London to Play Host to First Non-UFC Show in Ontario

John Labatt Centre. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Let the flood gates open.

Today, Jones Entertainment Group graced the John Labatt Centre to announce they’ve secured licenses to host three separate mixed martial arts events in Ontario.

The first, which will be titled ‘MMA Live 1’, will take place at the John Labatt Centre in London on May 19, 2011. Other dates confirmed were Saturday, July 2 at the Sudbury Arena in Sudbury and Thursday, October 20 at a venue to be determined.

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Quick Hits: WEC 47 Gate, Karalexis-Pettis & More

Alex Karalexis. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.

- According to the Ohio Athletic Commission, WEC 47: Bowles vs. Cruz drew a live attendance of 8,700 and a gate of $401,000. The commission also announced that Brian Bowles, Dominick Cruz, Joseph Benavidez, Javier Vazquez, L.C. Davis, and Bart Palaszewski all passed their post-fight drug tests. [MMAWeekly.com]

- UFC veteran Alex Karalexis will battle Anthony Pettis in a lightweight affair at WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber. Karalexis and Pettis were originally slated to fight at WEC 43 but the fight was scrapped due to an injury. WEC 48 will mark the promotions first foray on pay-per-view as they showcase a world class card that includes Jose Aldo vs. Urijah Faber, Benson Henderson vs. Donald Cerrone, and Mike Brown vs. Manvel Gamburyan. [Sherdog.com]

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WEC 47 Fighter Salaries and Bonuses

Joseph Benavidez submitting Miguel Torres at WEC 47. Photo property of WEC.tv.

The Ohio Athletic Commission has released the official list of fighter salaries for WEC 47: Bowles vs. Cruz which took place on Saturday, March 7 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

Following the event, WEC officials handed out $10,000 bonuses for Knockout of the Night, Submission of the Night and Fight of the Night. The recipients of the awards were as follows:

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The Battle for MMA in Ontario Wages On

Sportsnet’s “Showdown” Joe Ferraro sits down with Noble Chummar, UFC’s legal counsel in Ontario, to look at the political fight taking place to bring mixed martial arts to Ontario.

Chummar belongs to a committee that is currently working to get the sport regulated in Ontario. According to Chummar, “The name of the game is patience. We can’t rush this because it’s too big and UFC completely supports the slow learning process, the slow education process of bringing people on side and we’re working at that pace to make it happen.”

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UFC 82 Salaries and Medical Suspensions

Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson weigh-in for UFC 82: Pride of a Champion. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The Ohio Athletic Commission has released the official lists of fighter salaries and medical suspensions stemming from this past weekend’s UFC 82: Pride of a Champion. The salaries are listed first, the medical suspensions second.

UFC 82 featured a main event, middleweight title unification bout between current UFC title holder Anderson Silva and PRIDE champion Dan Henderson. Silva submitted Henderson with a rear naked choke in the second round. Heath Herring also defeated Cheick Kongo via unanimous decision.

Anderson Silva ($140,000) vs. Dan Henderson ($100,000)
Heath Herring ($140,000) vs. Cheick Kongo ($30,000)
Yushin Okami ($28,000) vs. Evan Tanner ($25,000)
Chris Leben ($50,000) vs. Alessio Sakara ($17,000)
Jon Fitch ($60,000) vs. Chris Wilson ($12,000)
Andrei Arlovski ($170,000) vs. Jake O’Brien ($11,000)
Josh Koscheck ($20,000) vs. Dustin Hazelett ($12,000)
Diego Sanchez ($60,000) vs. David Bielkheden ($8,000)
Jorge Gurgel ($14,000) vs. John Halverson ($3,000)
Luigi Fioravanti ($16,000) vs. Luke Cummo ($16,000)

Remember that this is only the base salary that a fighter received. Bonuses, deductions, and other undisclosed fees are not included.

These are also the correct numbers from the commission. An incorrect report was issued earlier today to the media but has since been fixed.

Only four fighters received medical suspensions from the commission. All were suspended due to precautionary reasons stemming from a stoppage via KO or TKO.

Evan Tanner: Medically suspended 60 days
Jake O’Brien: Medically suspended 30 days
Alessio Sakara: Medically suspended 30 days
Dustin Hazelett: Medically suspended 30 days

Two fighters not mentioned in the report included Yushin Okami and Josh Koscheck who both suffered hand injuries in their respective bouts.

