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Promoters Face Criminal Charges for Staging Mixed Martial Arts Event in Ontario, Canada

The Ultimate Fighting Championship drew its biggest crowd ever when it staged UFC 85 at the Bell Centre in Montreal. But another mixed martial arts organization wasn't as fortunate when it decided to put together an MMA event in Canada.

The Ottawa Citizen reports that five men who organized an MMA event in November were charged last week with the crime of staging an illegal prize fight. The Athletics Commission in the province of Ontario does not sanction MMA. Ontario Athletics Commissioner Ken Hayashi explained why boxing is OK but MMA is not:

"MMA is not a boxing contest," he said. "They're not in a boxing ring, they wear open gloves, they can kick to the legs, they can knee, they can elbow, they can choke. All those techniques are illegal in a boxing contest."

True enough, but MMA is safer than boxing because MMA fights are shorter and knockouts generally happen quickly, not after scores of blows to the head. It makes no sense to allow boxing but ban MMA, and it's shameful that five men are facing criminal charges for promoting a sporting event.

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