotional poster

(Update – July 11, 2014 – The BCAC has changed their position and did indeed implement an out of competition test prior to UFC 174 on Bagautinov)

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UFC 174 will be the promotion’s first event regulated under the newly formed Office of the British Columbia Athletic Commissioner.

With the big show coming to town BC’s Athletic Commissioner recently released their PED policies outright banning Testosterone Replacement Therpay TUE’s.

Despite this aggressive stance on TRT, the BCAC appears to be limiting their testing to post event screening.  Unlike the Nevada State Athletic Commission who are slowly embracing a policy of more out of competition testing, the BCAC apparently is not prepared to take such steps at this time.  I contacted BC’s Athletic Commissioner, Dave Maedel, asking for the following clarification of their anti doping measures:

the sections dealing with testing procedures are not clear on whether out of competition tests will be conducted or if tests are limited only to events.  Is it your office’s position that out of competition testing (for licensed combatants) is allowed or is testing strictly going to be limited to at event testing?

To which the BCAC replied as follows:

At this time, we will be limiting to in competition testing only.”

A quick legal breakdown reveals that the BCAC has the ability to conduct out of competition testing if they so desire with Section 46(2)(o) of the Athletic Commissioner Act allowing “drug and alcohol testing of professional athletes on a random basis or otherwise“.  With this framework at hand Regulation 21 was passed which requires that “on request of the commissioner, a contestant must report for and provide samples for testing for the presence of a banned substance.“.   The definition of “contestant” includes licensed contestants for the purpose of Section 21 meaning the Commissioner has jurisdiction to request drug screening as soon as a contestant licence is granted.

Anti doping measures in MMA continue to evolve and, as previously discussed, Athletic Commissions should explore more aggressive testing policies to weed out cheating.  Given the reported doping history against one of the combatants competing at UFC 174 (which are apparently disputed by the competitor in question)the BCAC should follow the NSAC’s lead and be open to expanding their testing  to include pre bout screening.

bc athletic commissioner colour logo

The Office of the BC Athletic Commissioner has released their long awaited anti Doping Policy and Therapeutic Use Exemption policy for Performance Enhancing Drugs.

You can find a full copy of the policies here:

BCAC Anti Doping Policy

BCAC TUE Policy

Section 21 of the BC Minister’s Athletic Commissioner Regulations adopted the WADA Prohibited List of Substances.  Today’s Policy simply confirms the WADA list is in force in BC.

What was less clear was whether BC would grant Therapeutic Use Exemptions for prohibited substances to those in medical need.  From my perspective it was implied that if BC adopted the WADA prohibited list they also adopted the WADA test for granting a TUE.  Today’s Policy confirms this in fact is the case.  Interestingly, BC has adopted a complete ban on TRT, which could be subject to Human Rights scrutiny under BC law, with the policy reading as follows:

3.2 Therapeutic Use
3.2.1
Athletes with a documented medical condition requiring the use of a
Prohibited Substance or a Prohibited Method must first obtain a Therapeutic
Use Exception (TUE). The presence of a Prohibited Substance or its
Metabolites or Markers, Use or Attempted Use of a Prohibited Substance or a
Prohibited Method, Possession of Prohibited Substances or Prohibited
Methods or administration of a Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method 4

consistent with the provisions of an applicable TUE issued pursuant to the
WADA International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions shall not be
considered an anti-doping policy contravention.
3.2.2
Athletes competing in British Columbia must obtain a TUE from the BCAC
(regardless of whether the Athlete previously has received a TUE elsewhere)
no later than thirty days before the Athlete’s participation in a competition.
3.2.3
Upon the BCAC’s receipt of a TUE request, the BCAC shall either convene a
panel of BCAC ringside physicians to consider and advise on the request (the
“TUE Panel”) or refer the TUE request to a body the BCAC believes
competent to consider and give advice to the BCAC on TUEs. If the BCAC
convenes a panel, the Chair (as appointed by the BCAC) of the TUE Panel
shall appoint three (3) members of the TUE Panel (which may include the
Chair) to consider such request. The TUE Panel members (or other
competent body as decided by the BCAC) so designated shall promptly
evaluate such request in accordance with the International Standard for
Therapeutic Use Exemptions and render advice to the BCAC on such request.
3.2.4
The BCAC will not grant a TUE request for the use of testosterone

bc athletic commissioner colour logo

Amateur MMA is government regulated in BC and events cannot be held without oversight from the BC Athletic Commissioner.  Given this framework is there a place for a Provincial Sport Organization to help foster and grow AMMA?  The BC Athletic Commissioner thinks so.  I reached out to Dave Maedel and here are his views on this topic:

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Hi Erik.

