In follow up to my 24 Hours Vancouver piece this week, it appears the B.C. Athletic Commission is starting to take shape and will be open for business as of May 30, 2013. Mark Pavelich broke the news last week on MMASucka Radio that he is planning on coming to British Columbia twice this year.
There is some movement on my end. Nothing is confirmed yet but I have two prospects to make a deal. I’m just kind of calculating it very carefully. To be honest with you, I want to do fewer shows in Alberta. I love Alberta and this is where I live, but even for the remainder of the year I only want to do three shows here [Alberta] and two shows in BC. Next year I want to do three in Alberta, two in BC, and I want to do two in Ontario, which will get me back to seven shows a year and that is where I need to be.
There seems to be some growing optimism in B.C. regarding their newly formed commission. For months it was difficult to get any information on the process. Anytime MMASucka.com tried to reach out to the current Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, Bill Bennett, in regards to an update on the newly formed Provincial Athletic Commission or Commissioner, we have been greeted with no response or the run-around treatment. That led to many, including myself, wondering if the entire idea had been put on the back burner.
Mark Pavelich had no problems letting people in B.C. know that the Commission takes shape at the end of this month. What it will be exactly and who will be in charge is another story.
It [Provincial Athletic Commission] is going to come in sooner than later and that is why I’m talking about it. Basically, we have been informed that we can apply for a license come May 30th, 31st or June 1st, somewhere around that time, so that is what we are going to do. We are going to move forward. I really think it is so imperative that we do that so that people can assess the level of MMA they are watching.
I have been told that the actual date for the new Provincial Commissioner to start his job of regulating is May 30th. Although the other details are foggy for the moment, Battlefield Fight League President Jay Golshani was able to inform Sucka about some of the other tidbits surrounding this new Commission.
If any promoter plans on doing a show after June 1st, they have to apply through this new Commissioner. I have been told it will take forty-five-days for an application to be reviewed and for them to do their due diligence like check criminal records and stuff. So if any promoter is saying they are coming to Vancouver with a pro show in June or July that is a lie. I don’t see anybody doing any professional shows in Vancouver or other parts of B.C. until late August, early September. I also know that promoters will have to drop down a $25,000 bond just to put on a show. They don’t want to make it as expensive as Ontario with all their outrageous fees, because a lot of promoters over there went out of business, that said, it will still be expensive, so anyone coming over here will have to be prepared to put up the money.
Battlefield Fight League in Vancouver has done a great job of promoting and showcasing B.C. talent throughout the Province, and although they have put on some solid professional shows in Penticton and Nanaimo, their overall goal has always been to operate pro shows in Vancouver and possibly in the suburb of Langley. However, Golshani doesn’t necessarily want to be the first promoter outside of the UFC to bring professional MMA to the Lower Mainland.
I don’t need to be the first. Look at what went on in Ontario. Everyone wanted to be first, everyone wanted to put on a show over there and establish themselves, and many haven’t returned or they went out of business. MFC was first and they couldn’t sell tickets. They did it at Casino Rama and lost money, so Pavelich said he would never go back. I have no need to be the first, I just want to go about it the right way. We have some of B.C.’s top talent and we have been involved in this community for the last few years. People know us, and when we finally do a professional show in Vancouver, we will put some money into our marketing and showcase some of our top local guys.
Another promoter in British Columbia is Darren Owen of Aggression Fighting Championships. AFC have been doing pro shows in Victoria, B.C. for years and Owen says he knows who the new Commissioner is, but according to him has been told not to reveal the mystery man’s identity. Rumor has it that the newly appointed Commissioner will be in Victoria and in attendance at AFC 18: Mayhem on May 19, 2013. For obvious reasons Darren Owen could not confirm this.
Although MMA Sucka is not big on reporting rumours, there is also another one floating around that this new Commissioner will have no experience in the fight game, and will be over seeing professional combat sports in the Province through advisors from the boxing and MMA community. If that is the case, it appears that goes against what was originally planned and communicated by former Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Ida Chong and what she told MMASucka.com almost a year ago.
We will be looking for someone who obviously has a certain skill set and knowledge of combat sports, said Chong. The person does not have to be affiliated with the current Liberal party. This is not a party related matter. What we are looking for is someone who can enforce legislation on behalf the Province.
If I had to guess the Commissioner is someone from municipal or provincial Government, but at least the puzzle pieces are starting to come together and a bigger picture is starting to take form.
This is great news for the UFC, who don’t have Vancouver on their schedule for 2013, but there is no doubt they will be looking to come back to Vancouver in 2014 and there are rumors that Victoria has been considered for a UFC on FOX Sports event.
More information is coming but it appears promoters who have first hand information on who this Commissioner is have been given the gag order not to spill the beans. Some are saying there will be an announcement this week, but with the Province in the midst of an election this week, it maybe quietly announced amongst all the noise.
MMA Sucka will update this story as more information is released. We will also be in attendance at AFC 18 in Victoria on May 19th, and will hopefully shed more light on the situation and provide a name and face for the new BC Commissioner.
B.C. will finally get the provincial commission they have been waiting for, and although this is great news for promoters, let the war of words begin as a new opportunity lay on the horizon, starting with MFC President Mark Pavelich.
I’m trying not to be derogatory, but my under card is 99.9% better than any other show in Canada’s main card. You go check other people’s cards in Canada and it looks like guys who flunked out of the MFC are now part of their show. It’s guys who flunked out or didn’t win titles here, and all of that stuff. That’s fine and all, but I’m building something here that is going to be long lasting. That’s why I went out and signed top guys like Mike Hackert, and Graham Spencer. There was a purpose behind that. I’m trying to build something and get into British Columbia and have those type of guys with such character on my roster to fight in B.C.
Let the fun begin.
UPDATE - MMASucka.com found the following information online. The new Commissioner Act will only cover MMA and boxing with professional kickboxing and Muay Thai to added at a later date. Although there still is no name or face attached to this newly appointed Commissioner the following does answer some questions.
The Athletic Commissioner Act will come into force effective May 30th. On that date the BC Athletic Commissioner will commence operations. Links to the Athletic Commissioner Act, the Athletic Commissioner Regulation and the Minister’s Regulation are set out below.
Additional links include an Information Sheet on transition from local athletic commissions to provincial regulation and a FAQ document.
The Athletic Commissioner Act (Bill 50) was passed by the B.C. Legislature on May 30, 2012. The Act provides for a BC Athletic Commissioner to regulate and supervise professional contests that feature:
- Mixed martial arts;
The purpose of this initiative is to ensure the safety of participants in boxing and mixed martial arts, and to implement consistent rules, policies and procedures across the province.
This Act does not apply to amateur contests or events.
The key duties of the Commissioner would be to:
- Establish a consistent standard of qualifications and safety protocols for all participants and officials through a uniform licensing and permitting framework; and
- Ensure compliance with the Act and its regulations.
There are currently at least nine local athletic commissions throughout the province. When the Provincial Athletic Commission is established, the local commissions will no longer operate, as the provincial government will assume responsibility for professional combat sport events across B.C.
If local governments do not want such contests to take place in their communities, they would be able to prohibit these events by passing a bylaw.
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