Archive for the ‘BC Combat Sports Law’ Category

The BC Athletic Commission overhauled their rules governing amateur kickboxing in late 2015 and has now published these revised rules at their website.

One of the biggest changes involves cleaning up the language with respect judging criteria with the new rules setting out the below easy to understand standards which are far clearer than those under the old rules.

17.1 Judging Criteria Priority Judges will score each round based on points awarded in the following priority:

a. Number of knockdowns

b. Cumulative damage inflicted on the opponent

c. Number of clean strikes scored

d. Ring control / aggressiveness

The criteria higher on the list will take precedent in scoring over criteria lower on the list

The full rules can be found here – BCAC Amateur Kickboxing Rules Nov 2015

Glory 20 Promo Image

With Glory 20 scheduled to take place in Dubai on April 3, 2015, British Columbia’s very own Gabriel Varga is scheduled to compete for the promotion’s featherweight world title.

Despite this accomplishment Varga cannot compete professionally in his own backyard and this situation does not appear likely to change anytime soon.

You can click here for the back-story on why British Columbia considers it out its power to allow professional kickboxing, and here for Senator Runciman’s criticism that BC’s legal position “defies logic”.

Last month the Province appointed a new Athletic Commissioner and with this changing of the guard rumors swirled that pro kickboxing may indeed soon be legalized.  Unfortunately these rumors are false.  I reached out to BC’s new Athletic Commissioner who advises that “the Province, at this time, does not intend to revisit the decision” to legalize pro kickboxing“.

Here is the Commissioner’s full e-mail:

From: BC Athletic Commissioner CSCD:EX
Sent: March-16-15 11:35 AM
To: Erik Magraken
Subject: Re: Professional Kickboxing

 Dear Erik Magraken,

Thank you for your email dated March 10, 2015 about the above referenced matter. Please be advised that the Province, at this time, does not intend to revisit the decision to preclude professional Kickboxing as part of the regulatory oversight of the BC Athletic Commission.

Sincerely

Wayne Willows

BC Athletic Commissioner

Update August 13, 2014 – Voting on this bylaw is now scheduled for September 8 at 1:30 pm

vernon MMA ban update

Update July 23, 2014 – Today the City of Vernon confirmed to me, via Twitter, that they have dropped the intended ban on amateur MMA with the proposed legislation only targeting professional Mixed Martial Arts Vernon City Tweets Re MMA Ban Bill                         ________________________________________________________________________________________________

Recently I canvassed the City of Vernon, BC’s, plans to ban MMA competitions from the City’s borders.  The first draft of the proposed law sought to ban both professional and amateur MMA events.  The proposed ban on amateur MMA is legally problematic and arguably outside of the scope of the City’s powers. Vernon now appears alive to this concern and they are considering a new version of the proposed ban which will only prohibit professional contests.  Below is  the City’s reasons addressing the reasons why the first version is problematic; Vernon Rational on no ammy ban page 1   Vernon Rational on no ammy ban page 2                                   ——————————————————————————————

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

______________________________________________________

And here is the wording of the alternative version of the proposed MMA Ban:  

WHEREAS section 59(1 )(f) of the Community Charter authorizes Council to prohibit professional boxing, professional wrestling and other professional athletic contests; AND WHEREAS section 8(3)(i) of the Community Charter authorizes Council to prohibit activities in relation to public health; AND WHEREAS under section 2(1 )(a) of the Private Health Bylaws Regulation (B.C. Reg. 42/2004) a bylaw in relation to the protection, promotion or preservation of the health of individuals must be deposited with the Minister of Health; AND WHEREAS section 8(6) of the Community Charter authorizes Council to control, inspect, limit and restrict business, including by establishing rules respecting what must be done in relation to the business and business activities; AND WHEREAS section 59(2) of the Community Charter provides that before adopting a bylaw under section 8(6) or 59(1 ), Council must give notice of its intention as Council considers reasonable, and provide an opportunity for persons who consider they are affected by the bylaw to make representations to Council;

NOW THEREFORE the Council of the Corporation of the City of Vernon in open meeting enacts as follows: Citation 1. This bylaw shall be cited for all purposes as “City of Vernon Mixed Martial Arts Bylaw Number 5505, 2014″.

