Sunday January 10th saw Muay Thai Ontario’s first annual Community Meeting, an event that invites the community to review the previous year as well as policy changes and plans for the upcoming year. There was a great dialogue at the meeting, and we hope it continues; ultimately these rules and policies are in place to foster and develop the community. If you have any comments or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact us.
A summary of the rule and policy changes for 2016 are as follows
There are a number of situations in which an athlete who has “gone pro” (been paid to compete) may wish to continue competing as an amateur. Sometimes an athlete makes the transition to professional competition before they are ready, and are not able to find success amongst the opponents they now face. Competition at the professional level is also much less frequent than in the amateurs and athletes may find themselves without the opportunity to continue in their sport. At other times, an athlete who has competed professionally may either retire or take a hiatus from the sport and upon their return find that they are no longer competitive or unable to find competition. In order to allow athlete who no longer belong in the professional circuit continued competitive opportunities as well as in the interest of fostering an active community, Muay Thai Ontario has taken steps to allow athletes to reinstate as amateurs.
Amateur status as an athlete is very protected in North America, and we take the request to revert seriously; the safety of existing amateur athletes is of the utmost concern above all else. Athletes who have competed professionally may request to reinstate as amateurs under Muay Thai Ontario, provided that they meet the following criteria.
Reinstatement as an amateur is subject to approval by a technical committee, and should an athlete be reinstated they may be places in either A class or Open class, depending on their experience.
Ranking are an incredibly important tool, allowing an objective way to determine the top athletes in the province. In addition rankings help socialize a sport, allowing someone outside the Muay Thai community to easily buy in to and understand the current competitive climate. The system has been finalized, and web development is well underway:
Points are awarded for the following:
A few ranking examples follow:
With the creation of the ranking system and a year of competition behind us, athletes are now able to compete for Muay Thai Ontario titles. Muay Thai Ontario title holders represent the best athletes in the province for their respective Competitive Division (Age, Weight, and Experience).
Title belts will be standardized and provided by Muay Thai Ontario, and event hosts will be limited to two (2) Muay Thai Ontario titles and one (1) Muaythai Canada title per event.
Event titles and belts are those offered by a specific event host or promoter. These titles are most often seen in professional events (e.g. Lion Fight) or events that make use of an athletic commission (e.g. Friday Night Fights). Amateur sports in Ontario do not involve athletic commissions, but Provincial Sport Organizations dedicated to developing the sport.
With significant discussion and feedback from the community, only Muay Thai Ontario and Muaythai Canada titles and belts may be awarded to contests between Ontarians or Canadians respectively. This decision was made to preserve the integrity of the title and belt, title defenses, and rankings, rather than allow for an excessive number of titles to be produced that ultimately flood and confuse the market. Event titles will still be permitted, but restricted to contests involving international competitors, as these individuals would be unable to compete for a Muay Thai Ontario or Muaythai Canada title.
For Ontario and Canadian athletes, event hosts and promoters will still be able to provide awards and acknowledgements outside of title belts, such as cups, trophies, medals, plaques, etc, and are encouraged to do so.
Up until this point Muay Thai events held in clubs have been primarily comprised as demos/exhibitions/smokers. While demos have served the community extremely well during the competitive drought in Ontario, they also come with some risks. Demos are ring experience but vary greatly in intensity; some demos are playful, and others are nothing short of fights. This causes difficulty when matching athletes up for safe competition, and also exposes athletes to a great risk due to varying safety standards (referee training, equipment, medical staff, etc).
With this in mind, Muay Thai Ontario is opening up competition to events hosted in clubs with the hopes of providing a safer, more consistent competitive experience for athletes. Clubs wishing to host events must meet the venue requirements outlined in MTO’s Rules & Regulations, which have been adopted from the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur. MTO will be reviewing the venue requirement section of the rules to see if any adjustments might be made to improve the accessibility of competition without compromising any standards of safety.