Creating a province-wide sanctioning body for combative sports would bring Alberta in line with other provinces, and bring Canada one step closer to creating a national commission, says one Calgary-based fight promoter.
A resolution tabled by the City of Red Deer ahead of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association’s (AUMA) annual convention calls on the province to create a unified sanctioning body to oversee combative sporting events throughout Alberta.
It’s a move that Hard Knocks Fighting founder Ari Taub says makes sense — and would bring unity to a confusing mish-mash of rules by a jumble of municipally-run fight commissions.
“The problem we have in Alberta right now, is that there aren’t very many city commissions,” he said.
“There’s actually very few places where it’s legal to have an actual fight event.”
Under current laws, municipalities are responsible for licensing bouts within their jurisdictions through local ad-hoc commissioning bodies.
Locally, fights are sanctioned under the Calgary Combative Sports Commission — a municipal board that oversees MMA, muay thai and boxing events within city limits.
Other Alberta communities with local fight commissions include Edmonton, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Grande Prairie, Cold Lake and Penhold.
Bringing the province under one body would both increase consistency and improve safety, Taub said.
“Imagine if you’re playing hockey, and the medical rules and registration rules were different in every city you went to,” he said.
“It’s a pain in the ass to have to deal with everyone’s different rules — it’d be better if everyone just knew what the rules were.”
Those rules encompass everything from licensing promoters, pre-fight medicals and even how events are advertised.
“Calgary has a whole set of medical requirements; what blood tests they require, the MRIs or CT-scans — the rules are so onerous, more than just about any other sport,” Taub said.
“No Olympic sport forces you to have all these tests all of the time, and wrestling has all of the same issues with head trauma and fluid transfer.”
Currently, Alberta is the only province in Canada without such a commissioning body.
Boxer Tim Hague weighing in before a 2010 fight in Las Vegas. Neil Davidson/The Canadian Press
Previous calls for a province-wide sanctioning body were met with little interest by Alberta’s lawmaker, including one just days before the death of Alberta fighter Tim Hague after losing a June 16 bout in Edmonton.
Floored by a knockout punch from opponent Adam Braidwood, Hague managed to leave the ring under his own power but …read more