So, the Ultimate Fighting Championship is coming to Canada for the first time on April 19th. Montreal, Quebec is the chosen Province largely because the number one contender in the welterweight division, George St. Pierre, trains and resides there. Personally, I am a huge fan of this sport and have been since its first pay per view showing in the mid 1990's when athletes like Royce Gracie would battle men twice his weight and size. In those days the rules were a little less relaxed compared to mixed martial arts competitions today, but major injuries were still a rare occurrence. The April 19th fight card will pit present world welterweight champion Matt Serra against St. Pierre as the main event and the title and belt are up for grabs again. These two squared off months ago in St. Pierre's first title defence which led to what I classify as a fluke knockout by Serra. St. Pierre is focused now and completely crushed Matt Hughes in his most recent fight. Hands down, George St. Pierre will regain his title over the older and less physically intimidating Serra.
Sorry, I am getting lost of the reason for posting this blog due to my enthusiasm for this sport. But is it a sport? I think it is. These athletes are highly skilled, highly trained and extremely athletic. My wife thinks it's just a couple of dudes knocking the hell out of each other and doesn't see much athleticism at all. Hmmm. Well, people once thought this way about Tae Kwon Do and Judo which are now global Olympic events. I am sure it isn't what the Greeks envisioned Centuries ago but nevertheless a sport and one that will take part in Beijing at the 2008 summer Olympics.
In some Provinces, like New Brunswick, these events are considered illegal because of section 83 under the Criminal Code of Canada which reads:
Engaging in prize fight
83. (1) Every one who
(a) engages as a principal in a prize fight,
(b) advises, encourages or promotes a prize fight, or
(c) is present at a prize fight as an aid, second, surgeon, umpire, backer or reporter,
is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
Definition of “prize fight”(2) In this section, "prize fight" means an encounter or fight with fists or hands between two persons who have met for that purpose by previous arrangement made by or for them, but a boxing contest between amateur sportsmen, where the contestants wear boxing gloves of not less than one hundred and forty grams each in mass, or any boxing contest held with the permission or under the authority of an athletic board or commission or similar body established by or under the authority of the legislature of a province for the control of sport within the province, shall be deemed not to be a prize fight.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 83; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 186.
So - sport or brutality? You decide.