British Columbia

Pow! B.C. authorizes professional kickboxing for the first time

B.C. has authorized professional kickboxing as a subset of mixed martial arts (MMA), meaning athletes will no longer have to leave the province to turn professional.

Athletes previously had to leave the province or switch to MMA in order to turn professional

Athletes spar at the World Champion Fight Club in Richmond on Tuesday. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

B.C. has authorized professional kickboxing as a subset of mixed martial arts (MMA), meaning athletes will no longer have to leave the province to turn professional.

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Lisa Beare made the announcement in a press conference at the World Champion Fight Club in Richmond on Tuesday.

The decision, made by B.C.'s athletic commissioner Kelly Gilday, will allow the promotion of professional kickboxing matches as a sub-group of MMA, with professional matches beginning sometime next year.

Athletes hoping to make the transition from amateur to professional previously had to leave B.C. or transition to MMA, where they faced a different set of combat rules.

"We are reducing the risks to fighters by allowing them to transition from amateur to professional in the sport that they've trained in for years," said Beare.

"It will also add consistency to the sport and allow B.C. to join other jurisdictions in Canada that already allow the promotion of kickboxing at the professional level."

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Lisa Beare speaks at a press conference in the World Champion Fight Club in Richmond Tuesday. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Stan Peterec, a veteran Canadian kickboxer and two time world champion who now coaches and mentors athletes, said the decision has been a long time coming.

"[I'm] very happy for B.C. kickboxers, now they get to make some money at something they love to do, [they'll] get local sponsors because they're going to fight locally," he said.

"It's a win-win for everybody. We all know what sports do for young people and I couldn't be happier for the next generation coming up."

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