After Thursday’s announcement by Quebec’s governing body that UFC 97 would not be sanctioned under standard North American MMA rules, which would eliminate the use of elbows and knees, the UFC’s head honchos are headed north to sit down with Quebec’s commission and try to smooth things over. President Dana White will be attending meetings all next week to ensure that UFC fans will be treated to the same standard which they are accustomed to.
Réjean Thériault, the communications director for the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux, which governs combat sports in Quebec, stated they have always followed unified MMA rules or North America (standard UFC rules), however those were not the rules that should have been in place, they were just assumed.
“We had a tolerance for the application of the rules in the past,” Thériault stated. “We learned today that we had a place for tolerance and we didn’t know. Now we know the rules under which to live. We informed all the promoters last week that they must now respect the rules of Quebec.”
Quebec currently regulates boxing, kickboxing and “mixed boxing,” which is a combination of boxing, kickboxing, wrestling and jiu jitsu.
They are requesting for the UFC to make elbow and knee strikes illegal, using a smaller version of the Octagon, and forcing brief referee stoppages after a fighter is knocked down from a strike in order to check if they are able to continue.
The Belle Centre previously hosted UFC 83, an event attended by more than 21,000 spectators, and garnered $5.1 million in ticket sales.
There were no issues at that event in 2008, however a recent martial arts promotion in the province caused quite a ruckus.
Stephane Patry’s “Strikebox” event on was held on February 6th and focused on standup battles. Referees were allowed to stand fighters back up immediately whenever one would go to the ground.
These rules do not coincide with standard MMA guidelines, so Quebec’s governing body required that the card was conducted under standard MMA rules otherwise they wouldn’t sanction the event.
Strikebox agreed and the event went on, however not smoothly. Reportedly, all of the fighters met and came to a “gentleman’s agreement” that all of the fights were to remain standing, even though it was an “MMA sanctioned event.”
When main-event fighter James Thompson did not adhere to the alleged “agreement,” fans began launching beer cans and other objects at the fighters.