Archive for the ‘Nova Scotia Boxing Authority’ Category

Update January 19, 2017 – Today I confirmed with Nova Scotia’s Registrar of Regulations that the regulations referenced in the below article are indeed current and in force.  They replied as follows

 Hello Mr Magraken,

The regulations on our website are current consolidations of all the regulations filed with our office.  Any amendments filed with our office that are not consolidated would be noted in the Regulations by Act listing of the regulations as well as on the regulations document itself.  Amendments are incorporated into the consolidated version within 2 weeks of filing with our office.

We have no recent amendments on file for these regulations.

We hope this information has been helpful to you.  Please contact us again if you require assistance with Nova Scotia’s regulations.

UFC Halifax Promo Screenshot.PNG

The UFC returns to Halifax, Nova Scotia on February 19, 2017.

Something the main event fighters may not know is how much they should be able to demand for headlining this card.  Perhaps $380,000, maybe even more.

Unlike most North American jurisdictions, Nova Scotia has a unique legislative requirement on the books for prize fighters.   Section 58 of Nova Scotia’s Boxing Authority Regulations (which apply to MMA bouts by virtue of the definition of boxing set out in s. 2(3) of the Regulations which states that “a combat sport is boxing.) require that “The minimum percentage of the receipts to be paid to boxers in the main boxing match shall be not less than 10% for each boxer“.

The last time the UFC came to Halifax the live gate receipts flirted close to $1,000,000.  Assuming a repeat this would mean a minimum purse of $100k per fighter to comply with the law.

The language of section 58, however, does not appear limited to the live gate. The Regulation uses the broad word ‘receipts.’. The Nova Scotia Boxing Authority Act defines “gross gate receipts” to include “all money collected in respect of a boxing match including all television and film royalties“.  In other words, the fighters may be able to legally demand 10% of all the the UFC’s revenues pro-rated to this event.

With the UFC Fox deal being reportedly worth $115 million annually and with Fox televising 41 events in 2016 means a pro-rated value of $2.8 million per event.  10% of this is $280,000 and when added to the speculated gate you reach $380,000 for each headliner.  Other revenue streams can be factored in to bolster this potential number even higher.

What if the UFC don’t comply with this section?  What recourse would fighters have?  They would be able to ask the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority to force compliance.

Section 9 the Boxing Authority Act requires the Authority to “establish and enforce uniform rules for the conduct of boxing” ie – enforce their regulations.

If they are not prepared to (and unfortunately the Authority have turned a blind eye to their regulations in the past to accommodate the UFC) fighters can seek a judicial remedy.

Some have asked me if this means going to Court in Nevada. As the UFC class action plaintiff’s learned UFC contracts contain a ‘choice of venue‘ clause for all lawsuits involving the interpretation of the contracts.  Interestingly this likely would not apply, however, as such a lawsuit would not be a contractual dispute rather an action based on enforcing a local statutory requirement.  In other words, the 10 percent protection applies regardless of what a UFC contract has to say.

A lawsuit using the power of s. 58 can be quite revealing as, if successful, it would force the UFC open their books and account for all revenue streams pro-rated to the event.  Time will tell if fighters will take advantage of this powerful legal protection.

When the UFC came to Halifax in October, 2014, the promotions first and so far only event in Nova Scotia, a host of regulatory issues arose.

First the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority, the entity which has legal jurisdiction to regulate ‘combat sports’ in the Province, turned a blind eye to their regulations for the UFC.  They may have failed to enforce their fighter pay rules for the event headliners, now, MMAFighting reports, they may have bungled disciplinary proceedings following a drug test of competitor Pedro Munhoz.

MMAFighting reports that the NSBA delegated drug testing powers to the UFC following the event.  The UFC conducted a test and subsequently Munhoz was “informed by the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority that my exam came back positive for high levels of testosterone and they would suspend me“.  That suspension is apparently being appealed as the test results are supposedly within prescribed limits according to Munhoz.  Here’s where its interesting, there is no such thing as prescribed limits for testosterone levels in Nova Scotia, in fact the whole PED testing landscape is quite barren.

Just as the ‘unified rules’ of MMA were missing from Nova Scotia’s legal landscape, so too were proper regulations when it comes to defined prohibited substances.

