(William Phelps Eno would be rolling in his grave if he knew he could have trademarked the shape of the stop sign he invented.)
You would think that with all of the bad press they’ve had in the past few weeks from the ludicrous delay in granting David Loiseau‘s license for UFC 113 and the fallout from the Paul Daley sucker punch at one of their sanctioned events that the Régie des Alcools des Courses et des Jeux (RACJ) would want to stay under the radar for a while.
You’d be wrong.
TopMMANews is reporting that Big John McCarthy’s wife, Elaine has announced that her "Let’s Get It On MMA" organization won’t be getting anything on in the province of Quebec this year as planned as they have been forced to call off their Quebec leg of their round robin tournament, costing millions in lost revenue for the province and its business owners and forcing portions of the contest to be cancelled.
The reason: the promotion was attempting to stick a round cage in an octagonal hole.
Notorious for not bending on any of the rules, no matter if there is any wiggle room or if the wording is open for interpretation, the RACJ is hung up with the section of their rule that calls for any MMA event to be contested in a fenced-in Octagon-shaped cage. Since the Octagon is a Zuffa trademarked design, any organization wishing to use a similar cage needs the expressed written consent of the UFC parent company to do so on top of a licensing fee that must be paid to the organization. TKO used the required cage and made mention at every event that they did so under a license from Zuffa.
Seems like a bit of a cash grab to me, but if fingers are to be pointed, the RACJ needs to shoulder some of the blame for being so asinine and not realizing the conflict of interest in using a licensed cage.
Long story short, McCarthy contacted the UFC months ago to inquire about using an eight sided cage and has yet to hear back from the organization. In the meantime, officials from her promotion, including BJM have made several presentations to the Quebec commission to explain that the round cage they used last month in their opening event of their planned ten-show tournament in Alberta is actually safer and allows fighters to more easily avoid being trapped against the corners of the Octagon.
It’s no surprise that the governing body would not waver on their obtuse geometric cage rule, since they seem to march to the beat of their own drum when it comes to choosing the rules that need to be followed to a "T." If you recall last year, they nearly pulled the plug on UFC 97 (even though there were no issues the year before at UFC 83) because of some waffling over a few of the rules including elbows and foot stomps. At the eleventh hour, they agreed to allow the event to go on if the UFC outlawed foot stomps, of all things from the event.
The Loiseau licensing fiasco came as a result of a RACJ implemented blanket licensing ban on several fighters in the past month due to their supposed relationships with individuals with alleged criminal ties.
Popular hockey enforcer-turned MMA fighter Steve Bosse had his license yanked about a month ago for the same reason as Loiseau. Commission officials believed that some of his sponsors were affiliated with organized crime, making him guilty by association. Bosse was exonerated last week of having any knowledge or link to the shady individuals’ alleged unlawful business dealings and was granted his license, however he was never informed of the news by the RACJ. His mother read about it in the paper.
Fighters aren’t the only victims of the governing body’s kangaroo court.
Jonathan Goulet‘s trainer Eric O’Keefe was denied a cornerman’s license for his fighter’s UFC 113 bout with Marcus Davis due to a past criminal record and alleged biker ties one of the partners in his MMA gym supposedly has.
I understand the premise of wanting to keep mixed martial arts on the up-and-up and wanting to clean up the sport, especially since Quebec MMA has a somewhat shady past, but the RACJ seems to be taking things to the extreme at the detriment of promotions, fighters, fans and businesses, which should warrant some investigation by the branch of government that oversees the commission.