Kids who want to be the next Georges St. Pierre will soon be able to get their kicks in sanctioned, amateur mixed martial arts bouts, the Toronto Sun has learned.
The announcement was made in a letter sent from the ministry of tourism, culture and sport to the president of Kickboxing Ontario, which had asked two years ago to be allowed to run the development level of the burgeoning sport.
Kickboxing Ontario has now been sanctioned as the governing body for amateur MMA in Ontario, allowing it to organize and regulate the growing sport.
As the governing body, the organization can set competition rules for amateur MMA athletes and will appoint a chief official to monitor safety standards and coaching certification across Ontario.
Officials say the move should stem the growth of unsanctioned and unregulated AMMA fights.
Now hugely popular in Ontario, MMA was once banned. the McGuinty government relented in 2010 and the first professional bouts premiered in 2011.
“Our government has been monitoring MMA for some time. We know that the sport has evolved and that Ontarians want to see it here,” Consumer Services Minister Sophia Aggelonitis said at the time.
Youngsters, though, will not face the kind of no-holds barred mayhem professionals indulge in.
Officials say the entry level of the sport for youths between the ages of 10 and 19 will feature only light contact, similar to what’s permitted in karate competitions.
Athletes will win bouts by accumulating points and combatants will not be allowed to strike an opponent’s head when fighters go to the mats.
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