The Weekly Wrap: Feb. 14 - Feb. 20

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By Jack Encarnacao Feb 21, 2009
The Weekly Wrap walks readers through the last seven days in MMA, recapping and putting into context the week's top story, important news and notable quotes.

Top Story

The Ultimate Fighting Championship salvaged its sophomore voyage into Montreal this week, as athletic commission officials in Quebec announced that UFC 97 on April 18 is still on as scheduled.

The show was in jeopardy after the Quebec Boxing Commission, which is under new leadership, reviewed its rules and determined there were no legal provisions that allowed fights with elbows, knees and several other staples of MMA combat.

According to Canadian media outlets, UFC representatives Lorenzo Fertitta, Marc Ratner, Kirk Hendrick and Lawrence Epstein flew to Montreal to meet with the officials on Tuesday, and an announcement was made Wednesday that the company would receive a license to stage UFC 97.

The Quebec Boxing Commission would not comment to on what rule adjustments, if any, were made between the two parties, but the regulations have been rumored to be the unified rules the UFC has followed since 2001.

The UFC was reportedly primed to move UFC 97 to the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas if they couldn’t get rules in place they were comfortable with.

UFC 97 takes place at the Bell Centre and is headlined by Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites and Chuck Liddell vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. The show has reportedly already sold out; it takes place in the same venue that hosted the UFC’s record paid attendance of 20,111 for UFC 83 last April.

Canada, home to several of the top markets for UFC pay-per-view buys, remains rough terrain in terms of acceptance of mixed martial arts. Ontario has proved difficult to clear, and the boxing commission in Winnipeg is under fire over a Feb. 6 fight in which 18-year-old Dean Lewis suffered career-ending injuries in a fight. A commission doctor allowed Lewis to come out for round three despite heavy bloodshed, and Lewis’ lungs filled with blood and he suffered a seizure. Some city officials are calling for the sport to be banned, and the Winnipeg Convention Center, where the card took place, is considering banning the sport, according to the Winnipeg Free Press.
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