Mixed Martial Arts

The New Brunswick government is proposing a new combat sports commission that will allow events, such as mixed martial arts fights, to be licensed in the province. (Eric Jamison/Associated Press)

The New Brunswick government is proposing a new commission that will govern combat sports, such as mixed martial arts fights.

Healthy and Inclusive Communities Minister Dorothy Shephard introduced the proposed legislation on Tuesday that will establish a commission that will be responsible for making sure fighters are licensed, healthy, make their weight classes and it will make sure officials are qualified.

"The health and safety of the athletes is of the utmost importance," Shephard said in a statement.

"By enacting legislation, government is attempting to mitigate the risks. We have come up with a model that will ensure combat sport events are well-regulated."

Most combat sports are now on hold in the province because there is no commission to regulate them.

The proposed legislation does not discuss mixed martial arts fights specifically. However, combat sports are defined in the bill as "a sport in which fighters use striking, throwing, grappling or submission techniques or a combination of those techniques."

The federal government says fights are illegal unless they are approved by a provincial commission.

There have been mixed-martial arts fights held at Casino Moncton and promoters said last year they were hoping a commission would be formed quickly so they could resume their events.

The proposed act excludes amateur judo, boxing, wrestling, taekwondo and karate, which are already governed by provincial organizations.

The commission will be made up of four members, including one medical practitioner.

Members will be appointed through the agencies, boards and commissions process to ensure transparency.

The draft regulations will be posted online for public review and comment when they're ready, according to the provincial government.