The Office of the BC Athletic Commissioner believes the establishment of a Provincial Sports Organization for MMA in BC would be beneficial.

Provincial Sport Organizations provide a structure for coach and officials development; ensure rules and regulations are aligned with the recognized national sport organization; and provide members with consistent policies relating to codes of conduct, volunteer and employee screening, dispute resolution etc.  all which benefit and improve the safety of participants.

Dave Maedel

BC Athletic Commissioner

Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development

Victoria, BC  

______________________________________

Presently there is no Government recognized National Sporting Organization for MMA in Canada and if one is ever going to adopted then PSO’s must develop first.   You can’t put the cart before the horse.  Since an NSO for MMA will not be formed until the sport is “established in a minimum of eight Provinces” work on the grass roots level is key.  Having the Athletic Commissioner’s support is a great starting point.

Since their creation earlier this year the BC Athletic Commission has been one of the busiest in the Country overseeing a host of amateur and professional combat sports events with perhaps the most high profile being the recent World Series of Fighting event this past weekend in Vancouver.

With all of these events how many Therapeutic Use Exemptions have been granted for otherwise prohibited substances?  Surprisingly the answer is none as the Commission has yet to be asked to grant a single TUE.

I reached out to BC’s Athletic Commissioner to find out what policies are in place for TUE’s.  So far there are none.  Mr. Maedel responded as follows to my question asking if a TUE policy is in force yet:

Not at this time.

 It has not come up as an issue yet and, as such, it has not risen to the top of the very high pile of things to do. Should we need to deal with a request for a TUE I anticipate we would be able to put something together based on industry practices.

For what it’s worth the framework is in place for a sensible TUE policy.  Section 21(2) of the BC Regulation reads as follows:

For the purpose of this regulation, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances and methods applies as amended from time to time

WADA has set standards for obtaining TUE’s and the path of least resistance would be for BC to formally adopt the WADA standards if they are not already absorbed by the language of Section 21.  The WADA TUE standards are as follows:

The four criteria that must be fulfilled before a TUE is granted are set forth 
in the International Standard for TUEs: 
1. “The Athlete would experience a significant impairment to health if 
the Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method were to be withheld in 
the course of treating an acute or chronic medical condition.” (Article 
4.1 a. of the International Standard for TUEs.)

2. “The Therapeutic Use of the Prohibited Substance or Prohibited 
Method would produce no additional enhancement of performance 
other than that which might be anticipated by a return to a state of 
normal health following the treatment of a legitimate medical 
condition. 

3. “There is no reasonable Therapeutic alternative to the Use of the 
otherwise Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method.” (Article 4.1 
c of the International Standard for TUEs.)

4. “The necessity for the Use of the otherwise Prohibited Substance or 
Prohibited Method cannot be a consequence, wholly or in part, of 
prior non-Therapeutic Use of any Substance from the Prohibited 
List.” (Article 4.1 d. of the International Standard for TUEs.)

Whether professional kickboxing and Muay Thai events can legally be sanctioned in Canada is debatable due to the present wording of Section 83 of the Criminal Code.

As previously discussed, British Columbia has taken a very restrictive interpretation of section 83 and deem these sports illegal in the Province.   I reached out to BC’s Athletic Commissioner to elaborate on BC’s position.  Dave Maedel responds as follows:

“Thank you for your email regarding professional kickboxing in BC. As you know, the federal government voted in June 2013 to pass Bill S-209 exempting mixed martial arts from the Criminal Code. This change to the Criminal Code, however, does not specifically identify professional kickboxing. According to the Criminal Code, the two professional combat sports that the Province is authorized to regulate are boxing and mixed martial arts. Until that changes, those are the only professional combat sports the Province will regulate. Because the Criminal Code falls under federal jurisdiction, members of the kickboxing community who have concerns may wish to contact their local MPs.”

