Mike Russell 0

Legalization of MMA in Ontario

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Dear Mr. McGuinty, I am signing this petition in support of the legalization of mixed martial arts in the province of Ontario. Ontario Athletic Commissioner Ken Hayashi has stated time and time again that he is inflexible on recognizing MMA as a sport despite the fact that most States in the US and several Canadian provinces do so. The sticking point for Mr. Hayashi is section 83 of the Canadian Criminal Code that states: 83. (1) Every one who (a) engages as a principal in a prize fight, (b) advises, encourages or promotes a prize fight, or (c) is present at a prize fight as an aid, second, surgeon, umpire, backer or reporter, is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction. (2) In this section, "prize fight" means an encounter or fight with fists or hands between two persons who have met for that purpose by previous arrangement made by or for them, but a boxing contest between amateur sportsmen, where the contestants wear boxing gloves of not less than one hundred and forty grams each in mass, or any boxing contest held with the permission or under the authority of an athletic board or commission or similar body established by or under the authority of the legislature of a province for the control of sport within the province, shall be deemed not to be a prizefight. R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 83; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 186. ---------- Section 83 was amended in 1920 due in large part to urging by the OAC to allow boxing sanctioning. A sport previously labeled as being "unruly" and "barbaric", Boxing has since come to be known as "the sweet science". Mixed martial arts has been called "boxing's grandchild" and as it had in 1920 in the case of its forefather, the time has come for mixed martial arts to be sanctioned in our province. Section 83 was last looked at and approved in 1985 BEFORE the emergence of the sport of mixed martial arts and as such I am urging that as our Premier, you broach the subject with the Canadian government and motion that section 83 be changed to include MMA. MMA is here to stay. The sport has been accepted by several provinces that have deemed section 83 as outdated and rightly so. Mr. Hayashi will not budge, stating that until the Canadian government deems the sport legal, he will not recognize it. An example of the scope the affect of MMA's illegality in our province is the inability of Ontario-based athletes to compete in the sport in their hometown. The UFC, which is the biggest MMA promotion in the world employs several Ontario-based fighters who must travel to such places as Montreal, Las Vegas, Asia or Europe to fight as they are unable to ply their trade in Ontario. Last year's UFC event in Montreal injected millions of dollars into Quebec's economy -- a boost that would provide much needed economic stimulus in Ontario during this time of recession should the promotion hold an event here. The sport has been poorly portrayed by people in the media who look at it from the outside, but the statistics and facts speak for themselves. The injury rate in MMA is much less than professional hockey, baseball, boxing and football -- all of which are legal in Ontario and Canada. There has never been a death in a UFC event. The same cannot be said about the aforementioned sports. Former Nevada State Executive Athletic Commissioner Marc Ratner has worked for the UFC for the past three years and has been instrumental in gaining the sport legitimacy through increased safety precautions and rules being implemented. The OAC, which was formed in 1920 as a self-sustaining governing body would be able to cover its entire payroll by one or two UFC events, not to mention the fees they would collect from other promotions that would also follow suit in holding events in the province. The monetary benefits the province would reap and taxation fees the government would enjoy would be staggering, yet one man is preventing this from happening. I am confident that scores of votes reaching far beyond the sport's 18-34 male demographic would be influenced by the decision to begin MMA sanctioning in Ontario as would the refusal to do so. There is a lot of convolution as to Mr. Hayashi's role and whether or not he can be voted out of his position. I am looking for some clarity as to why Mr. Hayashi has been allowed to prevent the sport from coming to Ontario while holding it's fighters, fans and organizations for ransom. I am hopeful that this petition will demonstrate that there is a demand for MMA in Ontario and that your attention to this matter will contribute to my voting decision when the time comes for you to run for Premier again. Ontario missed out on the opportunity to host a very profitable event for the second time as the UFC coming to Canada again in April. Instead, the promotion is going back to Montreal where the province of Quebec has welcomed them with open arms. MR. Hayashi should be held responsible for the loss of millions of dollars to our province's economy and for preventing those who work in the MMA industry from making a living in Ontario. This sport is here to stay. I am hopeful that we can contribute to bringing it to our wonderful province. I appreciate your time and consideration. Thank you. Sincerely,


Ontarians for the Legalization of Mixed Martial Arts
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