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 CorusSports.com, 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 CorusSports.com article, UFC V.P. of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner told MMAjunkie.com 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 Sportsnet.ca 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.