Ontario Muay Thai Legalization Issues
By Mike LNg
Looks like though a big hurdle towards the legalization of Muay Thai in Ontario has been bypassed some issues remain. Why Ontario politicians, the CMTC-A (headed by Robin Finley), and of course the WMC/IFMA (based on Mike Miles direction from Calgary) now feel Ontario must have the need for an NF to regulate Muay Thai legally is left up to the same motives: monopoly and control. If you have been reading the comments you may have noticed a comment coming from a member of the Ontario Muay Thai community. To give a USA citizen some perspective: imagine Japan now telling you how you can play baseball. Or a state perspective: Montana now tells California how they should conduct boxing.
To be fair this is not unique to Ontario though their mentality seems to crave more centralized federal regulation than the United States, who seem happier to deal it with it in their own state and on their own terms. The United States is more than guilty of the same thing with thus far failed attempts to build monopolies in the guise of regulation. One only need to be a part of CSAC meetings to see the latest attempt with Muay Thai and then ask yourself why a Virginia based organization runs New York’s Muay Thai scene and New York state itself distances itself from both MMA and Muay Thai. I think the answers are as obvious as they are inevitable: control, influence and money. Thankfully in the United States most people in regulatory commissions aren’t quite as easy to dupe.
I think its worthy of viewing some comments here to understand some of the underlying issues Ontario is experiencing to try to do the sport of Muay Thai independent from interference (especially now that the WMC is essence injecting themselves into Canadian politics as a foreign entity).
From Upset fighter of Ontario: As a member of the Ontario Muay Thai community I wish I could say that this is official but… those in charge of licensing professional combative sports in Ontario have a very long history of corruption and an obvious agenda against ring sports. They will not likely allow Muay Thai to slide in as a subset of MMA without a good fight and lengthy evaluation process.
Interestingly, they have already began using the UFC as an excuse to decline licensing Pro Boxing events until next year… promoters have been dismissed with a simple “we’re too busy, come back next year” despite the fact that the promoter had already booked a venue and secured sponsorship.
Further, its not going to be an easy task for the average Joe promoter to hold a card together. There will be heavy financial deposits and very stringent medical requirements that will scare away most promoters, except maybe the UFC who may be able to fork out enough money up-front and hold a few events per year. It is a system that is perhaps designed to fail. It is also not uncommon for fighters applying for a pro license in Ontario to be ordered MRI’s and CAT scans…. lengthy and expensive medical assessments in order to further burden the athletes and promoters
Pro boxing and kick-boxing is already legal here. However you will hardly find more than a small handful of events in Ontario each year, where as in Quebec alone there will be upwards of 60 Pro boxing events annually.
These will be challenges that need to be addressed.
As for Amateur Muay Thai, it is great to see that some brave souls have done their legal homework (others even spent considerable time in court) in order to uncover the truth of the legality of holding Amateur Muay Thai events so long as certain liability and safety measures are in check. A new association was formed that went beyond these minimum criteria and went ahead with events without a single hitch. However, there is a bill (C-31) before parliament at the moment which includes a new definition of Section 83 of Canada’s criminal code dealing with “Prize Fighting”. You can find it here:
The government has finally decided to amend this ancient law which was previously used by the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion as well as the Athletic Commissioner’s Office as an excuse to consider Muay Thai and MMA as illegal, even at the Amateur level. The recent Amateur Muay Thai events have obviously proven that they are wrong and that this law does not deem Amateur MT as “Prize Fighting” and therefore illegal, so long as it is managed safely. But now its being re-written so that all events must either be sanctioned by the government designated “Provincial Sports Organization” or be licensed through “Permission from your Province” (yet to be determined who this will be in Ontario). Lets just hope and pray that this authority will not be handed to the same crooks in the Ministry of Health Promotion or the Athletics Commissioner’s Office, otherwise pretty much everyone in the Province is screwed once again.
Concerning CMTC-A in Calgary, they have certainly been playing an active role in dividing the Ontario Muay Thai community and are using their designation from IFMA as Canada’s official “National Sport Federation” for Muay Thai to intimidate everyone who participates in any event that it not sanctioned by them. They threaten black listing the athletes and coaches from both their events as well as from IFMA! They’ve been filling everyone’s ears with this Olympic Dream non-sense and posing as the “savior of muay thai in Ontario”. These are the same people who refused to recognize the previous Muay Thai Association in Ontario which was stripped of its “Provincial SPorts Organization” status from the government as a result. Now they want to come here and set up a new PSO that will be remotely managed by them???
Well as fortune would have it, some serious corruption at the hands of CMTC-A and IFMA has very recently been uncovered and I’m pretty sure that it will become public knowledge in the days to come.
Days later I became aware of a news bulletin this time from the medical end in Ontario against MMA and therefore Muay Thai: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2010/08/25/sp-cma-mma-ban.html?ref=rss
But the fight for Muay Thai in Ontario isn’t over I am still hopeful. It may have taken until the 21st century but Muay Thai can and will finally be done in the most populated portion of Canada with arguably the best potential talent to be developed. The word has been put out and its now incumbent upon Ontario to make the right path for itself. The community in Muay Thai is aware of the fight they have against all the outside parties that want Ontario’s Muay Thai run for them, by them or under them. It’s up to Ontario to make sure that doesn’t happen and they do their Muay Thai on their own terms. It can and will succeed if enough of a united front comes out for Ontario. Otherwise like other attempts to have Muay Thai outside of Calgary, they die summarily from an easy strategy of divide and conquer.