UFC brass will continue their negotiation efforts with officials in Quebec today in hopes of squaring away the issues surrounding UFC 97. Tickets for the Bell Centre event went on sale last Wednesday, and sold out in a mere five hours. The following day, Quebec’s newly appointed commission stated that all MMA organizations promoting in Canada would be required to abide by their “new” regulations in order to get sanctioned.
Réjean Thériault, the communications director for the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux, which governs combat sports in Quebec, stated that although Canada has always followed unified MMA rules or North America (standard UFC rules), those are not the rules that should have been in place. Simply put, Canada’s rules were just improperly applied all of these years.
“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.”
Canada does not have unified rules specifically for MMA, so their governing body stated that it falls under “mixed boxing,” which is a combination of boxing, kickboxing, wrestling and jiu jitsu. These rules eliminate the use of elbows, knees and judo throws. They would also require for the UFC to use a smaller sized Octagon, a difference of four feet in diameter.
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 because the old Canadian regime was continuing to apply the wrong rules. With Quebec’s new management in place, they are making sure that they enforce their regulations properly.