Definitions 2. In this bylaw, (a) “business” means carrying on a commercial activity or undertaking of any kind or providing a service for the purpose of profit or gain; (b) “contest” includes an exhibition; (c) “matchmaker” means a person who arranges contests between particular athletes for a mixed martial arts contest; (d) “mixed martial arts” means unarmed combat between two or more persons involving the use of a combination of techniques from other martial arts, including, without limitation, grappling, kicking, striking and holding; (e) “promoter” means a person who carries on a business in relation to mixed martial arts; (f) “second” means a person who assists an athlete between rounds in the course of a mixed martial arts contest or exhibition.

Mixed Martial Arts 3. No person may engage as a contestant in a professional mixed martial arts contest.

4. Without limiting section 3 or other forms of athletic contest, no person may engage as a contestant in a professional mixed martial arts contest if the contest is or relates to a business or business activity.

5. Without limiting sections 3 or 4, or other forms of athletic contest, no person may act as a promoter, matchmaker or second in a mixed martial arts contest if-the contest is or relates to a business or business activity.

6. Nothing in sections 3 through 5 regulates an amateur mixed martial arts contest or exhibition held by or in relation to the business of a mixed martial arts training studio or trainer holding a valid and subsisting business license.

Offences and Fines 7. (a) Every person who contravenes, suffers or permits any act or thing to be done in contravention of, or neglects to do or refrains from doing anything required to be done pursuant to any provision of this bylaw or any notice issued pursuant to this bylaw, commits an offence punishable on summary conviction, and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding the sum of $10,000.00. (b) Where an offence is a continuing offence, each day that the offence IS continued shall constitute a separate and distinct offence.

Severability 8. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provisions of this bylaw shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision of this bylaw, which shall remain in full force and effect.

It is, at this stage, unclear which version of the law will be voted on although it appears they are leaning towards the legally problematic first draft.  I will continue to report on this matter as further details unfold.

Update June 24, 2014 – the vote for the below bill has been postponed until July 14:

 

City of Vernon MMA Ban Vote Delayed

 

 

 

 

__________________________________________________

Last month I discussed Vernon, BC’s, plans to ban Mixed Martial Arts from their City.  The proposed law has now been drafted and is up for discussion and voting on June 23, 2014.

In short the law seeks to ban both professional and amateur MMA within City limits.  Those that break the law are exposed to a fine of up to $10,000 for “each day that the offence is continued“.

While the City is on sound footing in having the legal authority to ban professional MMA, the proposed ban on Amateur MMA is suspect and arguably outside the scope of the City’s powers given the legal framework the Federal Government and the Province have put together for the regulation of the sport.

The proposed law, Bylaw Number 5505, reads as follows:

WHEREAS section 59(1)(f) of the Community Charter authorizes Council to prohibit
professional boxing, professional wrestling and other professional athletic contests;
AND WHEREAS section 8(3)(i) of the Community Charter authorizes Council to prohibit
activities in relation to public health;
AND WHEREAS under section 2(1)(a) of the Private Health Bylaws Regulation (B.C.
Reg. 42/2004) a bylaw in relation to the protection, promotion or preservation of the
health of individuals must be deposited with the Minister of Health;
AND WHEREAS section 8(6) of the Community Charter authorizes Council to control,
inspect, limit and restrict business, including by establishing rules respecting what must
be done in relation to the business and business activities;
AND WHEREAS section 59(2) of the Community Charter provides that before adopting
a bylaw under section 8(6) or 59(1), Council must give notice of its intention as Council
considers reasonable, and provide an opportunity for persons who consider they are
affected by the bylaw to make representations to Council;
NOW THEREFORE the Council of the Corporation of the City of Vernon in open
meeting enacts as follows:
Citation
1. This bylaw shall be cited for all purposes as “City of Vernon Mixed Martial Arts
Bylaw Number 5505, 2014.
Definitions
2. In this bylaw,
(a) “business” means carrying on a commercial activity or undertaking of any kind
or providing a service for the purpose of profit or gain;

(b) “contest” includes an exhibition;

