The UFC’s next event in Montreal is in jeopardy of not taking place.
Due to circumstances surrounding the fallout from an event held last week in Montreal, the Quebec Athletic Commission (under the Régie des Alcools, des Courses et des Jeux) is re-evaluating rules that govern the sport of mixed martial arts within the province, according to Sportsnet sources.
To date, the QAC has been following the Unified Rules of MMA in North America. But since laws differ by city, state or province, a commission can insist on its own rules, which could differ drastically.
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.
In pure forms of MMA, this does not occur as the action continues onto the ground while the referee determines during the action — which could include further strikes — whether or not a fighter is intelligently defending himself.
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.