Archive for the ‘Manitoba Combative Sports Commission’ Category

Manitoba has tabled Bill 23, the Boxing Amendment Act, which is legislation intended to bring their laws up to date with the current wording in Canada’s Criminal Code.

You can find the Bill here – Manitoba Boxing Amendment Act

The legislation seeks to amend Manitoba’s Boxing Act to achieve the following:

1. rename the Provincial athletic commission to “the Manitoba Combative Sports Commission”

2.  Changing the name of the Boxing Act to “The Combative Sports Act”

3.  Substitutes the word ‘boxing’ for “combative sports” throughout the legislation

4.  Prohibits anyone who is “less than 18 years of age” from competing in a professional combative sport

This bill is not controversial and should pass into law without issue.

Interestingly, the bill will continue to allow professional kickboxing contests to be legally held, a position which at least one other Province believes is not possible under the current language of the Criminal Code.

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Manitoba has become the latest Canadian Province to exercise their powers under s. 83 of the Criminal Code designating a list of amateur combat sports which are legal.

Manitoba has passed Order in Council No. 00257 / 2014 which designates amateur Boxing, Karate and TaeKwonDo as legal sports in the Province.  I should note that Boxing and TaeKownDo were legal prior to this OIC designation as they are Olympic Combat Sports, however, the OIC sets out that these sports need to be regulated by a specified body.

The OIC has provided Karate Manitoba, TaeKwonDo Manitoba and the Manitoba Amateur Boxing Association the authority to regulate amateur ‘prize fights’ in their respective sports.

The full OIC can be found here: Manitoba OIC Legalizing Combat Sports

I have it on good authority that Manitoba is close to exercising their rights under section 83 of the Criminal Code to legalize a variety of amateur combative sports.

Manitoba will apparently pass an Order in Council in the upcoming weeks.  The OIC will designate a variety of traditional amateur marital arts as legal.  These will initially  be limited to striking arts such as Karate.

The Government plans on handing the regulatory reigns to oversight of these sports to various Provincial Sports Organizations.

Amateur MMA and Kickboxing will apparently be excluded from the OIC (meaning they will remain illegal for the time being) as these sports lack a PSO in the Province.

The Province is apparently open minded to legalizing both amateur MMA and Kickboxing, however, they do not wish to be the regulator and the legalization of these sports will be put on hold until the community develops a recognized PSO for these sports which can gain the confidence of the Government.


Update October 8, 2014 – Manitoba has now passed the anticipated OIC.  Details can be found here.

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All tested athletes have reportedly passed their drug tests following UFC 161.  The Manitoba Combative Sports Commissioner has just released the following brief statement:

The Manitoba Combative Sports Commission had random drug testing conducted at UFC 161 in Winnipeg, Manitoba on June 15, 2013. Ten of the twenty two athletes were randomly tested for performance-enhancing drugs and recreational drugs/drugs of abuse. All ten athletes tested passed with negative test results. No therapeutic use exemptions were granted.

 Thank you

 Joel Fingard

Executive Director

Manitoba Combative Sports Commission

UPDATE – July 18, 2013 – Today Bloody Elbow reports that Dan Henderson did not even apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption for Testosterone Replacement Therapy due to the Manitoba Commission’s requirements for this.  You can click here to access my previous article discussing these strict and sensible requirements.

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Following UFC 161 the Manitoba Combative Sports Commission released the required information relating to fighter medical suspensions so these can be published at the Association of Boxing Commissions Official Certified Database for Mixed Martial Arts.  This is done to allow Athletic Commissions in other jurisdictions to find out whether a combatant intending to fight under their watch is under medical suspension.

MCSC’s suspension list was quite barren on details.  The announced suspensions do little more than mention defined periods or ‘indefinite’ medical suspensions with no underlying information as to the injuries leading to these.  Why were Pat Barry and Rashad Evans suspended indefinitely?  What injuries did they sustain?  This lack of information brought criticism from some MMA fans with comments such as:

This is dumb, this has to be the least descriptive medical suspensions I’ve ever heard. I don’t know if it’s because it’s Canada but normally we get a really good breakdown of exactly what will keep guys out. I’m sure it’s just cause it’s Canada“.

Should the MCSC publicly release more information?  The answer is no for a number of reasons.

First off, while the Manitoba Boxing Regulation does require the Commission to hand out medical suspensions they are strictly prohibited from sharing details.  Section 49 of the Regulation reads as follows:

Except for the purpose of enforcing the Act and this regulation, the
commission and its members, employees and agents shall maintain confidentiality
with respect to any medical report, medical certificate, and any related medical
information in its or their possession.

In addition to this, Manitoba has, like most Canadian Jurisdictions, privacy legislation making those who breach the privacy of others subject lawsuits for damages.

Now if complying with the law is not enough, there are other practical reasons why the MCSC’s silence was the right thing to do.

Fighting is a competitive business.   As in all competitive industries, knowledge is power.   Imagine if a government official published something you were forced to share with them that can harm your interests with no right to do so?

