The UFC’s next Canadian event is in serious jeopardy. According to multiple sources, the event, UFC 97, is being threatened by rules changes steaming from what’s been described as a “riot” at a show in Quebec.
Apperently, fans began throwing beer cans and bottles after a match, which was promoted to be a “strikebox” match, went to the ground. This has caused Canada’s Alcohol, Races & Game commission to reassess the rules governing MMA match-ups.
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, is reporting that the director of communications for the commission, M. Rejean Theriault, has stated that it would be difficult to accept the rules in time for the May 18 show. He believes that that the commission did not properly do do their job in allowing knees and elbows at the show last year (UFC 83).
According to sources the rules changes would include: using a much smaller cage than the UFC’s Octagon, prohibiting elbow and knee strikes and requiring that the referee stop a contest if a fighter gets knocked down.
Marc Ratner, the UFC’s vice president of government and regulatory affairs, has stated that he’s hopeful the UFC can work to reinstate the unified rules of MMA in time for UFC 97. Tickets went on sale yesterday and early indications are pointing toward a very quick sellout provided the event can be worked out.
Check back with us for the latest as this story continues to develop.