Mixed Martial Arts In Ontario
Ontario is moving forward to allow professional mixed martial arts (MMA).
MMA is a full-contact, combative sport. Competitors use a mixture of striking and grappling martial arts techniques.
Professional MMA gained widespread exposure in North America over the past decade and is increasing in popularity throughout the world. Six Canadian jurisdictions and 46 American states already allow the sport. Many Ontario fans attend live MMA events elsewhere in North America and purchase pay-per-view subscriptions to watch the sport here.
Like professional boxing and kick boxing, which are regulated in Ontario, professional MMA would fall under Ontario's Athletics Control Act. Ontario's Athletics Commissioner would be responsible for regulating the sport. His key responsibilities would include:
- licensing promoters and competitors;
- ensuring promoters have paid necessary fees and obtained liability insurance;
- appointing officials and medical personnel;
- ensuring all medical requirements are completed and reviewed before each event;
- ensuring competitors are in good standing;
- conducting weigh-ins and overseeing pre-fight activities; and
- attending and overseeing each event to make sure they comply with Ontario's rules and regulations.
Ontario's priority is to protect the safety of the competitors. Ontario proposes to adopt the rules for professional MMA used by the State of New Jersey, which are widely used across North America.
It is anticipated that 10 to 15 professional MMA events, including one large event, might be held in Ontario annually, with significant economic benefits to the host communities. The experience in other jurisdictions is that a major event could lead to up to $6 million in local economic impact.
The province would work to ensure promoters and competitors are appropriately licensed and explicit health and safety standards are in place before professional MMA events can take place in Ontario.