No fighting: Lack of boxing authority freezes pro combat sports in Nova Scotia
Former UFC fighter says 'it's really frustrating' being unable to fight in home province
Nova Scotia can't hold professional boxing or mixed martial arts bouts because nobody has been appointed to the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority since the previous commissioners' terms lapsed in June.
"You can't get one sanctioned today," said Mickey MacDonald, the last person to chair the authority.
MacDonald said the terms of the eight commissioners expire every three years and did so in June. Usually, they get re-appointed, but that hasn't happened.
The authority is the board legislated by the provincial government to supervise and regulate professional combat sports. The situation does not affect amateur fights.
"What happened this year is the [provincial] election interrupted all the different appointments. They're expected to meet in the next week or so," MacDonald said in a phone interview on Tuesday.
Halifax has hosted the UFC, the top MMA promotion, as recently as February, but couldn't at present.
The boxing authority falls under the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, but no one there would agree to an interview.
"We are currently in the process of filling these positions, which will allow the authority to fully resume its work, including sanctioning fights," spokesperson Lisa Jarrett said in an email to CBC News.
MacDonald doesn't think the situation is holding anyone up. "There's nobody trying to put a fight on right now," he said.
'Frustrating' for N.S. pro
Nova Scotia fighter Chris Kelades won at the UFC's first Halifax show in 2014 but he had to travel to Shawnee, Okla., for his latest fight Friday with the televised LFA promotion. He won by decision.
Getting a professional fight can be difficult for all athletes, Kelades said, but especially ones at his level. "A lot of it has to do with where we are. Being on the East Coast, it can be very expensive to fly and get fights," he said.
Kelades was back at his day job Monday — he works with at-risk youth — and has to fit training and fighting around that schedule. Having the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority fall inactive has made it tougher.
"It's really frustrating," he said. "I'm hopeful that the [boxing authority] is hopefully going to get it back together, because it's not just for boxing, it's also for MMA and any combat sports that wants to be held in Nova Scotia," he added.
No local pro MMA shows in a year
His coach also runs the Extreme Cage Combat promotion based in Halifax, but it hasn't been able to put on a show since last year.
Kelades said the authority couldn't help in April as it was on a vacation break and plans for a June or July show didn't come together. The owner of ECC declined to be interviewed.
The Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports is the North American body connecting sanctioning authorities. As of Aug. 9, it listed the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority as "not in good standing/not active."