Mixed Martial Arts, Boxing and Kickboxing

As of April 6, 2016, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport is responsible for the Athletics Control Act and administration of the Office of the Athletics Commissioner.

The operational policies and procedures of the Office of the Athletics Commissioner will not be affected by this transfer of responsibility.

Ontario’s Athletics Commissioner oversees and enforces the law and guidelines governing mixed martial arts (MMA), boxing and kickboxing. These rules are intended to provide for the safety of the participants and ensure the integrity of the sport. The regulations address both the medical precautions that must be taken prior to and during an event as well as the event itself.

About the Athletics Commissioner

Ontario’s Athletics Commissioner has oversight of all three permitted professional combative sporting events (MMA, boxing and kickboxing) in the province.

The Athletics Commissioner ensures that:

  • Competitors undergo pre-fight testing (e.g. blood tests and eye exams) and pre-and post-fight physicals. Medical requirements are the same in all three sports
  • Medical personnel and officials are appointed
  • Competitors are in good standing (not subject to a suspension)
  • Promoters and competitors have the proper licences
  • Promoters pay the necessary fees and follow licensing requirements, like having proper liability insurance.

The duties of the Athletics Commissioner include:

  • Reviewing all applications from promoters to determine if requirements are met before approving the date, location and specifics of the event
  • Reviewing licence applications from proposed fighters, including their standing and medical history, before issuing a licence. (Licences are subject to pre-fight medicals and tests) 
  • Approving all proposed “match ups” between fighters. In looking at proposed fights, the Athletics Commissioner considers whether the fighters are relatively well matched so that the fight will not put one or the other at risk of injury due to a significant difference in skill or experience 
  • Licensing all officials who preside over professional combative sporting events in the province. Ontario-based officials receive an annual licence (January to December), while out-of-province officials receive a one-event permit
  • Approving a substitute fighter in the event that a fighter cannot attend an event due to illness, injury or other circumstances
  • Suspending or cancelling a licence for any event, official or fighter if the licensee’s past conduct gives the Athletics Commissioner reasonable grounds to believe that the person will not conduct him/herself in the sport with honesty, integrity, or in accordance with the law, or if he or she is involved in activities that in the Athletics Commissioner’s judgment are harmful to the integrity of the sport
  • Conducting weigh-ins, overseeing pre-fight activities (e.g., checking the readiness of the fighting area, equipment) and attending each event to make sure it complies with Ontario’s rules and regulations
  • Ensuring compliance with the rules under the Athletics Control Act and the regulations prior to and on the day of the event.

If the Athletics Commissioner suspends or cancels a licence, applicants may provide further information to support their application and request the decision be reconsidered by the Commissioner. The Athletics Commissioner is required to give a licensee a fair opportunity to be heard before making a final decision regarding the suspension or cancellation of a licence. The Athletics Commissioner’s decision is final and cannot be appealed to the Ontario government.

You can contact the Athletics Commissioner at:

Office of the Athletics Commissioner
777 Bay Street, 18th Floor
Toronto Ontario  M7A 1S5
Telephone: 416-326-0416
E-mail: Athletics.Commissioner@ontario.ca

Rules for Mixed Martial Arts, Boxing and Kickboxing

All three permitted professional combative sports in Ontario (MMA, boxing and kickboxing) are regulated under the Athletics Control Act and its regulation:

Under Regulation 52 of the Athletics Control Act Ontario adopts the New Jersey State Rules for the conduct of professional MMA events. These are the most widely-used rules in North America, which helps to ensure consistent officiating and contributes to the safety of fighters. These rules comprehensively regulate MMA and cover everything from weight classes for fighters to protective equipment and officiating.

Ontario has also adopted the Unified Rules of Boxing approved by the Association of Boxing Commissions.

Officials who are licensed or have been issued a permit by the Athletics Commissioner are subject to a Conflict of Interest policy. All officials and fighters who are licensed or have been issued a permit by the Athletics Commissioner are subject to Participation in an Unsanctioned Amateur Events policy.
Licensees should ensure that they have read and are aware of these policies:

Licensing of Officials

In considering applications for officials’ licences, the Athletics Commissioner will review formal training programs undertaken by the applicant, the currency of this training, as well as its relevance to the position being sought. The Athletics Commissioner has the discretion to consider other relevant experience in licensing officials which may include, but is not limited to:

  • Extensive amateur experience
  • Experience in similar settings or other relevant or comparable combative sports.

By filing an application for an official’s licence, the applicant authorizes the Athletics Commissioner to collect all information that may be relevant to the application through communications with members of the combative sports community, other Athletics Commissioners, or others, as the Athletics Commissioner may find relevant.

The Athletics Commissioner will also review any evidence indicating that the applicant may be in violation of either the Participation in Unsanctioned Amateur Events policy or the Conflict of Interest policy when considering an application for a licence (see Rules for MMA, Boxing and Kickboxing).

Standards and Requirements

The following list of minimum standards and guidelines are applied by the Athletics Commissioner in a review of applications for officials’ licences in the combative sports in Ontario.

Timekeeper

  • Must be 18 years of age
  • No criminal record
  • No record of offences at any professional combative sporting event
  • Must have some experience in combat sports, which may include participating, managing, officiating in other capacities or jurisdictions
  • Must not be in violation of the Participation in Unsanctioned Amateur Events policy or the Conflict of Interest policy
  • The Athletic Commissioner may require an opportunity to review the candidate performing in an officials’ capacity as a timekeeper at an Ontario event prior to issuing an approval.

