By LIAM AVISON
Amateur Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters and promoters in Saskatchewan are lobbying all levels of government to legalize professional fights in the province.
Since the UFC made its debut in Canada at UFC 83, they have held 13 events in four Canadian provinces.
Despite its success, professional MMA remains illegal in many provinces, including Saskatchewan, because there is no athletic commission to regulate professional events.
“A commission has to be made of people who are not directly involved with the sport,” said Graham Weenk, owner of Alliance Martial Arts in Saskatoon.
“The amateur level allows fighter to begin their career and develop their skill,” said AJ Scales in a promotional video for his gym, Complete MMA “If there was a professional level available it would allow fighters to take there career to the next level.”
The fighters from provinces where professional MMA events remain illegal are forced to travel in order to participate in professional fights.
This makes it tough for aspiring fighters like Cody Moorman and Daniel Mark from Saskatoon’s Alliance Martial Arts Systems to find fights.
“If we had our own commission here, we become the locals and then we can bring people to fight us, rather than having to go somewhere where someone is willing to fight us,” said Weenk.
“My guys win a lot and none of the locals want to fight our guys,” said Weenk. “so our guys end up sitting on the bench.”