(Put that down, thumbs up are for winners.)
Meltzer has the story in today’s update:
There is a lot of trouble regarding UFC 97 in Montreal scheduled for 4/18….However, due to the riot at a show in Quebec promoted by Stephane Patry where fans threw beer cans and bottles…the Alcohol, Races & Game commission is saying that UFC can come as long as they ban elbow or knee strikes. I spoke with Marc Ratner of UFC who confirmed that this issue is going on and that they are trying to work with the commission to get the unified MMA rules back in place. It’s a major sports story today in Montreal and at least on the air, they are reporting it as this may result in the show being canceled. The director of communications for the commission, M. Rejean Theriault said it would be difficult to accept the rules in time for the 4/18 show, and said that the commission did not properly due do their job in allowing knees and elbows at the show last year.
I didn’t think it was possible to be more disgusted with Stephane Patry. Today, I stand corrected. First off, he’s shady as all can be. The stuff with David Loiseau’s contract after the Franklin fight was just horrible. Then he went all Shawn Michaels / Marty Jannetty on his former partner Mark Pavelich. Those are far from the worst things he’s done though: back in 2003 he had an entire rival’s card shut down because they had a show scheduled close to one of his, costing all the innocent fighters their checks.
This new development could possibly upstage all of that though. Last week he tried to weasel around an athletic commission by having all of his fighters make a gentleman’s agreement not to fight on the ground. James Thompson didn’t care and the fans rioted when he got a takedown. It not only meant the organization he resigned from TKO to create is now out of business (after Strikeforce sued him and the commission threw his rules in the trash), but he may have completely ruined things for the UFC in Quebec.
In the aftermath of that disastrous event, the QAC is re-evaluating rules that govern the sport of mixed martial arts within the province and are considering changes that include a smaller cage, banning elbow and knee strikes and requiring a referee to stop a bout when a fighter gets knocked down to make sure they are okay to continue.
Zuffa cant run a show with altered rules. Changing up the establishment is far from what Dana and his uniformity is all about. And it makes sense; it would ruin the sanctity of consistency. The NFL wouldn’t run a show in England if they weren’t allowed to kick the ball for some reason. The Quebec commission has put their foot down after the shenanigans Patry tried and now will scrutinize everything about everyone. Marc Ratner now has a tiny, almost Wee Man sized window to convince the commission to accept the rules. Even if he somehow can, they may not be accepted in time for the April show. The best case scenario then would be Dana pulling a UFC 12 by booking a backup arena, something I bet he’s doing right this second.
It would be one thing if the fighters and the UFC were the only ones to deal with this, but Dave also points this out:
Tickets went on sale today to fight club members and as of a few hours ago, they had sold 13,000 tickets for $3 million. They don’t even go on sale to the public until Saturday and they may sellout before they even officially go on sale to the public.
Patry will make about 23,000 be ready to carry torches to his office. It’d be a massive headache for Ticketmaster and the UFC to refund everyone, not to mention the fact that Montreal stands to lose some money based on the event. Good job, Patry; you just pulled another Montreal Screwjob using your retarded rules and your stupid dead promotion.
*Update*: When I wrote “partner” I wasn’t implying Mark and Stephane filed their W2s together or anything, more in the sense like when Hulk Hogan calls people “brother”.