Elite Amateur Sport

Manitoba is the home to many successful university sports programs. The University of Manitoba Bisons, the University of Winnipeg’s Wesmen and the Brandon University Bobcats continue to put our province on the map with their achievements. Manitoba is also proud of the Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings. The Wheat Kings and other Manitoba hockey franchises regularly provide exciting new players to the NHL.

Amateur Combative Sport

Explanation of S.83 Criminal Code Prize Fighting Law

Governments have been working since 1999 to modernize Section 83 (S. 83) of the Criminal Code so that it does not prohibit legitimate amateur combative sports. S. 83 had not been amended since 1934 so there is no exemption for legitimate amateur combative sports that have emerged since that time.  Under the previous law, it was an offence to have any involvement in prize fighting (defined as an "encounter or fight with fists or hands") except for amateur boxing and professional boxing events under authority of the province.  Many well established amateur sport events such as Judo, and Karate, and even those without monetary prizes, were technically included in this offence.

Bill S-209 updates the definition of a prize fight to include an encounter with “fists, hands or feet” and it expands the list of exceptions to the offence to include amateur combative sports that are on the program of the International Olympic Committee and other amateur sports as designated or approved by the province, as well as boxing contests and mixed martial arts contests held under the authority of a provincial athletic board, commission or similar body.

Order In Council for recognized amateur provincial sport bodies in Manitoba (PDF)

Federal Law on Prize Fighting

Frequently Asked Questions:

+ What is the Criminal Code Section 83 Prize Fighting?

+ Why was s.83 Prize Fighting recently updated?

The Bill s.83 has not been amended since 1934 so there was no exemption for legitimate amateur combative sports that have emerged since that time.  In 1999, F-P/T Ministers Responsible for Sport recognized that s. 83 needed to be modernized and agreed to ask F-P/T Ministers of Justice to make an amendment to s.83 of the Canadian Criminal Code so that it did not prohibit legitimate amateur combative sports.

+ How does this affect amateur combative sports?

A recent amendment to section 83 of the Criminal Code makes amateur contests legal in Canada if they are sports on the Olympic program, sports designated by the province, or for other sports if provincial permission is given.  Provincial permission may also be required for contests of sports on the Olympic program and sports designated by the province if the Province requires it.

+ What amateur combative sports and respective organizations does Manitoba recognize?

  1. For the purpose of regulating certain activities, the Lieutenant Governor in Council designates, subject to section two of this order, the following amateur combative sports under section 83(2)(b) of the Criminal Code of Canada (“the Criminal Code”):

    • Boxing
    • Taekwondo
    • Karate
    • Sikaran Arnis

  2. The Lieutenant Governor in Council, for the purposes of section 83 of the Criminal Code,  specifies the following organizations as bodies who may hold or permit other organizations to hold a contest between amateur athletes in their respective sports:

    • The Manitoba Amateur Boxing Association
    • Taekwondo Manitoba
    • Karate Manitoba
    • The Manitoba Association of Sikaran Arnis Inc.


+ What can the consequences be if there is a breach to s.83?

If such an event is held and a complaint is received by the local police, the complaint will be investigated.

+ What is the impact to fighters if they participate at an event that is unregulated according to legislation?

For an amateur fighter their eligibility to participate in any events in the future could be impacted for a period of time. For more information contact the related Provincial sport organization for suspension and penalty policies. For a professional fighter, the commission in Manitoba may refuse to issue a license based on past conduct.  This will include licenses for promoters, fighters, officials, matchmakers.

+ Does s.83 apply to Treaty First Nations or on Reserve lands?

Yes, this does apply on both Treaty First Nations land and First Nations reserves.

+ What about amateur mixed martial arts and kickboxing/muay thai in Manitoba?

These sports are currently not recognized as no Provincial Sport Organization for these sports exist and therefore they will remain unsanctioned and would be considered a breach of s.83.

+ How can I get my sport recognized by Sport Manitoba?

Sport Manitoba recognizes only one organization per sport as the governing body for that sport in the province. Sport Manitoba recognizes 76 Provincial Sport Organizations. Organizations must meet defined recognition criteria. Recognition does not automatically qualify an organization for funding assistance. For more information regarding sport recognition criteria email us.

+ What does the Manitoba Combative Sports Commission do?

Regulates professional boxing, mixed martial arts, kickboxing/muay thai under the authority of The Boxing Act.

+ Does the Manitoba Combative Sports Commission regulate amateur combative sports?

Currently the legislation only allows the commission the mandate and authority to regulate professional combative sports.