The city council of Edmonton in Canada recently enacted a ban on licenses for events classified as “combative sports”, effective until Dec. 31, 2018. One of the victims of the ban is WWE, who has now canceled a scheduled live event in Edmonton that was set to take place on Feb. 9 in the Rogers Place venue.
Following new guidelines established by Edmonton’s city council, WWE’s event on Friday, February 9 at Rogers Place has been postponed. The WWE is working closely with the local Commission, and hope to return with their sports entertainment events to Edmonton in the near future.
The ban in Edmonton comes after mixed martial artist Tim Hague died in June due to injuries suffered in a boxing match in the city. Hague was knocked out in the fight, and he was rushed to the hospital and placed in the intensive care unit not long after due to a major brain injury. Hague passed away two days after the injury.
Edmonton mayor Don Iveson, via CBC, said that the city would look at allowing the licenses again if the Alberta provincial government invested more into regulating the industry.
“If we had a province-wide commission, which we have been calling for for years, then there would be one database of information about fighter history and fighter health,” said Iveson in an interview.
The information on fighter health is key in this case, as Hague had suffered a technical knockout loss in an MMA fight just two months before his final fight under the Edmonton Combative Sports Commission. The Edmonton commission was unaware of the injuries that Hague had suffered in that fight, as it occurred under another jurisdiction and the information was not shared with them before approving Hague’s boxing bout.
This is all important to WWE, as the company is still required to be licensed as a sport in several jurisdictions. This notably became an issue earlier this year when Brock Lesnar was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission due to his drug test failures ahead of his UFC 200 fight with Mark Hunt. WWE could have had issues using Lesnar on shows were WWE was still required to be licensed. Lesnar’s suspension has since expired.
Rogers Place mentioned that WWE is working with Edmonton in hopes of returning to the city at some point. The show was expected to be WWE’s debut in the Rogers Place venue.