Update February 27, 2018 – Today it is reported that the City has lifted its moratorium.
Today Edmonton announced that the City has issued a moratorium on professional combat sports events starting December 9, 2017 which will stay in force until “December 31, 2018, or until Council provides further direction.”
Earlier this year boxer and former UFC fighter Tim Hague died while competing in a bout overseen by the Edmonton Combative Sports Commission. The Commission has come under criticism as they had a concussion safety policy on the books they failed to apply to Hague. An independent report into the City’s practices is due to be released in the coming days. Today’s announcement comes in anticipation of the results of the investigation with the City saying they will not regulate combative sports until the recommendations of the review can be implemented or until a Provincial Commission, the standard in the US and Canada, takes over.
The full press release reads as follows:
Today, City Council passed a bylaw that will temporarily halt issuing new licences or event permits for combative sports in the City of Edmonton.
The bylaw comes into effect Dec. 9, 2017, and remains in effect until December 31, 2018, or until Council provides further direction.
This bylaw was added to Council’s agenda following a verbal, in camera update to City Council on the status of an independent, third-party review into the death of professional boxer Tim Hague, who died after a sanctioned boxing match in Edmonton on June 16, 2017.
The moratorium bylaw was given three readings after Council passed the following motion:
“That Administration and the Edmonton Combative Sports Commission ensure the final independent report into the events surrounding the June 16, 2017 boxing match be provided to the Hague Family and City Council and released to the public no later than December 14, 2017, and that prior to release that the City review in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.”
Rob Smyth, Deputy City Manager of Citizen Services at the City of Edmonton, said: “We anticipate the release of the report into the tragic death of Mr. Hague and a continued conversation about the proper role of the municipality in the field of combative sports.”
The Edmonton Combative Sports Commission issued the following statement: “We respect the prerogative of Edmonton City Council. We will continue our work as a commission, using this time to move forward with the comprehensive policy review that had already been underway. We will work with City Administration to advise Council on a future path at the end of the moratorium.”
No further comment will be available until the scheduled release of the report on December 14, 2017.
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