Ontario budget suggests 'wider range' of combat sports are coming

Friday, April 12, 2019

From deferring to promoters regarding drug testing to documented regulatory safety concerns Ontario combat sports regulation holds room for improvement.  The Provincial Government’s 2019 budget suggests changes are coming.

While the details of the legal changes are not entirely clear the budget notes overhaul is contemplated for both amateur and professional combat sports.  The budget provided the following insight:

Modernizing Rules for Professional and Amateur Combative Sports

Ontario’s rules and regulations for combative sports such as mixed martial arts, boxing and kickboxing are out of date. This presents safety concerns for participants and barriers for business. Through new legislation, if passed, the government will address these concerns and make it safer for professional and amateur athletes to participate in combative sports.

These proposed changes would align Ontario’s rules and regulations with those in other jurisdictions. This would also make the province a more competitive destination to hold professional combative sport events, and provide a wider range of options for amateur combative sport contests to be held than is currently available. As a result, the economic benefit for the province could range from small local events at a local gym or club to large-scale international championships. These events will not only support athletes and provide a source of entertainment for the people of Ontario, but can also serve as an attraction for out-of-town visitors and present various career and business opportunities, including additional revenue for municipalities, media, goods manufacturing and retail.

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