MMA promoter says boxing commission could be putting fighters at risk
Published Wednesday, August 28, 2013 6:57PM ADT
An amateur mixed martial arts promoter and his supporters say the commission that oversees fights in Moncton is not doing its job, but the commission is telling a different story.
Promoter Steven Williams, who protested outside Moncton City Hall on Wednesday, says the commission isn’t tough enough when it comes to the rules and it could be putting amateur fighters at risk.
“They are taking fighters and the medicals (aren’t) being done. They (aren’t) receiving all the medicals,” he claims. “These fighters are coming here trying to build up a sport and they could be getting really hurt in the future if this keeps on going.”
Williams says the boxing commission is in charge of making sure medical clearances are in place and he alleges some fighters are going into the cage without them.
The boxing commission denies Williams’ allegations.
“The fighter that we did miss an issue in the medical, these promoters that are protesting knew of this bylaw and knew of this fighter having had a problem with this medical and let it slide by,” says Gerry Thomas, chair of the Moncton Boxing and Wrestling Commission.
The mixed martial arts scene has taken off in the Moncton area but Williams says amateur fighters need a little help in order for it to continue.
“They pay their own gas, they don’t get paid for fighting, they pay their own hotel and then the commission charges them $70 for fees when they get here,” says Williams. “It is just wrong. These guys shouldn’t be paying anything. They are amateurs.”
But Thomas says the fees help defer costs for the shows and ensure safety.
“Some of these promoters are making…quite a bit of money,” he says.
Cage fighter TJ Dionne has been fighting for a year. He says he wants to feel confident his opponents have a clean bill of health before a fight.
“Very unsafe. I don’t feel like catching anything,” says Dionne. “It makes me feel very uncomfortable not knowing if someone has anything or not.”
Williams and his supporters hope Moncton City Hall will listen to their concerns and make changes to the commission. They plan to protest again this weekend.
With files from CTV Atlantic's David Bell