Mixed martial arts told to wait by Summerside

The City of Summerside has called a time-out in efforts to bring a mixed martial-arts event to Credit Union Place.

Changes to Criminal Code mean regulations need clarification

Mixed martial arts was previously technically illegal, because it involves fighting with something other than the hands. ((Eric Jamison/Associated Press))

The City of Summerside has called a time-out in efforts to bring a mixed martial-arts event to Credit Union Place.

Promoters of the sport had been in talks with the city about hosting an MMA event, but the city says it no longer has legal authority to sanction professional fights.

In June the Criminal Code was amended to legalize MMA. Previously prize fights were defined to involve encounters with the fists or hands, making MMA — as well as judo and taekwondo — technically illegal.

"This past summer there were some changes to the Criminal Code of Canada which basically changed the water in how the martial arts are regulated in Canada," said Gordon MacFarlane, head of legal services for the City of Summerside.

"At this point we're in discussion with the province to see what the next steps are on a provincial level."

The city says it's now waiting for the province to set up a commission to regulate professional fighting.

MacFarlane said Summerside has been talking with promoters in the Maritimes, as well as some international promoters, who are interested in staging events in Summerside.

The city hopes the province will bring in the necessary legislation next spring.

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