Allow professional kickboxing and Muay Thai in British Columbia.
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The Criminal Code of Canada defines what constitutes a "Prize Fight" in Canada. Since the adoption of bill S-209 in 2013, the Criminal Code reads:
Marginal note: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, 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 or the International Paralympic 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 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.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 83; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 186; 2013, c. 19, s. 1."
By definition, a fighting contest between two persons who have met for the purpose of fighting by previous arrangement is a prize fight and illegal except if it meets any of the 4 conditions listed in 2 a-d.
The first 3 conditions are fairly clear: Any amateur combat sport that is IOC or IPC approved, or any amateur combat sport, as long as someone (person or body) approved by the lieutenant governor designates it or agrees to it.
The 4th case, 2.d is where we have a lack of clarity. Nowhere is "mixed martial arts" defined in the Canadian Criminal Code. This has caused various juridictions to interpret the law differently.
In a large part of Canada, commissions either don't exist, or they have parsed this law to mean that professional kickboxing and/or Muay Thai is verboten by not being explicitly included in subsection (d). This is causing many problems for professional fighters. The majority of our Canadian professional kickboxers and Muay Thai fighters have to go out of country to practice their trade.
Not everyone parses this law the same way, however.
Alberta presently has city commissions, not provincial ones. The Edmonton Combative Sports Commission has instead chosen what appears to be a more logical approach. They specifically state that kickboxing and Muay Thai are included in "mixed martial arts". After all, it stands to reason that if you allow a sport that has as a subset several other sports, those sports should be included as well. Their bylaw specifically states, in their definitions:
"(c) “Combative Sports” means any professional boxing
Contest or professional mixed martial arts Contest where
opponents strike each other with hands, feet, knees, elbows,
or other part of the body and includes, but is not limited to,
wrestling, full contact karate, kickboxing, martial arts,
muaythai, or any combination of any of the above;"
They therefore treat that whole list as "professional boxing Contest or professional mixed martial arts Contest", and it only stands to reason to do so. If kicks, elbows, knees, clinching, takedowns, etc, are all legal in MMA, why can't professionals fight using a subset of those rules?
New Brunswick doesn't even define anything, their commission just goes ahead and licenses professional kickboxing. They will issue professional kickboxing licenses, have at least one professional kickboxing league, and, as of this writing, have events scheduled for several months into the new year.
- it is absolutely nonsensical to allow a professional contest for one sport, but not for others which actually are actually contained within that sport,
- other jurisdictions Canada-wide have interpreted and enacted rules interpreting this law with the intent with which we also believe it was written, with no legal challenges whatsoever
- the current interpretation hurts our local fighters and promoters for no clear reason, and denies opportunity and income from local population,
- it is solely under the discretion of the BC Athletic Commission to go with their interpretation of this law,
we urge the BC Athletic Commission to allow, license, and sanction professional kickboxing and Muay Thai events immediately.
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