UFC 97 has been saved. UFC 97: REDEMPTION, headlined by a middleweight title fight between Anderson Silva (23-4) and Thales Leites (14-1), is set to take place at the Bell Center in Montreal, Canada on April 18. However, the Quebec Athletic Commission’s rules regarding mixed martial arts almost forced the UFC to move the event to Las Vegas even after thousands of tickets had been sold.
UFC officials met with the commission on Tuesday, February 17, to try and salvage the event. The original rules of Quebec’s Athletic Commission would make certain techniques that are commonplace in UFC matches illegal. There was no way the world’s premiere mixed martial arts promotion could make such drastic changes as not allowing elbow or knee strikes, which incidentally are two of the main weapons used by the middleweight champion who would be appearing in the main event.
The only change to the UFC rules that has been reported at this point is the fighters will not be able to stomp on an opponent’s feet. It is such a minute rule it seems the UFC was willing to let that one slide to save the event.
This announcement ensures that Montreal will receive approximately twelve million dollars in economic benefit when the UFC rolls into town.That is a lot of money that local business owners would have lost had the UFC and Quebec Athletic Commission not had successful negotiations.
Besides the title fight, UFC 97 will also feature the UFC return of David “The Crow” Loiseau (18-8). The Montreal native will be taking on Ed “Short Fuse” Herman (14-7) in a middleweight showdown that is sure to be exciting. ‘The Crow’s’ last Octagon appearance was September 2006 at UFC 63 when he gave up a unanimous decision to Mike Swick.
Props – CorusSports