Twin Dragons looking for KO in $100M lawsuit

STEVE BUFFERY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:17 AM ET

Michael and Martin McNamara, known in martial arts circles as the Twin Dragons, are hosts of an amateur mixed martial arts show tonight at the Paradise Banquet Hall in Concord, although Michael has an even bigger fight on his hands.

It has been kept fairly quiet until now, but last year Michael McNamara filed a whopping $100-million lawsuit against the Ontario government, the Ontario athletic commission, commissioner Ken Hayashi and former commissioner Alan Coleclough.

The suit is claiming damages for conspiracy, negligence, bad faith or reckless decision-making, infringement or denial of McNamara's rights, conflict and bias on the part of the commission, misfeasance in public office and breach of fiduciary obligations.

The Twin Dragons have been staging and promoting pro and amateur kick boxing shows for years and believe that the commission conspired to:

*Influence the Ontario government to ban kick boxing fights.

*Influence government studies in an attempt to ban McNamara's kick boxing activities.

*Retained advisers, including doctors, who shared their bias against kick boxing in favour of karate (Hayashi is a karate master) to slant reports and influence government studies.

*Used inflammatory language, including the word "blood sport" to describe kick boxing.

*Prohibited the Twin Dragons from conducting amateur and pro kick boxing activities at the same event.

The bottom line, McNamara has been claiming for years that Hayashi and the Ontario commission have regulated him and his brother almost out of business and severely damaged them financially.

The province and commission have filed a statement of defence and McNamara said yesterday the crown has put in a motion to strike out the lawsuit, a motion that should be heard next month.

EQUAL RIGHTS

McNamara said yesterday he is not able to discus the suit at length, but insisted that all he and his brother are trying to do is be able to organize and hold proper professional kick boxing shows, and in the future, professional MMA events. Professional MMA contests are banned in Ontario. Hayashi will not allow pro MMA events in Ontario based on his interpretation of Section 83 of the federal criminal code which deems "prize fighting," with the exception of boxing and some kick boxing, to be illegal.

Hayashi refused to comment yesterday on the lawsuit.

Because tonight's show is an amateur event, the Ontario commission has no jurisdiction over it. The event will include some MMA demonstration bouts, as well as a few kick boxing, Muay Thai and boxing contests. Tickets are available at the door.

McNamara said he plans to meet with Marc Ratner, the UFC's vice-president of government and regulatory affairs, in the next few weeks to discuss ways to have section 83 amended to allow pro MMA shows in Ontario. UFC shows attract huge pay per view numbers in Canada and UFC 83 on April 19 at the Bell Centre in Montreal sold out in minutes and generated millions for the local economy.

"It's just a matter of time," McNamara said of bringing pro MMA shows to Ontario. "We're going to get it, mark my word. The sport is mainstream now, there's not millions, but billions, of dollars involved. And think how that would help Ontario's economy, which is in the doldrums now."


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