Knockdown Timer

  • Must be 18 years of age
  • No criminal record
  • No record of offences at any professional combative sporting event
  • Must have some experience in combat sports, which may include participating, managing, officiating in other capacities or jurisdictions
  • Must not be in violation of the Participation in Unsanctioned Amateur Events policy or the Conflict of Interest policy
  • The Athletics Commissioner may require an opportunity to review the candidate performing in an officials’ capacity as a knockdown timer at an Ontario event prior to issuing an approval.

Equipment Inspector

  • Must be 18 years of age
  • No criminal record
  • No record of offences at any professional combative sporting event
  • Must have significant experience in combat sports, which may include participating, managing, officiating in other capacities or jurisdictions or prior experience in this role at the professional level
  • Must not be in violation of the Participation in Unsanctioned Amateur Events policy or the Conflict of Interest policy
  • The Athletics Commissioner may require an opportunity to review the candidate performing in an officials’ capacity as an equipment inspector at an Ontario event prior to issuing an approval.

Kick-counters (Kickboxing only)

  • Must be 18 years of age
  • No criminal record
  • No record of offences at any professional combative sporting event
  • Must not be in violation of the Participation in Unsanctioned Amateur Events policy or the Conflict of Interest policy
  • The Athletics Commissioner may require an opportunity to review the candidate performing in an officials’ capacity as a kick-counter at an Ontario event prior to issuing an approval.

Corner Judge

  • Must be 18 years of age
  • No criminal record
  • No record of offences at any professional combative sporting event
  • Must have significant experience in combat sports, which may include participating, managing, officiating in other capacities or jurisdictions or prior experience in this role at the professional level
  • Must not be in violation of the Participation in Unsanctioned Amateur Events policy or the Conflict of Interest policy
  • The Athletics Commissioner may require an opportunity to review the candidate performing in an officials’ capacity as a corner judge at an Ontario event prior to issuing an approval.

Judge

  • Must be 18 years of age
  • No criminal record
  • No record of offences at any professional combative sporting event
  • Must have significant experience in combat sports, which may include participating, managing, officiating in other capacities or jurisdictions or prior experience in this role at the professional level
  • Must not be in violation of the Participation in Unsanctioned Amateur Events policy or the Conflict of Interest policy
  • The Athletics Commissioner may require an opportunity to review the candidate performing in an officials’ capacity as a judge at an Ontario event prior to issuing an approval.

Referee

  • Must be 18 years of age
  • No criminal record
  • No record of offences at any professional combative sporting event
  • Must have significant experience in combat sports, which may include participating, managing, officiating in other capacities or jurisdictions or prior experience in this role at the professional level
  • Must not be in violation of the Participation in Unsanctioned Amateur Events policy or the Conflict of Interest policy
  • The Athletics Commissioner may require an opportunity to review the candidate performing in an officials’ capacity as a referee at an Ontario event prior to issuing an approval.

Medical Examiner

  • Legally qualified medical practitioner (i.e. a member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario)
  • Must not be in violation of the Participation in Unsanctioned Amateur Events policy or the Conflict of Interest policy
  • The physician must be legally authorized to practice medicine in Ontario.

Compensation for Officials

Office of the Athletics Commissioner officials, including ringside and cageside physicians, are paid a fee for each event. Each official may also receive a millage fee, an accommodation fee and a daily meal allowance.

Licensing of Fighters

The Athletics Commissioner is responsible for licensing all fighters engaged in professional MMA, boxing, and kickboxing in Ontario.

To issue a fighter licence, the Athletics Commissioner considers the age and experience of the fighter. For example, fighters should have competed in a minimum of 10 sanctioned amateur bouts. Fighters must also meet the medical testing requirements set out under Regulation 52 of the Athletics Control Act.

By filing an application for a fighter’s licence, the applicant authorizes the Athletics Commissioner to collect all information that may be relevant to the application through communications with members of the combative sports community, other Athletics Commissioners, or others, as the Athletics Commissioner may find relevant.

The Athletics Commissioner will also review any evidence indicating that the applicant may be in violation of the Participation in Unsanctioned Amateur Events policy when considering an application for licence (see Rules for MMA, Boxing and Kickboxing).

Licence Fees and Applications

Under Ontario's Athletics Control Act, the Athletics Commissioner is required to collect fees for licences and permits and ensure that promoters pay a charge on net ticket sales from events. All fees are payable to the Ontario Minister of Finance become part of Ontario’s consolidated revenue fund.

Licence to act as a manager for boxing/kickboxing/MMA 
Fee: $75

Licence to act as fighter, second and matchmaker
Fee: $50

Permit to act as an out-of-province fighter
Fee: $50

Licence to hold a professional contest or exhibition
Fee: From $75 to $300 depending on arena seating capacity/municipal population

Gate fees on net ticket sales
MMA: 5 per cent
Boxing: 2 per cent
Kickboxing: 2 per cent

Application Forms

For promoters:

For fighters:

For all other participants:

  • Licence Application Form (PDF 157K)
    To be completed by officials, seconds, matchmakers and any other person working with the fighter.