by Ken Pishna (Reporting by Steven Marrocco) – MMAWeekly.com
Fighting Championship’s May 29 event in Montreal has undergone a change of
scenery. Due to conflicts with the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux,
which is the body that governs alcohol, racing, gambling and combat sports in
the province of Quebec, the promotion has decided to move its Week 9 event to
the Monroe Civic Center in Monroe, La.
on Wednesday confirmed the change of venue with Bellator matchmaker Matt
Stansell, following up an initial report by href="mailto:http://mma.fanhouse.com/2009/05/13/say-goodbye-to-mma-in-montreal/%23cont">Ariel
Helwani of AOL Fanhouse.
"We were having issues with the circular
cage in Montreal," Stansell told MMAWeekly.com. "The commission was
having difficulty with it. We’re not willing to modify that."
A big part of changing the cage would be issues
regarding the promotion’s tournament style format. In order to maintain its
sporting integrity, Bellator wants all of the fights in its tournaments to take
place on the same "playing surface," so to say.
Another mitigating factor was difficulties in
securing a visa for fighter Hector Lombard, said Stansell. Lombard is
considered one of the favorites to win the promotion’s middleweight tournament
and the promotion would rather not have to replace him if a visa wasn’t secured
for a Montreal date.
In the end, the promotion felt that it had to
move the show away from Montreal.
"In order to keep the integrity of the
show, we decided to move it," Stansell stated.
The news of Bellator’s move follows a report by
MMA News that Canadian-based fight promotion XMMA had to cancel its event
planned for May 16 in Jonquiere, Quebec. XMMA’s
matchmaker, Joey Benoit, cited "technical difficulties in dealing with the
commission," as the promotion’s reason for cancellation.
UFC 97, which did eventually take place on
April 18 in Montreal, had also been in jeopardy when the commission, under new
leadership this year, discovered conflict amongst its own rules and the manner
under which promotions had been operating in Quebec for the past several years.