TORONTO — Bill S-209, an Act to remove the Criminal Code prohibition on mixed martial arts, was introduced into the House of Commons on Thursday by Member of Parliament Massimo Pacetti. Ryan Leef, Member of Parliament and Chair of the MMA Caucus, was one of many other prominent MPs to second the bill.
First introduced into the Senate by Senator Bob Runciman and then subsequently approved in June 2012, the private member’s bill must pass through three readings in the House of Commons before receiving Royal Assent (pass into law).
“This is another big step forward for the sport of mixed martial arts in Canada,” said UFC director of Canadian Operations Tom Wright. “We’re thankful for the work Senator Runciman and MP Ryan Leef have done over the past year. With the support of Massimo Pacetti today, we’re yet another step closer to providing a consistent legislative framework for Canada and its provinces.”
The proposed bill is an amendment to Section 83(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada, regulating prize fighting. The suggested amendment would clarify the propriety of promoting mixed martial events throughout Canada. The current section 83 of the Criminal Code has not been updated since 1934.
Wright, who was on Parliament Hill Thursday for the announcement, appeared before a Senate constitutional affairs committee in May to discuss MMA.
Currently, sanctioning for MMA is done differently in each province, which has the power to interpret the Criminal Code as it sees fit. Many, including Ontario, have their own provincial regulatory bodies, while others, such as B.C., leave the sanctioning to be overseen at the municipal level.
Should bill S-209 pass into law, it would remove the potential for the promoting of MMA to be considered illegal at the federal level.