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Saskatchewan introduces legislation to allow MMA

The Canadian Press

11/5/2013 6:17:42 PM

REGINA -- Saskatchewan has introduced a bill to allow legal mixed martial arts events in the province.

The proposed legislation would create a provincial athletics commission with the authority to sanction professional combative sports, including MMA.

The commission would be responsible for ensuring that competitors had medical exams before and after fights and that qualified medical staff, referees, judges and timekeepers were hired.

It would also ensure that promoters and competitors had the proper licences.

MMA facility owner and jiu-jitsu instructor A.J. Scales says having a commission would allow mixed martial arts to grow in Saskatchewan.

Scales also says the commission would be the voice of safety for competitors.

"We have somebody that's going to oversee and govern their sport and actually be an advocate for them and make the popularity of the sport grow," Scales said Tuesday at the legislature.

"They're going to have doctors in place. They're going to be able to be that third party that's going to voice that concern over their safety when sometimes fighters don't want to admit that they're injured or they're not capable of competing. The commission's going to make sure that their safety comes first."

The House of Commons in Ottawa passed a bill in June legalizing contact sports such as MMA.

The legislation makes professional boxing and MMA contests legal in Canada when they have the authorization of a provincial athletics commission.

Only boxing was allowed under the old prize-fighting law. That left combat sports, including taekwondo, karate and MMA in legal limbo.

Plans are to have the Saskatchewan commission running by next summer.