The Ultimate Fighting Championship today applauded the House of Commons for passing Bill S-209, an Act that removes the Criminal Code prohibition on professional mixed martial arts (MMA) in Canada. The bill, which passed the third and final reading today, will be enacted after receiving Royal Assent.
“This is a major development for the sport of mixed martial arts as we now have a consistent legislative framework for Canada and its provinces,” said UFC Director of Canadian Operations Tom Wright. “The UFC thanks Senator Bob Runciman for spearheading this initiative and MP Massimo Pacetti for piloting this through the House of Commons. We’re also appreciative of MP Ryan Leef’s support throughout this entire process.”
Bill S-209 is an amendment to Section 83(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada, regulating prize fighting. The amendment clarifies the propriety of promoting mixed martial events throughout Canada. The current section 83 of the Criminal Code had not been updated since 1934.
To date, provincial governments have worked around the law to allow UFC events to take place. Since 2008, the UFC® has hosted a total of 12 Canadian events between four cities: Montreal (six), Toronto (three), Vancouver (two) and Calgary (one). Winnipeg will soon become the UFC’s fifth Canadian city as the MTS Centre hosts the sold out UFC 161: Evans vs. Henderson on June 15 while Toronto receives its fourth event with UFC 165 at Air Canada Centre on September 21.
Currently, MMA is sanctioned at a provincial level in British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec, while it has been sanctioned on a municipal level within Alberta, New Brunswick and the Northwest Territories. The UFC’s goal is to have the sport sanctioned and regulated in all 10 provinces and three territories.