BC Legalizes Amateur MMA and Other Non-IOC Combat Sports


The BC Government has just passed Order in Council 2013-342 which expands the BC Athletic Commissioner’s powers to regulate all amateur MMA, kickboxing, pankration and Muay Thai events. In addition to the BCAC’s powers to regulate pro boxing and MMA, they will apparently now also regulate “any amateur boxing that occurs at a professional boxing or MMA event

BC Legalizes Amateur MMA and Other Non-IOC Combat Sports

In addition to this, amateur combat sports in the programme of the IOC along with karate, kung fu, wushu, grappling and jiu jitsu will not require government regulation and have been exempted by the BC Government from the Criminal Code’s ‘prizefighting‘ provisions.

The BC Athletic Commission has released the following update:

The British Columbia Athletic Commissioner is responsible to oversee amateur MMA, kickboxing, muay thai, and pankration contests.

Please note that, at this time, there are no fees associated with organizing, participating, or officiating an amateur MMA, kickboxing, Muay Thai, or pankration event in BC.

The Athletic Commissioner has released information for those wishing to participate in amateur events which can be found at the following links:

Here is the text of the BC Government’s press release:

VICTORIA – The B.C. government has introduced new regulations that give clarity and confidence to the combat sport sector to allow amateur events to go forward, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Coralee Oakes announced today.

Regulation of amateur combat sport events was required due to recent changes to the Criminal Code of Canada that have had a number of effects:

  • Requires provinces to designate amateur combat sport events as either needing or not needing regulation. The B.C. government now will be regulating mixed martial arts, kickboxing, pankration and Muay Thai events. These sports’ events now will need permission from the B.C. Athletic Commissioner (BCAC).
  • Allows provincial governments to exempt amateur combat sports from regulation if they are on the International Olympic or Paralympic Committee lists. The B.C. government is exempting these sports (boxing, wrestling, tae kwon do and judo) at this time.
  • Allows provincial governments to exempt non-Olympic and non-Paralympic combat sports from oversight. The B.C. government will not require event regulation for the sports of wushu, karate, kung fu, grappling and jiu jitsu.

While sanctioning processes are still being developed, the BCAC expects that no amateur event will be negatively affected by the changes to the Criminal Code.


Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development –

“Judging from the volume of correspondence we received from the sector, I know how passionate organizations are about promoting amateur combat sport. I want to thank them for their patience while government took the time needed to make the right decision on regulations.”


Erik Magraken writes the Canadian MMA Blog and is British Columbia injury lawyer and can be followed on Twitter at @erikmagraken.


  1. And this is sort of the heavy handed prime example of how not to deal with amateur combat sports. This action prevents the formation of legitimate amateur associations. Without proper associations these sports can never grow to take part in provincial tournaments and international competitions. This does nothing to stop the illegitimate Boxing events that are currently taking place, and now Boxing BC will never be able to take advantage of a Pro-Am event.


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