It is unrealistic that section 83 will be further amended any time soon no matter how much pressure is put on local MP’s.  A more realistic alternative would be for an affected party to ask the BC Supreme Court to judicially review the Government’s refusal to licence a professional Kickboxing  / Muay Thai event.  It may be that a Court agrees with the Government’s interpretation, however there is also a possibility that a Court will find that if the Criminal Code allows Provinces to regulate MMA, they can also regulate all of the component sports that make up MMA.    Whatever the outcome judicial interpretation would bring welcome clarity to this situation.

A party with standing (ie – a person directly affected by the Government’s refusal to issue a pro kickboxing licence on the above grounds) can bring a petition to the BC Supreme Court to review the Government’s interpretation of the law.  Specifically, under section 2 of BC’s Judicial Review Procedure Act the Court can provide a declaration with respect to the Government’s interpretation of the statutory power vested in them by section 83 of the Criminal Code.  If a Court agrees that section 83 allows Provinces to regulate all of the professional martial arts that make up the component parts of MMA then that will pass the issue back to the Province to reconsider whether they wish to legalize professional kickboxing and Muay Thai in BC.

When it comes to “Professional” combat sports, Section 83 of the Criminal Code makes them all illegal except a “boxing contest or mixed martial arts contest held in a province with the permission or under the authority of an athletic board, commission or similar body established by or under the authority of the province’s legislature for the control of sport within the province.”

When the Criminal Code was amended earlier this year by Bill S-209, Pat Reid, the Executive Director of the Edmonton Combative Sports Commission, voiced concern that the revision is too restricted and would not allow local athletic commissions to sanction other professional contests such as Kickboxing and Muay Thai. Some thought Reid’s interpretation was off base however the BC Government has just confirmed that they share this restrictive interpretation of the Criminal Code.

In a presentation which aired yesterday, Assistant Deputy Minister David Galbraith confirmed the BC Government’s view that “based on legal counsel’s advice there is not going to be an expansion of professional (combat sports) beyond those two sports (boxing and MMA)“.   When asked specifically if there is a time-frame for the inclusion, at the pro level, of remaining combative sports which are currently not regulated Galbraith replied “based on legal counsel’s advice here in BC and the Provinces interpretation of the Criminal Code….the two sports we can regulate here in BC are boxing and mixed martial arts on a professional basis and until there is a change to that, that will be how and what the Province will be regulating.

This is certainly bad news for anyone hoping to bring in any professional combat sports besides boxing and MMA into BC’s borders.  In practical terms this means that unless the Criminal Code is further amended or unless a Court interprets section 83 of the Criminal Code in a broader way than the BC Government has done all professional combat sports outside of boxing and MMA will remain illegal in BC.   Worse yet, if BC’s interpretation of section 83 is shared by other Provinces then professional Muay Thai and Kickboxing could be illegal across all of Canada.

Given the Herculean effort it took for Bill S-209 to pass there is no realistic possibility of a further amendment to the Criminal Code any time soon.   The only practical hope of changing this reality is for a Court to interpret the Provinces abilities to regulate MMA to include all of the component martial arts that make up the sport.  This is certainly a possibility but only time will tell whether a court is prepared to do so.

The live stream of the BC Government’s presentation addressing combat sports in the Province has now been uploaded.  You can watch here:

 

 

BC Cobat Sports Live Stream Logo

 

 

 

 

 

Given the new changes in BC’s combat sports landscape the Province is hosting “an online technical briefing for all amateur combat sport groups to help interpret and apply these new regulations to their programming.”  This QandA session will be live streamed on Wednesday September 25, 2013 from 11:00 – 12:00.

You can watch at the following link:

http://www.viasport.ca/live-stream-briefing-presentation-new-combat-sport-event-regulations-bc