The Nova Scotia Boxing Authority is a creature of statute.  They only have the powers that the legislature gave them.  They were created under the Boxing Authority Act which does not, on its face, give the NSBA power to conduct (or therefore delegate) drug tests.  The Act does allow for Regulations to be passed respecting “conditions…to be observed by any licensee” and further “concerning the medical examination of all boxers”.  Arguably a drug testing regulation can be passed under this power.

Turning to the official Regulations, however, we find only limited statutory power.  With respect to testing powers the Regulations only allow urine testing reading “An application for a boxer’s licence shall be accompanied by…a signed certificate of waiver stating that the boxer will submit to a post-fight urinalysis if the Authority so orders.“.  The section is notably silent on defining which substances are prohibited.  The section is also silent on giving the NSBA authority to delegate drug testing powers to a promoter.

All the balance of the regulations say about prohibited drugs is the following:

184 It is strictly prohibited for boxers to practice “blood boosting”, the intravenous administration of blood or blood products to enhance the boxer’s performance, for non-medical or recreational purposes.

185 (1) The administering or use of drugs or stimulants, including smelling salts or ammonia, either before or during a boxing match, to or by a boxer is strictly prohibited .

(2) No boxer shall ingest any substance, other than plain water or approved medical electrolyte solution provided by the Authority, during the boxing match.

(3) Any boxer violating subsection (1) or (2) shall be disqualified.

186 The discretional use of coagulants listed in Section 170 may be permitted between rounds to stop bleeding from minor cuts and lacerations sustained by a boxer.

187 The use of iron-based coagulants such as “Monsel’s Solution” or any of its derivatives is strictly prohibited and the use of any such coagulant is cause for immediate disqualification.

There is no comprehensive list of banned substances.  There is no list of allowable testosterone levels.  Just a brief reference to the generic and over-broad term ‘drugs’.

To sum up

1. The NSBA does not have a list of actual banned substances

2.  Their PED testing abilities are limited to post bout urine testing

3  They cannot delegate greater PED testing powers to a promoter

4.  According to MMAFighting the test results were within prescribed limits however there is no framework even setting out what these limits are

5.  While the NSBA has the authority to fine and/or suspend licencees who violate their rules, the above framework puts them on thin ice if they are seeking to justify a suspension based on reportedly ‘high’ testosterone levels alone.

The Regulations give Munhoz 20 days to appeal any disciplinary action and if that does not prove successful he is further allowed to appeal to judge of the Trial Division of the Supreme Court within 20 days of the appeal decision.

This is the latest example that drug testing issues in combat sports are complex and lawmakers would be wise to have a clear and comprehensive framework in place not just listing prohibited substances, but also for testing and disciplinary powers.

Fighter pay is a frequent discussion in MMA circles with much speculation about what percentage of revenues are shared with athletes.  Nova Scotia, who just hosted their first UFC event on October 4, 2014 has a law on their books mandating a minimum split to the fighters in the main event of a fight card.

Specifically, Section 58 of Nova Scotia’s Boxing Authority Regulations (which apply to MMA bouts by virtue of the definition of boxing set out in s. 2(3) of the Regulations) require that “The minimum percentage of the receipts to be paid to boxers in the main boxing match shall be not less than 10% for each boxer“.

Following the event the UFC announced that the live gate totaled $926,000.  This means that the two headliners, Rory MacDonald and Tarec Saffiedine, were each entitled to a minimum purse of $92,600 to comply with Regulation 58.

Interestingly the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority Act defines “gross gate receipts” to include “all money collected in respect of a boxing match including all television and film royalties” so the amount may be far greater than this.  With the UFC Fox deal being reportedly worth $115 million annually and with Fox televising 46 events in 2014 each fighter may be entitled to $250,000 from this event on this metric alone. ($115,000,000 prorated over 46 events = $2,500,000 per event with 10% of that being $250,000).

I contacted the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority who, respecting provincial privacy laws, are not prepared to disclose fighter pay details so it is unclear if this regulation was complied with.

If the speculated pay of Saffiedine ($19,500/$19,500 to show/win) following his last event are accurate and are any indicator of his pay following the Halifax show there may have been a gross underpayment.  The same can go for MacDonald as the law appears to cover “television and film royalties”.

Nova Scotia ignored many of their regulations to allow the UFC host a show under the unified rules with which they are familiar.  For Saffiedine’s and MacDonald’s sake, hopefully Regulation 58 was not ignored as well.

