British Columbia’s Athletic Commission Coming Into Focus
At the end of the month, BC’s Athletic Commissioner Act will be in force. Once in force, all “professional” MMA and Boxing Events in BC will be regulated by the provincial commission with Vancouver and other local governments being given the ability to outlaw the sport with the passing of local bylaws.
BC’s First Athletic Commissioner has not yet been announced but it is rumored that one has been appointed.
Below are some of the highlights:
- As expected, BC has adopted the Mixed Martial Arts Unified Rules of Conduct NJAC 13:46-24A
- Any events approved by local commissions before May 30 are still validly regulated and can take place under the authority and supervision of the local commissions.
- As of May 30th local commissions are stripped of their powers
- Promoter’s must apply for an event permit at least 60 days ahead of a scheduled event
- Event Permit Holders must pay the Commissioner 5% of the event’s gross gate receipts
- Promoter’s must have at least $5,000,000 in Third Party Liability Coverage
- At least 21 days before any scheduled event a promoter must provide the commissioner a performance bond of $25,000
- At least 14 days before an event, contestants must provide the commissioner with an ophthalmologist’s or optometrist’s report; a physician’s report; negative test results for HIV, hepatitis B and C and syphilis with further requirements if the contestant is over age 35. Additionally, female contestants must submit a negative pregnancy test.
- Contestants in all matches (except for championship matches) are given a one pound weight allowance
- If a contestant misses weight by less that 3% they are given an additional hour to make weight
- If a contestant is 3% or more over weight they cannot compete unless specifically permitted by the commissioner
Lastly, the office of the Athletic Commissioner released a Frequently Asked Questions document. This document notes that amateur sporting events will be overseen by “provincial sport organizations“. It is noteworthy that there is no organization with the legislative authority to govern amateur MMA. Although organizations such as the Mixed Martial Arts Association of BC offer to regulate amateur MMA contests, their use is not mandated by statute. Once Bill S-209 is passed it is noteworthy that amateur MMA will be illegal by default unless the Province addresses this legislative gap. With BC’s election out of the way now is a good time for those involved in BC’s MMA and combat sports community to approach BC’s Minister of Sport and work with him to address this legal oversight.
Erik Magraken is a personal injury litigator and Partner with the British Columbia law-firm MacIsaac & Company. The article was re-printed with permission from his Canadian MMA Law Blog.