The Prestige Fight Club found themselves entangled in Canada’s criminal justice system after hosting an unsanctioned MMA event last year in Saskatchewan.
Following the event Criminal Charges were laid against two individuals involved for hosting an illegal prizefight contrary to section 83 of Canada’s Criminal Code. In response the individuals charged sued the Government of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Martial Arts Association, alleging that the SMAA was abusing its powers of oversight of amateur MMA in the Province.
In a press release issued today by Prestige, both the criminal and civil cases have reached a compromised end. The Criminal charges ended by way of a conditional discharge (meaning a finding of guilt is made but no conviction is registered so long as the judicially imposed conditions are met.) The conditions are reportedly to keep the peace for 90 days and further a charitable donation in lieu of a fine for several thousand dollars. The Civil suit has apparently been dropped as well as part of the plea bargain reached with the Government.
It is also rumoured that the Province will strip the SMAA of their ability to oversee amateur MMA in the Saskatchewan.
The full press release reads as follows:
Prestige Fight Club MMA is happy to announce that they have reached a deal with the Saskatchewan Government in regards to charges laid in conjunction with Prestige’s September 28th, 2013 event. Charges stemmed from a new law created with the passing of Bill 209. Prestige Fight Club and the Saskatchewan Government have agreed that a conditional discharge would be in the best interest of all parties involved, thus best thing for the advancement of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in the Province.
Presiding Judge Kovatch , states he felt at no time did Prestige intentionally or maliciously try to break the law.
“We feel this is a huge victory for Prestige and for MMA” says Cord Crowthers who, along with Derek Daku, is a founding partner in Prestige Fight Club MMA. Crowthers states, “We have always felt that, if outside observers were given a chance to examine the facts, common sense would prevail and it would be obvious that no malicious intent was meant and no laws were premeditatedly broken.”
The discharge opens up the door for all promotors to move forward on a level playing field, and sets the stage for Prestige to apply for their license to host Saskatchewan’s first all Professional MMA event.
“We want to bring the best possible talent to the fans of Saskatchewan” says Daku. “That means from fighters from Saskatchewan, other parts of Canada and from around the World.” Crowthers goes on to say, “The Prestige Brand will be one of the biggest stages in Canadian MMA, and is looking to give the fans more than they could ever expected from an MMA event here at home!”
The second part of the deal is to start fresh and Crowthers & Daku have taken the initiative in doing just that by agreeing to stay their law suit against the Saskatchewan Government and the Saskatchewan Mixed Martial Arts Association(SMAA). With the same intent the Saskatchewan Government has ask for Prestige’s input in regards to helping with policy , while forming the new Pro Commission regulations and structure. Crowthers stated that their lawsuit was set in motion because “…we had no other option and our backs were up against the wall with the way events unfolded. This discharge, from all charges, allows Prestige to focus on what’s important and we have full expectations the Government wants the same. The goal now is to bring the best possible product to a very savvy market here in our Province.”
If the rumours are true, in regards to time frames, Prestige Fight Club MMA is looking to host their first professional show by the fall. Crowthers and Daku plan to keep the City of Weyburn as the home of Prestige and to host the Inaugural Professional event at Crecent Point Place.
“The city has been behind us from day one and we plan to show them our gratitude in a big way,” states Crowthers.
Prestige Fight Club MMA has hinted that they will be looking at new markets in Saskatchewan in the near future, but when pressed on whether or not they will look outside the Province, Daku says, “only time will tell.”