(Loiseau demonstrating what he would like to do to Quebec officials who won’t grant him a license to fight in the province)
Well, it seems that Quebec’s athletic commission, The Régie des Alcools, des Courses et des Jeux (Regulators of Alcohol, Racing and Gaming), is overstepping its boundaries at the cost of the livelihood of one of its province’s own fighters.
David “The Crow” Loiseau was brought in by the UFC to face John Salter on the undercard at UFC 113 May 8 as a late replacement for the injured Nick Catone. Having lost decisively to Ed Herman in front of a hometown crowd in Montreal in his last attempted UFC comeback at UFC 97 a year ago, Loiseau was relishing the opportunity to get back into the Octagon to try to earn a steady slot on the Las Vegas-based promotion’s roster.
Unfortunately for “The Crow,” his hopes of UFC redemption were dashed yesterday, when according to a report by Sportsnet’s Joe Ferarro, the governing body informed him that due to ties to organized crime that his formerly owned XMMA fight promotion were proven to have (months AFTER he sold off his minority stake), Loiseau had been flagged by the commission as a fighter under investigation by police. As such, the RACJ arbitrarily decided to ban the UFC’s former number one middleweight contender from competing in the province until a police investigation wraps up, leaving him in limbo until five days before the UFC’s Montreal show.
As such, the UFC had no choice but to replace the 30-year-old with another popular Canadian fighter, Jason “The Athlete” MacDonald. So Loiseau’s loss is MacDonald’s gain, but will anything be done to ensure that the RACJ’s unofficial policy of self-policing its fighters changes?
It’s a known fact that MMA events in Quebec, much like every other major sporting event held there including hockey, attract members of organized crime organizations like the mafia and biker groups. I haven’t attended an event in the province that didn’t have a large obvious contingent of such individuals, and have even talked to promoters who have been shaken down for protection money by them. It has very little to do with MMA, or the people involved with it, besides the fact that that said criminals are exploiting them and the exploding popularity of the sport as another means to make money. To make Loiseau, a martyr because of a problem the commission and police haven’t been able to control seems somewhat backwards.
No stranger to controversy, the RACJ nearly put the kibosh on UFC 97 last year when they decided that the size of the Octagon and some of the Unified Rules (that had both been used at the first event they sanctioned one year previous) did not fall within the ruleset they allowed. At the eleventh hour, the commission made consolations to allow the cage and rules to stand as they were, but curiously, they demanded that foot stomps not be used at the event.
And here we thought MMA judging was the biggest problem in the sport today.