While the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s Canadian debut last year was the most highly attended event in the promotion’s history, it appears that the UFC’s return trip to Montreal may not be as welcome.
The promotion on Wednesday launched ticket sales for its April 18 event at the Bell Centre in Montreal. UFC 97 is scheduled to feature a middleweight championship bout between Anderson Silva and Thales Leites.
Evidently, due to recent events that fall under the Quebec Athletic Commission’s jurisdiction – specifically former TKO promoter Stephane Patry’s new Strikebox event – the commission is considering revising its enforcement of the rules that have governed mixed martial arts for years in Quebec, according to a report from Sportsnet.ca.
Sources apparently informed Sportsnet.ca that the QAC is considering changes such as disallowing elbow and knee strikes, requiring the use of a smaller cage than the UFC Octagon, and possibly forcing the referee to stop the bout if a fighter is knocked down from standing due to a strike in order to check and see if the fighter is able to continue.
Representatives of the QAC told Sportsnet.ca the UFC would have to follow the commissions rules in order to operate an even in Montreal.
The UFC has always been adamant that it acts under the governance of the sanctioning body in place in the territory that its events are held. Such rules changes would have a rather drastic effect on the in-ring action, the likes of which the promotion hasn’t had to face in many years. Although no comment is yet forthcoming from the UFC on what it would do if such changes were implemented, it wouldn’t seem to follow the promotion’s track record to accept changes of such magnitude.
The Sportsnet.ca report went on to say that “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.”