Ontario Collecting Information on MMA

February 10, 2009

The Canadian Press brings encouraging news on the status of mixed martial arts in the Province of Ontario. The use of criminal code to outlaw MMA has been lessened to some degree and provincial government has entered into a fact finding mode as it relates to MMA:

While there is no movement yet from Ontario, a spokesman said MMA is “on the radar” for the provincial government.

“We’re certainly aware of the sport and of the issue, and particularly its growing popularity,” Sarbjit Kaur, senior communication adviser to the minister of small business and consumer services, said Tuesday. “While we do not have any formal review process in place right now, we are looking at it. No decision has been made yet — for or against it.

“But it’s more about looking at things like what other jurisdictions are doing and, of course, safety would definitely be a factor. . . . So it’s certainly not something that we’re dead against. It’s more of just a still looking at it (approach), trying to assess the entire industry and the sport. It’s really too early to say that anything like it would be coming to Ontario or it won’t be, but we are aware of it.”

Full on legalization seems a ways off, but the ball seems to have begun rolling in bringing MMA to Toronto and the rest of the province. Much like New York state, the move towards legalization in Ontario will move at a glacial pace but it is good to see that it is under way.

Another interesting portion of the article details the various monetary takes that various athletic commissions get from television and gate for MMA events:

The UFC 83 gate was some US$5 million with the Quebec Boxing Commission receiving its maximum share of C$55,330. The commission receives five per cent of the first $500,000 gate with three per cent of anything on top of that to the maximum of $55,330.

In Nevada, by contrast, the athletic commission takes four per cent of the gate, which was US$4.3 million at UFC 94 last month in Las Vegas, and up to $50,000 in TV rights.

If you will remember, New York State has proposed a 10% tax in it’s MMA legislation package, a figure that would even dwarf the take for the fight Mecca of Las Vegas. There will need to be some bend on this point or passing MMA legislation may be a moot point, with the costs being too prohibitive for the major players in the industry to put on cards there.

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