UFC 97 in Montreal in Jeopardy?

Image courtesy of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Crazy story out of Montreal. Apparently, the athletic commission that has overseen MMA in Quebec has decided to strictly enforce a rule they have had on the books for years that disallows elbow and knee strikes in an MMA fight. The French-Canadian sports website RDS has the full story in French, but the gist of it is that Rule #12 which does not allow elbow and knee strikes will now be strictly enforced. Stay tuned for this breaking news story which could affect whether or not UFC 97 takes place in Montreal..

Update 2/13 3:30 AM: According to James Brydon of Sportsnet.ca, the Quebec Athletic Commission has decided to re-visit the rules that currently oversee MMA in the province. In the past, the commission has opted to use the Unified Rules of MMA in North America, but the events surrounding last weekend’s riot at Stephane Patry’s inaugural Strikebox event has forced officials to potentially go back to the drawing board:

Changes the commission may implement could affect UFC 97, the Las Vegas-based promotion’s second event in Canada, which is scheduled for April 18 at the Bell Centre in Montreal and for which tickets went on sale Wednesday.

Sources close to the say these could include a requirement for a much smaller cage than the UFC’s patented Octagon, prohibiting elbow and knee strikes and requiring that the referee halt a bout should a fighter get knocked down from a strike in order to ensure the downed fighter is okay to continue.

Representatives from the commission told Sportsnet.ca the UFC will have to follow the rules set forth by the commission if they wish to hold their show in Montreal. 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.


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