Talks in Montreal save UFC 97

September 13, 2009, 7:49 AM

The UFC’s upcoming event in Montreal will go ahead as planned after promoters and provincial officials came to an agreement regarding rules during a meeting Tuesday night.

According to sources, the event will be sanctioned using the UFC’s Octagon size and the commission will permit the use of elbow and knee strikes. Meanwhile, the UFC has agreed to ban foot stomps to a fighter.

The commission said in a statement Wednesday obtained by The Canadian Press: “During this meeting, the board was assured by the promoter that the safety of the participants would be assured and that rules governing combat sports will be respected. As a result, the board has granted the license for mixing boxing requested by the UFC, which will allow them to hold the UFC97 show on April 18.”

Promoters for the UFC, including owner Lorenzo Fertitta and vice president of regulatory affairs Marc Ratner, met with members of the Quebec Boxing Commission and provincial government officials Tuesday night in Montreal to iron out a plan to hold the event, despite discrepancies between the rules the province wanted to enforce and those followed by the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The differences included a smaller Octagon size and not allowing strikes with bent elbows or bent knees. The commission had said before if the UFC did not want to follow its rules, it could “take its business” elsewhere. The UFC had already put such a Plan B into place, having booked the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for that date.

Earlier reports suggested UFC president Dana White would be in attendance but sources say he was not. On the other side of the table was the boxing commission’s director Richard Renault and Denis Racicot, president of the provincial government board which oversees the commission (La Regie des alcools, des courses et des jeux). After the meeing, Ratner and Fertitta left for England, where the UFC is holding an event this Saturday.

UFC 97: Redemption will be the second event to be held in Canada. The first was also held at the Bell Centre, on April 19, 2008; it set a UFC record for attendance and was the fastest sellout in the organization’s history. This year’s event sold out within the first three days of going on on sale last Wednesday.

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