UFC, Quebec Commission Agree to UFC 97 Rules

By Loretta Hunt Feb 18, 2009
Montreal will get its “Redemption.”

UFC 97 will take place as scheduled at the Bell Centre in Montreal on April 18, after the promoters met with Québécois officials on Tuesday and hashed out acceptable rules for the event.

Regie des Alcools, des courses et des jeux (RACJ), the government agency that oversees combat sports in Quebec, posted a press release on Wednesday stating that the UFC would receive a license to hold the event, but gave no details regarding any revised rules, if any.

“During our meeting, the Regie received assurances by the promoter that the security of the participants will be assured and that the regulation on the fight sports will be respected at the time of the event,” read the RACJ release.

Quebec Boxing Commission representative Daniele Gagnon told Sherdog.com that no further comment would be issued by the commission or the RACJ on Wednesday.

Rejean Theriault, communications director for the RACJ, announced last week that the provincial agency would uphold previously unrecognized regulations for the sport which prohibited elbow and knee strikes, and asked referees to intervene each time a fighter was knocked down. The rules were drafted for “mixed boxing” in the early 1990s, and severely handicap what fans recognize today as mixed martial arts.

MMA events have been hosted in the province for nearly ten years under rules comparable to the unified rules of combat, but a recent change in leadership at the commission led to a re-evaluation of the system. Theriault said the RACJ was unaware that the commission’s previous head, Mario LaTraverse, has allowed promoters to deviate from the Quebec regulations in place.

Officials were hard-pressed to make the decision after a Titans Fighting (formerly Strikebox) event on Feb. 6 in Montreal ended in near-riot regarding confusion over the rules.

Richard Renault, who replaced LaTraverse, was among those who called for a more stringent application of the regulations on the books.

UFC 97, which pits middleweight champion Anderson Silva against jiu-jitsu ace Thales Leites, sold nearly 13,000 tickets in the first few minutes, said UFC officials last week. The promotion’s previous trip to Montreal for UFC 83 last April sold 20,011 tickets, a record for the promotion and the sport in North America.

Lotfi Sariahmed contributed to this report.
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