Update October 3, 2014 – Nova Scotia’s Deputy Registrar of Regulations confirmed to me that the Regulations discussed below remain the ones presently in place.  In short this means the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority is simply turning a blind eye to their actual laws in having the UFC Halifax card take place under the Unified Rules.  Here is the e-mail from the Deputy Registrar –

Hello,

I confirm that I have searched the Provincial Register of Regulations that lists all regulations that have been filed with our office.  The Register shows no entries for amendments to the 2002 Boxing Authority Regulations, and there do not appear to be any regulations made under the Boxing Authority Act filed with our office, other than the regulations currently posted on our website.

Please contact us again if you have any further questions.

Marie Christ

Deputy Registrar of Regulations

Legal Services Division, Department of Justice

___________________________________________________________

With the UFC’s first ever event in Nova Scotia comes enhanced media attention with all its ups and downs.

My narrow niche deals with addressing legalities in MMA regulation and to put it mildly, this event is a legal mess.  In short, the event must be regulated using traditional boxing rules, and if that is not enough, each fighter must sign a contract stating they will not lose by a low-blow because they will each use “a foul proof guard…sufficient to withstand any so-called low blow” so in other words, fire away!

Here’s the breakdown:

Professional MMA is regulated in Nova Sotia by the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority.  The Authority was created by the Boxing Authority Act.  While the name indicates this body can only oversee boxing the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority Regulations goes on to define all ‘combat sports‘ as boxing.

The problem, however, is that the regulations fail to create a different rule set for different combat sports.  It does not matter if you are fighting MMA, Karate, Jiu Jitsu or Kickboxing, all of these are called ‘boxing’ and, if you want to follow the actual law, you must follow the official regulations.  So, for the upcoming UFC Fight Night to comply with Nova Scotia’s actual laws here are some of the fun rules they need to follow

– Regulation 146 – The infamous ‘low blow’ contract needs to be signed by both boxer and promoter, which reads “It is expressly understood that this boxing match is not to be terminated by a low blow, as any foul-proof guard selected by the Boxer is, in the Boxer’s opinion, sufficient protection to withstand any so-called low blow that might otherwise incapacitate the Boxer

If the contact is not enough they put it right in regulations with s. 146 stating that

No boxing match shall be terminated by a low blow, as the protectors that are used by boxers are sufficient protection to withstand any low blow that might otherwise incapacitate either of the boxers..

If a boxer falls to the ring floor or otherwise indicates an unwillingness to continue because of a claim of a low blow foul, the boxing match shall be terminated and the referee shall award the boxing match to the opponent.”

– Regulation 78 – Three minute rounds are mandatory for male boxers with 2 minute rounds for females.  Bouts must be either 4, 6, 8, or 10 rounds in duration.

– Regulation 84 – The bout must take place in a ring (Pride never die!)

–  Regulation 85 – 8 oz gloves are mandatory except in weight classes above 154 lbs which require 10 oz gloves.

– Regulation 117 – 10 counts are required for downed boxers

– Regulation 130 – Boxers must wear custom made chest protectors

– Regulation 148 and 149 – have a host of fouls incomptible with MMA which include

  • hitting an opponent who is down
  • using a knee against the opponet
  • holding an opponent
  • deliberately maintaiiig a clinch
  • hitting with the butt of the hand, wrist or elbow
  • backhand blows
  • wrestling or roughing at the ropes

So will these Regulations be followed for UFC Fight Night?  Of course not.  They will be ignored and something similar to the Unified Rules will, I expect, be used.  There is of course no legal authority to do this without formal amendment to the Regulations, however, as has been demonstrated occasionally in the Canadian MMA scene, it is far easier for the government to turn a blind eye to the actual law then make all the amendments needed to properly regulate the sport.

__________

I have written the following e-mail to Hubert Earle, the current Director of Combat Sports at the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority.  I will update this article once I have Mr. Earle’s reply –

First let me congratulate your Province for hosting your first UFC event, I hope it is a success.

I am a lawyer who tracks combat sports regulatory matters and have a few questions about the upcoming Halifax card.  As I read the NS Boxing Authority Act and Regulations I don’t see the legal framework for using the unified rules or anything similar to these.

I write to inquire which rules will be used for the upcoming event and to request a copy of these.  I would also like to know if there have been any formal amendments to the Boxing Authority Act or Regulations or any other legal enactment allowing these rules to be used.

