- SPOTLIGHT ON CANADA: SANCTIONING, MENJIVAR …

November 16, 2007
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by Marco Antico – MMAWeekly.com
THE ONTARIO MIXED MARTIAL ARTS ASSOCIATION APPLIES FOR AMATEUR MMA

After years of effort and back and forth communications with the Ministry of Health Promotions (MHP), the Ontario Mixed Martial Arts Association (OMMAA) has officially submitted its application to become the sanctioning body for amateur MMA in the province of Ontario.

The MHP has promised a quick turnaround with any initial concerns. There are no guarantees and ultimately the province may choose not to allow MMA, but the board members of OMMAA remain confident.

MINOR CHANGES TO SECTION 83 ON GOVERNMENT’S TO DO LIST

Section 83 of Canada’s Criminal Code (written in the 1930’s) states that prize fighting is illegal unless it is a boxing contest held under the authority of an athletic commission. The problem is the use of the word boxing instead of a more generic term like martial arts. The issue impacts what combat sports are permitted both professionally and at an amateur level.

MMAWeekly spoke with government employee Brian Ozorio in the Sport and Recreation branch of the Ministry of Health Promotions in Ontario, Canada. Ozorio is to amateur combative sports what Ken Hayashi (Ontario’s Athletic Commissioner) is to professional sports.

“All provincial representatives gave their input on what the amendment to section 83 should be,” he explained. “Right now, section 83 allows a boxing contest between amateur sportsmen to be excluded from the definition of prize fighting and thus not punishable under the law.

“The amendment is supposed to change the word boxing to any martial art. We need to make this change because more than just amateur boxing is being sanctioned by provincial sport and recreation branches. The proposed amendment only pertains to amateur sport and not professional. It has been on the federal law makers to do list since before the last change in government (January 2006).”

Mario Latraverse, commissioner of the Quebec Boxing Commission and chairman of the Mixed Martial Arts Advisory Committee commented, “I wanted to make the change include professional MMA, but my provincial counterparts disagreed and said it would take another five years if I had insisted.”

Although MMA is sanctioned in Quebec, it is commonly referred to as Mixed Boxing because of how section 83 is worded.

Hayashi stated, “The other provinces that already sanction MMA wouldn’t be so interested in making changes to section 83 if what they were doing didn’t contravene the law. Ontario will never sanction MMA the way it’s worded right now. We’ll have to read the amendment once it’s enacted.

“It’s a step in the right direction. Even though it pertains to only amateur sport, there’s still a chance that it can help professional sports. The province will require an amateur safety record and perhaps a medical study as well.”

IVAN MENJIVAR MAY NOT BE BACK UNTIL 2009

Ivan Menjivar last fought for the International Fight League in November 2006, dropping a split decision to Bart Palaszewski. MMA fans may have to continue to wait some time before seeing “the Pride of El Salvador” return to action.

Menjivar is staying in shape, training twice a week at Tri Star gym in Montreal. But he’s working long hours to take care of his newborn baby, which makes it very tough to get back in fight shape. He may also have to undergo major surgery to a nagging ailment at some point in 2008.

JOE DOERKSEN RETURNS TO THE UFC THIS SATURDAY

Doerksen was riding an impressive eight-fight win streak before dropping a disappointing first-round TKO loss to one of the best middleweights in the world, Paulo Filho.

He has now replaced David Terrell, who was originally scheduled to face Ed Herman this Saturday, Nov. 17 at Ultimate Fighting Championship 78 “Validation.” Doerksen appears very confident going into this fight, as he believes that his style matches up well with Herman.

Herman entered the UFC dropping two disappointing losses to Kendall Grove and Jason MacDonald. He has since rebounded with perhaps the two best performances of his career, defeating both Chris Price and Scott Smith via submission.

STEPHANE VIGNEAULT EYEING OPPORTUNITY TO FIGHT HATSU HIOKI

Stephane Vigneault is set to take on Ben Greer at TKO 31 on Dec. 14. Although he respects and is very focused on his next opponent, he hopes Greer will be a stepping stone to facing current TKO featherweight champion Hatsu Hioki.

“I know Hioki doesn’t want to face Hominick for a third time, so if I can beat Greer I think it’s a logical matchup for TKO to make. There are a lot of people here that would love to see me fight Hioki. I think he’s one of the best fighters in the world and it would be an honor to face him. I think my style matches up well against him.”

ALEXIS DAVIS VERSUS VALERIE LETOURNEAU CONFIRMED, FINALLY!

Valerie Letourneau had been on the fence on fighting Alexis Davis for several months. Recently, with a change in managers, it appears that the fight is now finally going to materialize at TKO 31 on Dec. 14. Letourneau requested that they meet at 130-pounds and Davis accepted.

This seems like a very competitive matchup between two fighters with very similar styles. The winner of this fight will likely be considered the second best Canadian female MMA athlete next to Sarah Kaufman.

CANADIAN MMA CALENDAR

Nov. 17 – King of the Cage at Nanaimo in British Columbia
Nov. 23 – MFC 14 at the River Cree Resort & Casino in Edmonton, Alberta
Nov. 24 – Legacy Fighting Championships at the Victoria Pavillion in Calgary Alberta
Nov. 24 – Xtreme MMA at the Pavillon Agri-Sports in Victoriaville, Quebec
Nov. 30 – UCW at the Convention Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Dec. 14 – TKO 31 at The Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec
Jan. 26 – Freedom Fight 2008 at the Robert Guertin Arena in Hull, Quebec
Feb. 22 – TKO 32 at The Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec

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