Saturday was a landmark date for supporters of mixed martial arts in the province.
The Liberal government announced it would begin to regulate the sport in 2011, paving the way for the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) to hold marquee events in the province.
Canadian UFC events have been popular with fans as past events in Vancouver and Montreal have sold out within minutes.
The new regulation also will allow for competitions at the grassroots level, although the local club—Borderland Combat Sports—concentrates more on training than competing.
“Our club is more towards the training aspect than it is towards the promotional aspect, but it’s always good that there’s the option for the possibility of fights being held in Thunder Bay,” explained Dr. Bruce Lidkea, one of the club’s original members.
“It’s good that it’s opening up.”
The local club itself is in development, with 12-15 regular attendees and 30 more hopefuls—all with martial arts credentials (“lots of black belts and collegiate wrestlers,” noted Dr. Lidkea)—on the waiting list.
“It’s great that there are so many talented martial artists in town that want to train with other martial artists,” he enthused.
The waiting list may shorten soon as Dr. Lidkea noted the club has looked into moving into the old judo club facility on First Street East.