Republished from the Canadian MMA Law Blog
Following UFC 161 the Manitoba Combative Sports Commission released the required information relating to fighter medical suspensions so these can be published at the Association of Boxing Commissions Official Certified Database for Mixed Martial Arts. This is done to allow Athletic Commissions in other jurisdictions to find out whether a combatant intending to fight under their watch is under medical suspension.
MCSC's suspension list was quite barren on details. The announced suspensions do little more than mention defined periods or 'indefinite' medical suspensions with no underlying information as to the injuries leading to these. Why were Pat Barry and Rashad Evans suspended indefinitely? What injuries did they sustain? This lack of information brought criticism from some MMA fans with comments such as:
"This is dumb, this has to be the least descriptive medical suspensions I've ever heard. I don't know if it's because it's Canada but normally we get a really good breakdown of exactly what will keep guys out. I'm sure it's just cause it's Canada".
Should the MCSC publicly release more information? The answer is no for a number of reasons.
First off, while the Manitoba Boxing Regulation does require the Commission to hand out medical suspensions they are strictly prohibited from sharing details. Section 49 of the Regulation reads as follows:
Except for the purpose of enforcing the Act and this regulation, the
commission and its members, employees and agents shall maintain confidentiality
with respect to any medical report, medical certificate, and any related medical
information in its or their possession.
In addition to this, Manitoba has, like most Canadian Jurisdictions, privacy legislation making those who breach the privacy of others subject lawsuits for damages.
Now if complying with the law is not enough, there are other practical reasons why the MCSC's silence was the right thing to do.
Fighting is a competitive business. As in all competitive industries, knowledge is power. Imagine if a government official published something you were forced to share with them that can harm your interests with no right to do so?
What if Rashad had broken ribs? What if Pat Barry sustained a knee injury? Do you think their next competitors would benefit from this information? Of course they would. If you want proof just think back to the viscous body shots Alistair Overeem used to retire Brock Lesnar following his well publicized diverticulitis surgery. Camps keep fighter injuries well guarded secrets for a reason. Its in their fighter's best interests. To expect Commissions to publish this valuable information simply for the public's hunger for details goes against the best interests of the people who make a living in this trade.
Keeping all of the above in mind the MSCS's silence is golden.