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Report: UFC 97 in Dire Straits

UFC 97 which is scheduled for April in Montreal may have run into a formidable road block.

Based on a report by the French language website, Canadian officials will not allow the UFC to hold another event in Canada with the organization’s current policies in effect.

The UFC’s use of elbows and knees to the head do not comply with the current guidelines set by the Regis des alcohols, des courses et des jeux which governs alcohol, racing, gambling and combat sports in Quebec. This was based on a statement made by their director Rejean Theriault.

Although the current policies only apply to boxing, kickboxing and mixed boxing at this time it does not provide any regulations when fights take place in a cage. Theriault has gone on record saying he would have no problem canceling the April 18th event scheduled to take place at the Bell Centre unless the UFC can comply with their rules and regulations.

When asked to comment for the article, UFC V.P. of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner told that it was too early for him to know how this would affect UFC 97. Ratner stated “I don’t have enough information right now, I just know what I’ve been told, and we are working on it.”

Ratner also said the UFC was working very hard to see that the event goes on as scheduled.

What doesn’t make sense is this isn’t the first trip to Canada for the UFC. They held UFC 83: St. Pierre vs. Serra II back in April of last year in Montreal which was the highest attended event in the company’s history drawing over 21,000 fans and generating $5.1 million in ticket sales. According to the report, the commission was unaware of that event until a few days ago.

An additional report by said the commission is re-evaluating its rules due to the near riot caused by confusion over implemented policies at a February 6 event called Strikebox. The show was to governed under traditional MMA rules but the event’s promoter Stephane Patry supposedly struck up a gentleman’s agreement between the fighters in which the fights would be kept standing. James Thompson who took part in the night’s main event did not uphold that agreement and all hell broke loose as fans started showering the ring with beer cans and other objects.

The report went on to say that The UFC may be required to utilize a smaller cage than the traditional octagon they have been using for years and eliminate elbow and knee strikes. They would also require the referee to stop the fight to insure that a downed fighter is ok to continue.

  • Meers311 says:

    Is it me or is this the most ridiculous thing you have ever heard of? The commission was not aware of UFC 83 being held last year? I’m at a loss at how things like this come about.

  • Eric says:

    I would rather see the event canceled than have to adopt the silly changes. No elbow or knee strikes? Stopping the fight after a knockdown? This isn’t boxing but it seems like thats what they want it to be.

  • I totally agree, I highly doubt the UFC would agree to such dramatic changes. I would love to see them come to the east coast (I’m in NY) but you know if this gets moved it’s going to Vegas.

  • MMASwami says:

    “Canadian officials will not allow the UFC to hold another event in Canada with the organization’s current policies in effect.”

    This is one of the dumbest and most ignorant statements I’ve seen written on this website. It is tantamount to saying that MMA can’t happen in NY state because the American government won’t let it happen. Quebec ? Canada. At least put a little effort into the basics of the story.

  • MMASwami says:

    Hmmm.. that last part should of read Quebec =/ Canada 😛

  • Meers311 says:

    Bryan, i totally agree with you. I live in NY as well and have been following the legalization process here, helped by the fact i work at a tv station that covers it somewhat, and I have to wonder if this will be brought up by the people against it that work in our government. They seem to cling to anything they can that’s anti-mma to begin with.

  • Brandomania says:

    How can a regulative body over Combat Sports for Canada be completely unaware of UFC 83? They had no clue the event, featuring their own native son GSP, took place! Rejean Theriault needs to resign immediately.

  • MMASwami says:

    “How can a regulative body over Combat Sports for Canada be completely unaware of UFC 83? They had no clue the event, featuring their own native son GSP, took place! Rejean Theriault needs to resign immediately.”

    First and foremost, Regis des Alcohols, des Courses et des Jeux is not a Canadian entity. They only oversee the province of Quebec.

    Secondly, Rejean Theriault just joined the organization when the previous director retired. He didn’t work for them when the UFC held their first event.