More on Rumble on the Rez

Marco Antico recently caught up with Jack Bateman who helped run the “Rumble on the Rez” show which took place this past weekend on a local Ontario Indian Reservation. Bateman and Antico discussed fighter safety, sanctioning MMA in Ontario and more.

“Our intention is to run a premier MMA event. Our next show is tentatively planned for Feb. 2 and we’re also considering expanding to Calgary, Edmonton and Quebec. Our financier is also very interested in holding shows overseas in Asia. With the money we have backing us, I don’t think it would take us long to become the country’s biggest promotion,” Bateman elaborated. “This show cost us about $100,000 and we pretty much broke even on it. Having already covered our overhead costs, including lawyer fees, we anticipate that the next show will start making us money, for sure.”

Rumble on the Rez marks the second mixed martial arts event to take place on an Ontario Indian Reservation. The first occured in December 2006 and was titled ‘The Fighting Spirit Challenge’. The show took place on the Oneida First Nation Indian Reserve just outside of London, Ontario and featured 15 MMA fights. Both shows have garnered a respectable amount of attention from both fans and media.

“My primary concern is fighter safety. We did everything we could to help ensure that, including blood work (Hep.A, Hep.B and HIV) and an electrocardiogram (EKG). It’s impossible to get brain scans done quickly here in Ontario, but we’re working on getting this in place for future events,” explained Bateman.

“We had a ringside doctor, who was amazing, and we even had a guy disqualified for not passing his medicals. The referee for all the fights was International Fight League fighter, Wojtek Kaszowski, who did an incredible job. We didn’t allow any booze at the event either.”

“There’s only so much we can do right now in Ontario by holding shows on native reserves and that’s why we’re doing everything we can to legalize the sport here. We hope to follow what Quebec did by first holding shows on reserves, thus putting pressure on the government to open it up professionally. We have lawyers on retainers who all concur that what we’re doing is perfectly legal under section 83 of Canada’s Criminal Code and we’re willing to fight it out in the courts if necessary.”

Ken Hayashi Discusses MMA in Ontario

OAC commissioner Ken Hayashi recently spoke with MMAWeekly about sanctioning MMA in Ontario along with the increasing number of MMA events taking place on Ontario Indian Reservations.

“Those guys are taking a big chance with putting on these shows. If someone gets seriously hurt there will be serious liability issues for those connected with the event and it will set the sport back several years in Ontario. Especially if it’s found that they’ve not done the due diligence that other professional athletic commissions are doing,” he explained, as he referred mainly to medical testing such as CAT scans, EEGs, and full blood work (Hep B, Hep C and HIV), which most other provincial commissions require.

“I highly doubt whether these guys are even making much money from these shows. The whole thing kind of makes me scratch my head,” continued Hayashi.

Last year a MMA event was held on the Oneida First Nation Indian Reserve just outside of London, Ontario. The Ontario Provincial Police has mixed feelings on the event as it fell under a grey spot in the Canadian judicial system. At the time OPP Constable Doug Graham said “We will conduct an investigation and determine whether this event fits the definition of a prize fight and whether it would be in the public’s interest to prosecute. It’s a strange situation; we’ve never been faced with something like this.”

“Our lawyers have concluded that these events are clearly illegal under section 83 of Canada’s Criminal Code, which does apply to these native reserves since it’s a federal law. But it’s not up to my office to lay charges. I have informed the local police to investigate the matter and it’s up to them to decide what to do. In Quebec a while back, they charged fighters as they stepped off the reserve, so that’s another option they have.”

Section 83 of Canada’s Criminal Code says:

Engaging in prize fight

83. (1) Every one who

(a) engages as a principal in a prize fight,

(b) advises, encourages or promotes a prize fight, or

(c) is present at a prize fight as an aid, second, surgeon, umpire, backer or reporter,

is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Definition of “prize fight”
(2) In this section, “prize fight” means an encounter or fight with fists or hands between two persons who have met for that purpose by previous arrangement made by or for them, but a boxing contest between amateur sportsmen, where the contestants wear boxing gloves of not less than one hundred and forty grams each in mass, or any boxing contest held with the permission or under the authority of an athletic board or commission or similar body established by or under the authority of the legislature of a province for the control of sport within the province, shall be deemed not to be a prize fight.

In order for MMA to eventually be sanctioned in Ontario, Hayashi and The Ministry want to see amateur MMA first.

“There’s no way. The Ministry’s position is that we’ll first need to see an Amateur safety record established and Section 83 would also have to be reworded. Only then may the province choose to regulate MMA.”