Excellent ECC Weighin Article


The Oasis Bar and Grill in Halifax, Nova Scotia has long been considered the best place in the maritime capital to see UFC events live. Resultingly, one would be hard pressed to think of a better place to hold the weigh ins for the first ever mixed martial arts event to be held in Halifax, than between the walls of the Oasis. Those same walls give comfort to mixed martial arts fans who congregate on fight nights, and show a reverence and acceptance for the sport: alongside the stylized paintings of athletes such as Wayne Gretzky and Muhammed Ali, are the faces of UFC stars Rich Franklin, and David Loiseau.

Extreme Caged Combat is the brainchild of Peter Martell, a 38-year-old bar owner and brazilian jiu jitsu brown belt under Renzo Gracie. Martell says that this event itself is the product of years of planning. Martell, who says that Nova Scotia is at least five or six years behind the rest of the country in the mixed martial arts world, saw his event attacked from the very onset by the local media, as well as city councillors such as Bob Harvey. Councillor Bob Harvey of Lower Sackville proposed that the Halifax Regional Council ban the sport of mixed martial arts and stop Martell's event, and similar events, as they were "not consistant with the municipality's recreational policies and goals." Harvey's motion was defeated, by a vote of 19-3 in favor of the event.

All fighters competing at Extreme Caged Combat were weighed in under the watchful eye of the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority. All fighters made weight for the event, though for some, it was easier than others. Main event fighter and UFC veteran Gideon Ray, who is set to take on Alberta's Jason "The Athlete" MacDonald, was over a half hour late for the weigh ins due to travel difficulties. Ray, who fights out of early UFC stalwart Keith Hackney's school in Illinois, showed up midway though the weigh ins, dapper in Gucci sunglasses, and was weighed in. Also, Ontario jiu jitsu stand out Rowan Cunningham was late arriving to the weigh ins, and was overweight as well. By rule, Cunningham would have had two hours to make weight, but a Nova Scotia Boxing Authority ruling allowed Cunningham until 8 PM to make weight. Cunningham successfully weighed in fifteen to twenty minutes before his deadline.

Other Results From the Weigh Ins:

Nino Bezerra - 149.4 lbs.
Dave Scholten - 151.2 lbs.

Adam MacDonald - 166.6 lbs.
Daniel Hardstaff - 168.2 lbs.

Corey Knapp - 148.2 lbs.
Bryan Edge - 149.4 lbs.

Robert Colbourne - 181.8 lbs.
Matt Hill - 183.2 lbs.

Jason McKay - 155.0 lbs.
Mike Large - 153.8 lbs.

Tony Lagnaro - 163.4 lbs.
Stjepan Vujnovic - 169.8 lbs.

Chris Carroll - 232.6 lbs.
Ray Penny - 228.0 lbs.

TJ Grant - 179.6 lbs.
Craig Skinner - 180.2 lbs.

Rowan Cunningham - 169.4 lbs.
Garrett Davis - 168.64

Roger Hollett - 201.8 lbs.
Peter Rogers - 201.8 lbs.

Jason MacDonald - 185.0 lbs.
Gideon Ray - 184.7 lbs.

The event served not only as the weigh in for event, but also as a press conference, where the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority were able to publically discuss the rules of the event and expectations of the fighters involved. The NSBA announced that the two officials for the evening would be Robert MacAvoy and Ken Wood. In an attempt to assist the officials, the NSBA has brought in Tony Williamson, a Marcus Soares' purple belt in brazilian jiu jitsu from Kelowna, British Columbia. Williamson has worked as a referee for the World Freestyle Fighting Championships in Vancouver, British Columbia, an organization which has been sanctioned by the Vancouver Athletic Commission, as well as the the Shooto Americas Commission.

Williamson addressed the fighters, media and audience, and explained the rules that will be used for tomorrow's event in detail, fielding questions from the fighters as to rule specificities. For the most part, the rules mirror the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts used by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, New Jersey Athletic Control Board, and other prominent athletic commissions however, there are some alterations of note. The most prominent change in rules surrounds elbow strikes to the head. Under the rules of mixed martial arts allowed by the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority, fighters are not permitted to strike with the elbow to the head neither standing, nor on the ground. Elbows are however, like knees, permitted to the body.

The other pertinent rule change, which took nearly all in the room by surprise, is that no vaseline, or petroleum substances can be used by cornermen to stop the bleeding of a cut sustained by a fighter. Many of the fighters silently questioned the statement with a look of bewilderment, while NSBA Chairman Hubert Earle justified his stance by saying that mixed martial arts, unlike boxing, was what he termed to be a "hands on" sport, and that lubricants of any kind would not be tolerated. His justification was not readily accepted by many of the fighters, including main eventer Jason MacDonald, who questioned Earle outright. MacDonald, a veteran of nearly twenty mixed martial arts fights, contested Earle, and said that he had never heard of an organization employing such a rule. Earle's reply was only a wry smile, as he told MacDonald, "Well, this will be your first."

Earle outlined other tenets of the NSBA's philosophy on mixed martial arts. As previously stated, the NSBA is taking a strong stand on lubricants. Earle stated that there will be punishment for any fighter who attempts to use oils or lubricants on his body, perhaps a timely emphasis on the heels of many high profile mixed martial arts fighters such as Tito Ortiz and Nick Diaz accusing opponents of greasing their bodies in previous bouts. Earle also stated that the NSBA would take a hard line stance on stall tactics, such as pouring water in the ring between rounds, a fighter spitting his mouthguard out to afford himself a break, and other acts of that nature. The NSBA will enforce the use of yellow cards for mixed martial arts events: rule violations that yield a yellow card will result in a point deduction on the judges' score card for the offender, as well as a ten percent deduction in the fighter's purse. A second violation will result in another point being taken from the offender's scorecard, and a twenty percent deduction in the fighter's purse. A third yellow card will signal a disqualification for the offending fighter, and result in the NSBA seizing the fighter's entire purse.

The Nova Scotia Boxing Authority will put their rules to use for the first time tomorrow night, when Extreme Caged Combat takes center stage at the Halifax Forum, at 7 PM. With over six thousand tickets sold, and promises of ECC's return to the Halifax Forum on July 22nd as well as talk of King of the Cage Canada coming to Nova Scotia in the fall, it will be the first event of many for the NSBA as they set forward in a new era of combat sport.

-Jordan Breen<!-- / message --><!-- edit note -->