Cage fighting coming to Saint John
Legal change clears way for mixed martial arts events
A recent legal change is making it easier to hold mixed martial arts events in New Brunswick.
Moncton used to be the only city in the province that allowed the fights under a municipal exemption to the law. But the federal law changed in June to legalize MMA and other combat sports across the country.
The changes update the definition of a prize fight, which until now was defined as an encounter or fight with fists or hands, meaning that not only was MMA outside the law, but so were Olympic sports such as judo and taekwondo.
Mixed martial arts is a combat sport where fighters use striking and grappling techniques drawn from sports like boxing, taekwondo, wrestling and jujitsu. Fights are usually held in many-sided cages or in boxing rings.
Fight night in Saint John
Edward Hoyt, a fight promoter from Saint John, said MMA cards have been regular and popular in Moncton.
He's now hoping to organize tournaments in his home town.
"Until less than three weeks ago, unless it was sanctioned by a body within a city under a civic bylaw, it was illegal in Canada," he said.
"Now, we're working with the province to try to make a provincial commission and working so that we can hold events anywhere in the province."
Hoyt said New Brunswick could soon see MMA fighters coming from across the country and the U.S. to compete in the province.
Another promoter is planning to stage a series of fights in Dalhousie this fall.
Joel Arsenault of Dalhousie is hoping to organize a fight this fall. He said the sport is safe and regulated.