Suspended UFC Fighter competes in Ontario Muay Thai

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Via our friend Eric Magraken at Combat Law Sports Blog.

UPDATE: Muay Thai Ontario, the body who regulated this event and has recently obtained Provincial Sport Organization status in the Province, has issued a press release addressing this situation noting that, “In paperwork submitted by the athlete it was indicated that the athlete had not tested positive under WADA….The athlete in question has been notified of their ineligibility to participate in Muaythai Ontario events until the period of ineligibility established by the USADA and BCAC has reached completion. We are currently investigating the situation, working with the club, Ministry, and CCES to determine what further sanctions are warranted.”

The legality of various amateur combat sports in Ontario has left much to be desired. It is a mess that the Government is finally addressing with a host of amateur combat sports set to be legalized on July 1, 2017.

Until then non-Olympic amateur combat sports are and have been technically illegal. Despite this, the Government has largely turned a blind eye to combat sports events and selectively prosecuted others.

When a sport is illegal but a government does not care or only selectively cares weird things can happen. Enter Adam Hunter. Hunter appears to have competed in an amateur Muay Thai event in Ontario earlier this year.

Why does this matter? Hunter is a professional MMA fighter signed to the UFC. Prior to his debut, which was scheduled in Vancouver in 2016, Hunter failed an out of competition test for five prohibited substances. The test was administered by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport. He was handed a two-year ban both by the United States Anti-Doping Agency and the British Columbia Athletic Commission. It is worth noting that the BC Athletic Commission regulates not only MMA but also amateur Muay Thai so the BC ban clearly is meant to apply to this sport as well.

The ban comes to an end in August 2018.

Both USADA and the BCAC use the World Anti Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances. The event Hunter competed in also purports to abide by the standards of WADA and the CCES. The below image is from the published competition rules.

A professional fighter, banned both by USADA and by a Provincial Athletic Commission, should not be competing in a combative sport during the term of suspension when the new event purports to follow the same anti-doping standards in place for the suspension. In a jurisdiction that turns a blind eye, however, things like this can and do occur.

Ontario has perhaps the most laughable landscape when it comes to anti-doping in professional combat sports. With the new regime coming into force on July 1, 2017, hopefully the government will fare better on the amateur side.

Author Erik Magraken is a British Columbia litigation lawyer, combat sports law consultant, founder of the Combat Law Sports Blog, and profoundly appreciated UGer.