UFC 97 (April 18th, Montreal) was supposed to be a triumphant return to the city that gave the UFC its fastest-selling, most well-attended event in history. But even though last year’s UFC 83: Serra vs. St. Pierre 2 was such an overwhelming success, the Quebec Athletic Commission may block the UFC from holding future events there under traditional MMA rules. As Sportnet.ca reports:
Due to circumstances surrounding the fallout from an event held last week in Montreal
, the Quebec Athletic Commission (under the Régie des Alcools, des Courses et des Jeux) is re-evaluating rules that govern the sport of mixed martial arts within the province, according to Sportsnet sources.
To date, the QAC has been following the Unified Rules of MMA in North America. But since laws differ by city, state or province, a commission can insist on its own rules, which could differ drastically.
Changes the commission may implement could affect UFC 97, the Las Vegas-based promotion’s second event in Canada…Sources say these could include a requirement for a much smaller cage than the UFC’s patented Octagon, prohibiting elbow and knee strikes and requiring that the referee halt a bout should a fighter get knocked down from a strike in order to ensure the downed fighter is okay to continue.
Representatives from the commission told Sportsnet.ca the UFC will have to follow the rules set forth by the commission if they wish to hold their show in Montreal. Marc Ratner, the UFC’s vice president of government and regulatory affairs, is fully aware of the new situation and is hopeful that ongoing discussions with the commission will prove that this will not jeopardize the UFC’s return to the province.
Obviously, there’s no way the UFC would agree to such a compromised version of their product, and they’re probably looking for a backup arena somewhere else just to be safe. (Which is a bummer if you’re a Canadian UFC fan, considering 13,000 tickets to the event have already been sold.) But here’s where things go from upsetting to just plain bizarre…