Posts Tagged ‘Prize Fights’

Despite a relatively long history of hosting professional MMA bouts, inlcuding several high profile UFC contests, professional MMA bouts presently are illegal in Canada.  This is so due to the outdated language of section 83 of Canada’s Criminal Code which makes it an offence to engage in a “prize fight” except in limited circumstances.

Currently Section 83 of the Criminal Code reads as follows:

Engaging in prize fight
  • 83. (1) Every one who
    • (a) engages as a principal in a prize fight,
    • (b) advises, encourages or promotes a prize fight, or
    • (c) is present at a prize fight as an aid, second, surgeon, umpire, backer or reporter,

    is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

  • Definition of “prize fight”(2) In this section, “prize fight” means an encounter or fight with fists or hands between two persons who have met for that purpose by previous arrangement made by or for them, but a boxing contest between amateur sportsmen, where the contestants wear boxing gloves of not less than one hundred and forty grams each in mass, or any boxing contest held with the permission or under the authority of an athletic board or commission or similar body established by or under the authority of the legislature of a province for the control of sport within the province, shall be deemed not to be a prize fight.

The Government of Canada has introduced legislation to modernize the definition of exempt “prize fights” to include properly sanctioned MMA events.  Specifically Bill S-209 seeks to make the following changes:

2) In this section, “prize fight” means an encounter or fight with fists, hands or feet between two persons who have met for that purpose by previous arrangement made by or for them, but does not include
 
 
(a) a contest between amateur athletes in a combative sport with fists, hands or feet held in a province if the sport is on the programme of the International Olympic Committee and, in the case where the province’s lieutenant governor in council or any other person or body specified by him or her requires it, the contest is held with their permission;
 
 
(b) a contest between amateur athletes in a combative sport with fists, hands or feet held in a province if the sport has been designated by the province’s lieutenant governor in council or by any other person or body specified by him or her and, in the case where the lieutenant governor in council or other specified person or body requires it, the contest is held with their permission;
 
 
(c) a contest between amateur athletes in a combative sport with fists, hands or feet held in a province with the permission of the province’s lieutenant governor in council or any other person or body specified by him or her; and
 
 
(d) a boxing contest or mixed martial arts contest heldin a province with the permission or under the authority of an athletic board, commission or similar body established by or under the authority of theprovince’s legislature for the control of sport within the province

In short this proposed legislation will allow Provinces to regulate both professional and amateur “Prize Fights” which will specifically include MMA.  Currently the Bill is being debated before the Senate.  You can click here to read the Senate’s news release over these hearings.  You can access webcasts of these meetings here and here.