What if Rashad had broken ribs?  What if Pat Barry sustained a knee injury?  Do you think their next competitors would benefit from this information?  Of course they would.  If you want proof just think back to the viscous body shots Alistair Overeem used to retire Brock Lesnar following his well publicized diverticulitis surgery.  Camps keep fighter injuries well guarded secrets for a reason.   Its in their fighter’s best interests.  To expect Commissions to publish this valuable information simply for the public’s hunger for details goes against the best interests of the people who make a living in this trade.

Keeping all of the above in mind the MSCS’s silence is golden.

The diverse landscape of MMA regulation makes for potentially interesting issues whenever the UFC dips their toes in a new jurisdiction.  With UFC 161 bringing the organization to Manitoba for the first time a question worth asking is which substances run afoul of Manitoba’s Combative Sports Commission?

Article VIII of the UFC’s Fighter Contract requires fighters to comply with local athletic commission drug testing policies.

Manitoba’s Boxing Act gives the commission the authority to make regulations to provide for fighter drug and alcohol testing.  The Commission has done so with section 48 of the Manitoba Boxing Regulation which states as follows:

“The commission may require a boxer to undergo random drug testing for performance enhancement or illicit drugs. When required to undergo such testing, a boxer shall report for and undergo the testing at the time and place indicated by the commission.”

Interestingly, both the Manitoba Boxing Act, and the Regulation are silent on which drugs are considered illicit performance enhancers.  It takes deeper digging to get to the bottom of this issue with the Commission having an internal policy addressing PED’s. I’ve obtained a copy of this policy which adopts the WADA Prohibited list of banned substances.

What about the controversial TRT Therapeutic Use Exemptions?  Are these allowed in Manitoba?  Despite the silence of the regulations on this point, the MCSC also has an internal policy addressing this.  This policy allows for TRT TUE’s.    Based on the Commissioner’s recent interview with TopMMANews, it appears this policy was passed in contemplation of UFC 161.  For anyone interested, here is the relevant text of the policy which defers to the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports regarding TUE’s:

Athletes with a documented medical condition requiring the use of a Prohibited Substance must first obtain a TUE
MCSC shall use a third party organization – The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) that processes TUEs in accordance with the International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions (ISTUE).
Using the CCES Therapeutic Use Exemption Committee, will ensure that the process of granting TUEs for mixed martial arts events held in Manitoba is harmonized with different sports and countries.
Information about the TUE process including the application form can be found at:
Athletes to review Section 5 of the Canadian Anti-Doping Policy (CADP), which can be found at:
The costs involved will be billed to the promoter and deducted from the fighter pay. Cost per application $500 CAN + applicable taxes. Please note additional fees also could be incurred depending upon additional tests and information required.
• The athlete submits an application for a Therapeutic Use Exemption to The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport
• The Therapeutic Use Exemption application is considered by the CCES Therapeutic Use Exemption Committee (TUEC) pursuant to and in accordance with: 1) its current terms of reference; 2) the Canadian Anti-Doping Program; and 3) the World Anti-Doping Code International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions excluding any reporting requirements to the World Anti-Doping Agency as described in these documents.
• Upon receipt of the TUEC’s decision, the CCES will immediately forward the decision to MCSC who shall in turn, communicate the decision to the athlete
Note: If a Therapeutic Use Exemption is granted by the TUEC, it will only be effective for events sanctioned by the Manitoba Combative Sports Commission.

I have a full copy of the MCSC TUE Drugs and Stimulants policy and am happy to share this on request.

ufc 161 image UFC 161 is in the hands of the Manitoba Combative Sports Commission making the event subject to Manitoba’s Boxing Regulation.

As it presently reads, this regulation does not blindly adopt the Unified Rules but instead has its own list of fouls.  While there is nothing controversial about this, one well-established foul that is not adopted by Manitoba is the 12-6 “downward pointing elbow strike” ban.  (Scroll down to regulation 91.20 for Manitoba’s full list of fouls)

UFC fans will remember the ban of these elbow strikes are responsible for the only blemish on Jon Jones’ MMA record.   So the question is, will this technique be allowed at UFC 161?

I reached out to Manitoba’s Sport Secretariat Joel Fingard for clarity.  The answer is no.  Despite the Regulations on the books, I’m told that the MCSC has internally adopted the Unified Rules and these will be in play for UFC 161.  Why isn’t this rule change reflected officially on the Regulations?  It is intended to be and I am advised that a formal amendment to the Manitoba Boxing Regulation is in the works.  Now that Bill S-209 is on the books and Provinces have clarity Manitoba is ready to overhaul their MMA laws without the need to fit the sport into the ‘boxing’ category.  Joel provides the following sensible explanation:

“We have adopted the ABC Unified rules as a whole however when re removed banned elbow strikes we had not replaced it with the downward elbows foul. We were waiting for S-209 to pass so we could rewrite the Regs to reflect the sports that are now recognized and no longer describe mma as a form of boxing. We anticipate this to be completed this summer.

I appreciate you taking the time to point the absence of this foul from the list out to us.”