Ministry News

December 6, 2010

Ontario Ready For Mixed Martial Arts
McGuinty Government Focuses on Competitor Safety, Boosting Local Economies

NEWS

Ontario has paved the way to host regulated professional mixed martial arts (MMA) events in the province.

Beginning January 1, 2011, the province will accept applications from MMA promoters who want to stage professional events in Ontario. A major MMA event in Ontario could attract up to 30,000 fans and generate up to $6 million in local economic activity -- everything from hotel rooms to restaurants and other stores and services.

While the economic benefit is clear, Ontario’s priority is the safety of the competitors. That is why Ontario has approved a number of rules for MMA in the province, including:

  • The adoption of the same rules for professional MMA that are currently applied in the State of New Jersey, which are the most widely used rules throughout North America
  • An extension of the province’s current regulations for professional boxing and kickboxing that include pre-fight physicals and tests for competitor licencing
  • Blood testing, physicals and eye exams in advance of a fight, and
  • Testing competitors for performance enhancing and illegal drugs, where it is required in the contract between the promoter and the competitors.

The Ontario Athletics Commissioner will work to ensure promoters and competitors have the proper licences and that mandatory health and safety standards are in place before any professional MMA event is held in the province.

QUOTES

“We have heard from fans across the province and it’s clear that MMA is a popular sport Ontarians are following. Now we have the tools in place to help keep competitors safe, while providing an economic boost to communities that want to host professional MMA events”. - John Gerretsen, Minister of Consumer Services

QUICK FACTS

  • Ontario joins six other Canadian jurisdictions and 46 American states that currently allow MMA.
  • At a 2008 professional MMA event in Montreal, online ticket sales indicate that 42 per cent of ticket purchasers at the sold-out event were residents of Ontario.
  • New Jersey was the first US state to allow professional MMA events in 2000.

LEARN MORE

For more information:

Christine Lall, Minister’s Office, 416-325-0238
Stephen Puddister, Communications, 416-326-7279

ontario.ca/consumerservices-news


Backgrounder

Regulating Professional Mixed Martial Arts

Ontario announced its intention to proceed with regulating professional mixed martial arts (MMA) in the province on August 14, 2010. The rules and regulations introduced today will be administered by Ontario’s Athletics Commissioner and will come into effect on January 1, 2011.

Like professional boxing and kick boxing, which are currently regulated in Ontario, professional MMA falls under Ontario's Athletics Control Act (the Act), which is administered by the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services.

The Commissioner is responsible for licensing and regulating the safe and lawful conduct under the Act for combat sports, which include boxing, kick-boxing and will include MMA.

Specifically, the Commissioner will ensure no event can take place unless:

  • promoters and competitors have the proper licences;
  • promoters pay the necessary fees and obtain the proper liability insurance;
  • medical personnel and MMA officials are appointed;
  • all medical requirements (i.e., blood tests, physicals and eye exams) are met; and
  • competitors are in good standing.

These regulations also make provision for testing competitors for performance enhancing and illegal drugs, where it is required in the contract between the promoter and the competitors.

In addition, the Commissioner is responsible for:

  • conducting weigh-ins and overseeing pre-fight activities; and
  • attending and overseeing each event to make sure promoters and participants comply with Ontario’s rules and regulations.

Ontario will accept applications beginning January 1, 2011 from mixed martial arts promoters who want to stage professional events in the province.