Proponents of mixed martial arts in Saskatchewan are hoping the government will change its mind and allow professional matches in the province.
Critics of mixed martial arts — or MMA — say it's barbaric and promotes extreme violence. A group of doctors in B.C. has called for a national ban on the full-contact sport, which lets combatants use various fighting styles and skills.
Saskatchewan sanctions amateur mixed martial arts, but not pro fights, something that Jay Beavis, who fights in and promotes amateur MMA in Saskatoon, would like to see changed.
"It's a really ridiculous argument between whether a fighter gets paid a couple hundred dollars to fight or he doesn't get paid anything at all to fight," Beavis said. "One being legal and one not being makes very little sense to me."
In Regina, MMA trainer AJ Scales also supports allowing pro fights in the province, but he also wants amateur MMA to grow as well, to help the credibility of the sport and provide a safe environment for fighters who aren't ready for professional fights.
"If there's an amateur level ... you can develop yourself as a fighter," Scales said. "And [if] you do take that next step, it will help the fighter safety-wise."
The provincial government says it has no plans to change its position on sanctioning professional fights.
However, Minister of Sport and Culture Bill Hutchinson said this week he would review any proposals that are sent his way.
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