I look forward to your reply

——————–

UPDATE October 1, 2014 – Hubert Earle provided me with a copy of Nova Scotia’s amended ‘regulations’.  These don’t appear to have yet been approved by the Governor in Council which means they are not legally in force.  I have asked Mr. Earle to advise, in the event I am mistaken, what day these received approval from the Governor in Council to which he has not replied.  Further, these amended rules still have many of the above noted shortcomings such as not allowing a fight to end via low-blow, and prohibiting many techniques allowed under the Unified Rules (such as hitting an opponent who is down, holding an opponent etc.).

There are a few developments in Nova Scotia which are noteworthy and point to the need for legislative overhaul for both professional and amateur MMA.

On the amateur side, it is reported that a body called “The Nova Scotia Amateur Mixed Martial Association” will be designated as an authority to oversee amateur MMA in the Province.   The article seems to suggest that the body derives their authority from the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority.

If that is the case there is a problem.  As previously discussed, the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority does not have the authority to oversee amateur contests.   The Boxing Authority Act, the law that created and empowers the NSBA, specifically limits their authority to oversee “professional” contests.  The Nova Scotia government confirms the body was created solely to oversee professional contests.

If the NSBA can’t oversee amateur contests they certainly don’t have the authority to delegate this power to others.

Unless there is a law I am not aware of designating the NSAMMA as a body capable of overseeing amateur MMA in the Province in compliance with section 83 of the Criminal Code the legal landscape is problematic.  A quick search of Nova Scotia’s OIC’s fails to reveal such a designation.  If anyone is aware of such a law or OIC I would appreciate it being pointed out for me.

The issues don’t end on the amateur side.  It was recently announced that the UFC will host an event in Halifax on October 4.  While the NSBA can legally oversee such an event the current rules on the books are a far cry from the unified rules that the UFC operates under.   In fact Nova Scotia’s official regulations addressing the rules of the sport speak to pure boxing such as requirements that the bout take place in a ring with ropes, at least 8 oz gloves are used, counts for downed boxers, fouls such as using knees, holding an opponent and wrestling.  So professional MMA is legal but the rules of actual boxing apply.

If amateur MMA is going to be legally hosted in Nova Scotia the Province needs to pass a law in compliance with Section 83 of the Criminal Code.  Further the Province needs to overhaul the official rules in place for MMA if there is to be any integrity to the NSBA’s oversight of such contests.

Canadian Charter

Section 83 of the Criminal Code delegates the regulation of MMA to the Provinces.  This requirement has created a diverse regulatory patchwork for the sport across Canada.

Some Canadian jurisdictions have ‘home licencing requirements‘ – that is, requirements for non-residents to be licensed in their jurisdiction of residency or other jurisdictions prior to being qualified to obtain a licence.  To take two examples, Ontario and Nova Scotia have such regulations on the books.

Section 8(5) of Ontario’s Athletics Control Act Regulation reads as follows:

(5)  A person who is not a resident of Ontario and who applies for a permit to take part in a professional contest or exhibition shall at the time of applying provide evidence satisfactory to the Commissioner that the person is the holder of a current valid licence to take part in professional contests or exhibitions in another jurisdiction. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 52, s. 8 (5); O. Reg. 197/06, s. 4 (1); O. Reg. 465/10, s. 7 (2).

Section 20(a) of Nova Scotia’s Boxing Authority Regulations has a similar provision which reads as follows:

A boxer from outside Nova Scotia, when submitting an application for a licence, shall submit to the Authority

(a) proof of licence from a recognized licensing agency in the boxer’s jurisdiction;

If applicants don’t have such a licence they can be denied licencing by the Nova Scotia and Ontario commissions.

The difficulty with this requirement, however, is that it discriminates against Canadians who reside in a jurisdiction where MMA is not legal.  A resident from Newfoundland, for example, could not comply with the Nova Scotia requirement as they cannot obtain a licence from a ‘recognized licencing agency‘ in their home Province.

Since MMA is not legal in all of Canada such a licencing requirement seems to fly in the face of Section 6(2) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which provides Canadian citizens and permanent residents with the following protection:

2) Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right

  • (b) to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province.