  • forthehateofthegame says:

    If anyone wants to email these jokers, send it to this guy.
    [email protected]
    Although it probably wouldn’t help the cause if you’re just going to spew the usual vitriol that we see on this site.

  • Angry Mike says:

    Move it to another province, and make a big deal about it in the press. Plenty of French Canadians will express their unhappiness with the bureaucrat(s).

  • Meers311 says:

    MMASwami, what are your thoughts on the actions of the commission? I was just wondering. Granted if the gentleman just joined the organization I understand he needs to catch up on things that have happened with the organization. But shouldn’t he also then put off any decisions like this until he gets a clear picture of what is going on?

  • kidneybeans says:

    If Quebec doesn’t want the huge money the UFC will generate I’m sure someone else will. It just seems pretty stupid for this guy to deny his province the revenue over what amounts to red tape. My guess is once the people of Quebec realize what they stand to lose they will put some pressure on this tool and he will give in.

  • roidsnvaletudo says:

    Hahaha This can’t be surprising to anyone. We are talking about Canada here. Looks like UFC is going to have play politics.

  • jj says:

    Flash back to the 90’s MMA witch-hunt. What a farce, MMA’s safety record speaks for itself. The few blemishes are due to poor refereeing, freak accidents, not the rules. Any sport is not without it’s risks.

  • ctownhood says:

    “According to the report, the commission was unaware of that event until a few days ago.”

    In a related event, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was just informed that Super Bowl 43 had been played in Tampa, and that the Pittsburgh Steelers won.

    So what do they commission exactly? If they were “unaware” of the largest MMA event ever in their country, they cannot be very relevant.

  • TerribleT says:

    Oh so now that GSP is not on the card they are going to enforce the “NO ELBOWS NO KICKS TO THE HEAD RULE” huh????? Fuck’em!!!!! It’s their loss!!!!!! The UFC has many other places just begging them to come!!!!!!! I just feel sorry for the Canadian fans that are going to miss out.They’re the ones that should be really pissed off. :-(

  • wardog says:

    Terrible T I thought the same thing! It seems that the Quebec government is not concerned with hosting an event that does not feature GSP. All the other excuses are a joke! The UFC should move the event to New Jersey (haha Brian knows my opinions) and watch it sell out in hours! I mean they sold out UFC 78 there and the main event was Bisping vs. Evans!

  • smoothtone says:

    Bring it to New Orleans! Sam text Dana and tell him 97’s card could still sell out this late in New Orleans on the same date. They already expressed interest in Louisiana for the summertime so this is a win-win siutation.

  • What’s up Wardog? I can not believe they would even try to salvage this card in Canada. Why would the UFC have to beg someplace to hold their event when they have so many cities dying to showcase the world’s greatest MMA organization. This is pathetic. Atlantic City, Foxwoods, Philly all hotbeds for mixed martial arts.

  • king mah mah says:

    Reminds me of the South Park movie. Blame Canadaaaaaaaa blame Canadaaaaaa!! Bwahahahahaaaaaa!!

  • Lord Faust says:

    As a Canadian, I’d almost prefer it if the UFC just said “fine, we’ll see you in court, since you basically strung us along while we paid for a venue and advertising”. Then moved the show and never came back.

    As much as I’d love to hop across the pond (I’m in Ottawa) to see this event, I would whole-heartedly support the UFC if they just took their ball and went home. As stupid as this may sound, the UFC is doing the province of Quebec a huge favour by running a show there — the influx of tourism and money into the local economy is a big deal, especially in current economic times.

    Considering that the athletic commission is a public body; meant to represent the interests of the people, and they won’t even pick up the phone when journalists seek answers, I see no point in dealing with them. Fine, you want to go back on 10 years worth of precedent; you want to piss away millions of dollars in revenue for the province, go ahead.

    If I was Dana White, I’d sue the pants off them, and send the Quebec Premier a nice presentation showing how much money the idiotic athletic commission just cost them over the next few years.

  • dilwann says:

    Give the fighters some ice skates and they can fight any way they want. Maybe if they made this a MMA/curling event everything would be ok ehh.


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