(c) “matchmaker” means a person who arranges contests between particular
athletes for a mixed martial arts contest;
(d) “mixed martial arts” means unarmed combat between two or more persons
involving the use of a combination of techniques from other martial arts,
including, without limitation, grappling, kicking, striking and holding;
(e) “promoter” means a person who carries on a business in relation to mixed
martial arts;
(f) “second” means a person who assists an athlete between rounds in the
course of a mixed martial arts contest or exhibition.
Mixed Martial Arts
3. No person may engage as a contestant in a professional mixed martial arts
contest.
4. No person may engage as a contestant in an amateur mixed martial arts contest.
5. Without limiting section 3 or 4 or other forms of athletic contest, no person may
engage as a contestant in a mixed martial arts contest if the contest is or relates
to a business or business activity.
6. Without limiting sections 3, 4 or 5, or other forms of athletic contest, no person
may act as a promoter, matchmaker or second in a mixed martial arts contest or
exhibition if the contest or exhibition is or relates to a business activity.
Offences and Fines
7. (a) Every person who contravenes, suffers or permits any act or thing to be done
in contravention of, or neglects to do or refrains from doing anything required to
be done pursuant to any provision of this bylaw or any notice issued pursuant to
this bylaw, commits an offence punishable on summary conviction, and shall be
liable to a fine not exceeding the sum of $10,000.00.
(b) Where an offence is a continuing offence, each day that the offence is
continued shall constitute a separate and distinct offence.

Severability
8. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provisions of this bylaw shall not affect
the validity or enforceability of any other provision of this bylaw, which shall
remain in full force and effect.

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)

_____________________________________________________

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

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.)

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

 

 

Official BCAC AMMA Rules

Earlier this year the BC Athletic Commissioner provisionally adopted the ABC’s amateur MMA rules.

The BC Commissioner has now published an official copy of these  which are appropriately modified to reflect they are the official BC Rules.  A copy can be found here BCAC_Amateur_MMA_Rules

Now that BC has a framework in place for both professional and amateur MMA what happens if an unlicensed event is held?  What penalties can be imposed?

There are different options depending on whether the event is amateur or professional.

If an illegal amateur MMA event is hosted (ie – one that does not have the blessing of BC’s Athletic Commissioner) then there is only one option for punishment; a prosecution under section 83 of the Criminal Code for hosting an illegal prizefight.  This section creates a summary offence.  While this is less serious than an indictable offence conviction still comes with a criminal record, a fine of up to $5,000 and jail time of up to 6 months.  Dave Maedel, BC’s Athletic Commissioner, confirms that “any illegal amateur contests would be prosecuted under the Criminal Code of Canada“.

If an illegal pro MMA event is held in BC the above punishment is still an option.  In addition to this, BC’s Athletic Commissioner Act creates a host of offences which can be punished by fines, imprisonment and other administrative penalties.  Here are the details:

Section 37 of the ACA makes it an offence to contravene any of the following sections of the statute:

  • Section 9 (a), (b), (c), or (d) – promoting or participating in event without a licence
  • Section 12 – complying with the terms and conditions imposed by the licence
  • Section 13 – hosting an event without an event permit
  • Section 17 – paying 5% of gross gate receipts to the Commissioner
  • Section 18 – complying with the terms and conditions imposed by an event permit
  • Section 37 (4) – supplying false or misleading information and other obstructive acts

If a person violates any of these sections in the context of a “professional contest” then they are exposed to prosecution for a provincial offence.  Section 38 of the ACC imposes some hefty penalties on conviction including

  • fines for an individual of up to $10,000
  • imprisonment for up to 12 months
  • fines for a corporation of up to $100,000
  • Potential increased fines of up to “3 times the court’s estimation of the amount of monetary benefit acquired or accrued as a result of the commission of the offence

In addition to all of the above the Athletic Commissioner may impose an administrative penalty to anyone who violates “a prescribe provision of the Athletic Commissioner Act or a term or condition of a licence or event permit”.

These potential penalties are up to $10,000 for individuals, $100,000 for corporations with a ceiling of 25% of gross gate receipts for an event.

Now that the sport is regulated within BC’s borders the bottom line is hosting an unlawful event does not pay.  As can be seen from the above, the regulatory framework has been designed with real teeth imposing steep fines for anyone illegally dabbling in the MMA business not to mention the potential of a criminal conviction as well.