Today Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Obby Khan announced that there is a new bill to expand the mandate of the safety of combative sports participants at all levels.

The Manitoba government is introducing Bill 40, the Combative Sports Act, to expand the mandate of the Manitoba Combative Sports Commission (MCSC) to enhance safety measures in sports, such as boxing, kickboxing, martial arts, and mixed martial arts.

"Our government is committed to enhancing athlete safety in all sports and these amendments will allow amateur athletes in sports such as kickboxing and jiu-jitsu the opportunity to participate in a broader range of regulated and safer combative sport competitions," says Khan. "Expanding the mandate of the MCSC will ensure a more cohesive approach to sport participant safety across all combative sports, both professional and amateur."

The proposed legislation would expand the mandate of the MCSC to include both amateur and professional sports and designate it as the sanctioning body for amateur combative sports where another sanctioning body is not already designated.

Interest and participation in combative sports are growing in Manitoba and around the world, the minister noted, adding that this bill would enable athletes, officials, coaches and others involved in the combative sports community to pursue athletic objectives while fostering an environment that prioritizes the well-being of all who participate.

Additionally, amateur and professional combative sports competitions result in economic activity including tourism and remove the draw of unsanctioned events.

"We know there is unregulated and illegal amateur combative sports activity taking place in Manitoba, and we want to eliminate that with this bill," says Khan.

The MCSC was established as a standalone organization in 2017. It receives operating funding from the Department of Sport, Culture and Heritage and is already responsible for regulating professional combative sports. Currently, the MCSC does not regulate or sanction any amateur combative sports.