In 2002, LuFisto was scheduled for a match against Bloody Bill Skullion in the main event of a show for Ontario’s Blood, Sweat N’ Ears promotion. That evening, however, the Ontario Athletics Commission threatened to withdraw the license for the event, stating that their regulations didn’t allow inter-gender wrestling and thus, the show would not be allowed to go on.
Rather than take the judgment lying down, LuFisto filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission for her right to wrestle whoever she so chose to. Almost four years later, the OHRC not only dropped the specific rule preventing inter-gender matches to occur, but Ontario’s Athletic Commission dropped a wide swath of their wrestling-specific regulations.
Unfortunately, LuFisto’s successful takedown of the O.A.C’s wrestling regulations wasn’t an entirely perfect situation. While a majority of her peers were supportive of her endeavor, a few questioned her decision to go up against the Athletic Commission.
“Did you get any heat for going up against the (Ontario Athletic Commission) when you did for the right to fight against men?” I asked her as part of our upcoming conversation for Love Wrestling. “You would sort of think by today’s standards, people would really support that (and) get behind it. But, it sounds like that was a bit of the opposite case for you?”
“I think if I were to be doing that, today, people would see it as maybe a good thing,” the Canadian legend began. “But I feel back then – I was told often that ‘oh, you have balls,’ because nobody else had the balls to actually take [them on]. They were charging money for licenses, and they were not providing a doctor and it was not giving the promotion or wrestlers anything really useful.”
“When I was living in Pennsylvania, there was a commission, but there was a doctor on the premises if something would happen, and they would make sure you get to the hospital,” she continued. “The commission was actually useful. It was a way to protect the wrestlers, and you have to pay for the doctor and the license for the show. But wrestlers themselves in Pennsylvania don’t need like a paper that – it was $75 a year in Ontario, but let’s say you would get your paper in October. It was good till January, and then you have to pay again for the whole year.
“So I feel a lot of people, a lot of guys were happy that I did the work,” Lufisto confirmed. “But I think in a way it gave me the reputation that I was like, ‘oh, she’s going to create (a) problem,’ when my goal was to actually help the wrestling community as a whole because women wrestlers could wrestle the guys in training but could not in the show. But, in Toronto, they’re filming movies like Catwoman where a stunt woman is fighting with a stuntman? I’m like, ‘okay, that doesn’t work.'”
“Sounds kind of bass-ackwards,” I replied incredulously.
“I’m trained to do this,” she asserted. “It’s not domestic violence. I want to be here. Too many people -and it still happens once in a while today – they will say ‘oh, intergender wrestling promotes domestic violence.’ No. Somebody who’s a victim of domestic violence doesn’t want to be this and choose to be. It’s something that should not be happening. But if somebody trains and gets in the gym and gets in the ring and you want to fight the best opponents you have (and) the best opponent is a man it is your choice to go against and go toe to toe. You’re trained to do that. It’s a personal choice, and as a woman, you should be able to choose. That was the main thing. I could not wrestle who I wanted because of my gender. I lost tons of bookings because there [were] no women back then.”
“So yeah, it took me three years and a half, almost four years to – actually, my main thing was to remove the law that stated that men and women cannot be in the ring. But, when the whole – I don’t know, the committee or the court, whatever – started to look into it, they’re like, ‘nah,’ and everything, wrestling as a whole was removed from the commission.”
Please credit Spencer Love/Love Wrestling with any of the above quotes used.