Section 6(3) of the Charter goes on to provide the following limited exception to this guarantee:

(3) The rights specified in subsection (2) are subject to

  • (a) any laws or practices of general application in force in a province other than those that discriminate among persons primarily on the basis of province of present or previous residence

As has been held by Courts interpreting this provision, section 6(2)(b) protects the right of Canadians to pursue their livelihoods in any province even though they may not be residents.   Given the short career span of combat athletes and the reality that travel across provincial lines is all but a requirement to succeed at the highest levels in the combat sports trade these statutory impediments are significant infringements to the mobility rights of professional combatants.

If a commission denies an applicant a licence based on a ‘home licensing’ provision this improperly denies “the gaining of a livelihood” to Canadians who reside in a jurisdiction where MMA is not legal.  This, on the face of it, is discrimination based “primarily on the basis of province of present residence“.  If MMA is legal in a jurisdiction the Charter guarantees that a person’s residency cannot be a barrier to gaining a livelihood in the sport.  It is difficult to see how such clauses can survive judicial scrutiny and jurisdictions drafting their combat sports laws in Canada would do well to avoid home licencing provisions.

nova scotia mma law

Breaking down the legality of MMA in Canada on a Province by Province basis is an interesting exercise given the strange legislative patchwork various Provinces put together trying to get around the pre Bill S-209 version of the Criminal Code.

Today I address the legality of MMA, both professional and amateur, in Nova Scotia.

As readers of this blog know, the starting point is section 83 of the Criminal Code which makes MMA illegal unless a proper Provincial framework exists.

Section 83(2)(d) gives Provinces the ability to create commissions to regulate MMA and does not appear to be limited to professional MMA.  It specifically gives Provinces the ability to create “an athletic board, commission, or similar body” to regulate MMA so long as the body is “established by or under the authority of the province’s legislature for the control of sport withing the province“.

So what do we have in Nova Scotia?  MMA there, as it presently stands, derives it legal standing under the Boxing Authority Act.  This law created the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority that was tasked to “supervise and regulate boxing in the Province“.

Here’s where it gets interesting.  Boxing is defined as “professional boxing contests or exhibitions, including such entertainment involving the use of fists as is determined to be boxing by the Authority, but does not include amateur boxing unless the context so requires

So, if the sport has “the use of fists” and is determined to be boxing by the NSBA then it is boxing.  The NSBA gets authority under Section 10(L) of the Act to “make regulations determining which entertainment or type of entertainment involving the use of fists is boxing

Digging into the Regulations, the NSBA has adopted “combat sports” as boxing and provided the following definition of what a combat sport is:

(2) In these regulations, “combat sport” means a sport involving full body contact between contestants in which a contestant uses a fist, whether open or closed, or a weapon held in a fist, and includes but is not limited to the following martial arts:

(a) kickboxing;

(b) shootfighting;

(c) karate;

(d) tae kwon do;

(e) jujitsu.

Interestingly,while individual martial arts are mentioned MMA is not.  This can be a problem but the argument would be that the list is non-exhaustive and MMA clearly is “a sport involving full body contact between contestants in which a contestant uses a fist“.  That said, there is no reason why MMA should not be specifically designated.

Perhaps most noteworthy, a fight with ‘a weapon held in a fist” is considered boxing in Nova Scotia and apparently legal under the legislation, who knew?

Another problem here is the regulations go on to set out the Rules for legal boxing.  While MMA can technically be considered boxing under Nova Scotia law, all of the regualations addressing the rules of the sport speak to pure boxing such as requirements that the bout take place in a ring with ropes, at least 8 oz gloves are used, counts for downed boxers, fouls such as using knees, holding an opponent and weresling.  So MMA is legal but the rules of actual boxing apply.

Moving on from these problems, and accepting that MMA is a combat sport (despite the lack of regulated rules) we get to the next hurdle.

The distinction between professional versus amateur becomes important.  The Boxing Authority Act authorizes the Commission to regulate “professional boxing contests or exhibitions…but does not included amateur boxing unless the context so requires“.

This means the NSBA clearly has the authority to regulate professional combat sports.  Section 15 of the Act goes on to allow the NSBA to make regulations relating to amateur boxing.  The only section of the regulations dealing with amateur boxing deal with pro-am cards requiring such bouts to be conducted under the Canadian Amateur Boxing Association.  Since CABA does not regulate MMA Amateur MMA is apparently legally out of bounds in Nova Scotia.

So in short, Pro MMA appears to be legal but  the rules of boxing apply, AMMA is not legal but swordfighting and other professional fights with “a weapon held in a fist” seem ok.  Duel anyone?