UFC 97 Troubles
Total Pro Sports – Until two weeks ago Titan Fighting was the exclusive past time of Vegas strippers who were unappreciative of Pacman Jones’ efforts to ‘make it rain’, but Stephane Patry’s inaugural Titan Fighting show has caused chaos as the main event between Pride alumni James Thompson and Canadian hockey’s Steve Bosse ended in a no contest and a subsequent near riot as fans threw trash, bottles and even a chair into the cage.
Controversy sparked when fight promoter Stephane Patry initially received permission from the Quebec Athletic Commission to run the event under ‘Strikeboxing’ rules – effectively stand-up only MMA. However, days before the show the Commission pulled a 180 and requested the referees officiate under the unified rules of mixed martial arts and not the new Strikeboxing code. In a move which was just asking for trouble, Patry decided to arrange a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ amongst the fighters designed to keep bouts standing up; an agreement James Thompson evidently forgot as he chose to take Bosse down and begin to ground and pound, prompting fans to start throwing anything not nailed down at him in disgust. In a rash move, the QAC has announced a return to its own codified set of laws for all future events in the region, instead of the widely accepted unified rules under which Quebec MMA promotions have worked for the last decade.
Said written rules were an oppressive set of laws designed in 1999 to outlaw the ‘human cockfighting’ of mid-90s UFC, which include the prohibiting of knee and elbow strikes, a smaller cage and require the referee to check on a fighter after each knockdown. Obviously the UFC would struggle to produce UFC 97 under such a system, a card boasting Chuck Liddell/Shogun Rua in the rumble to stay relevant and Thales Leites against the best use of knees in MMA today Anderson Silva.
UFC management has time before the April 18th show to work out an agreement that would satisfy both the QAC and the 21,000 ticket holding fans of the Montreal Bell Centre who make relocation difficult. I think a temporary solution will likely be found involving the QAC giving the UFC one-night permission to run under standard MMA regulations, but the horrible miscommunication and the Athletic Commission’s utter failure to modify their archaic rulebook to include the unified rules is indicative of the UFC’s continued battle against the bureaucratic disapproval which sees MMA still banned in states like New York and has congress itching for a reason to clamp down.