Following police complaint, New Quebec federation’s amateur event cancelled


Arts Martiaux Mixte Amateur Quebec (AMMAQ), the province’s new amateur MMA federation, was off to a shaky start Friday after a complaint to the provincial police lead to the cancellation of Saturday’s Impakt Fight Night 4 event in Longueuil, south of Montreal. The show would have acted as the new federation’s official debut.

The cancellation could hint at future difficulty not only for the AMMAQ, but also for amateur MMA as a whole in the province. Despite a long history of operation in Quebec, amateur, also known as ‘boxe mixte,’ does not enjoy pro MMA’s protection from the infamous, prize-fight banning section 83 of the Canadian Criminal Code. The provincial police, known as the Sureté Quebec (SQ), aren’t prone to shutting down events however unless a complaint is officially lodged with them.

According to the AMMAQ’s director of operations Joey Benoit, SQ officers visited the Motel Royal Labarre Friday, where the event was set to take place the following night. The owners were told a complaint against the amateur MMA show had been made by an anonymous party, and warned the motel could face problems in the future when renewing their liquor license if they went forward. (Calls to the SQ officer in charge of the case for confirmation of the version of events and the complainant’s identity were were not returned).

Benoit, who was set to run the event, says he was also visited by police at his home, but wanted to go ahead regardless.

“I can’t know who made the complaint unless the show happens and the police press charges,” said Benoit, who is also Ringside MMA’s match-maker. “If it’s cancelled, the case is closed, charges are dropped, and I never find out. The motel’s management didn’t want to risk it though.” Efforts to find a new location on short notice were unsuccessful, leading to the cancellation.

For most of its history, amateur MMA was solely governed in-province by the Federation Quebecoise de Boxe Mixte Amateur (FQBM). Though never officially recognized, the FQBM was able to hold events around Quebec with the provincial government’s tepid acceptance.

While Benoit was holding events under the Summum banner as part of the FQBM, two 2011 shows, in August and November, relocated on short notice following complaints to the SQ similar to the one leading to Saturday’s cancellation. Because he moved both times, the complainant’s identity remains unknown.

Joey Benoit (left) and Stephane Dubé (right) are in charge of the new Arts Martiaux Mixtes Amateur Quebec (AMMAQ) Federation.

Citing dissatisfaction with the existing set of rules and regulations, Benoit and former pro fighter Stephane Dubé soon after decided to start a new amateur federation, with new rules as an alternative. Originally called the FQAMMA, it was later renamed the AMMAQ.

The announcement met with a frigid response by members of the existing FQBM, who banded together to oppose the new entry.

Speaking after the the AMMAQ’s formation, FQBM promoters, who are also owners of the member MMA gyms where events usually take place, clarified that their shows were a way not only to promote their up-and-coming fighters, but also a way to help pay the bills for their gyms.

Benoit, who wasn’t directly associated with any single home gym while holding his Summum events, was seen as an outsider trying to make money for himself. He disagrees with the characterization.

“The FQBM wants a monopoly on regulation to help gyms survive,” he said. “I didn’t do this to make money. I do this to create better rules, and structure the sport to help improve it. The gyms currently under the FQBM could do shows under my federation, but they don’t want to.”

Saturday’s cancelled event was set to feature the first three amateur MMA bouts officially sanctioned by the AMMAQ, as well as nine amateur muay thai fights sanctioned by the separate Quebec Amateur Thai Boxing Federation, who were not named in the police complaint.

Benoit insists he intends to continue moving forward despite the setback. “I filed papers with the government’s Ministere de l’Education, Loisirs, et Sports,” says Benoit, referring to the provincial ministry responsible for Quebec amateur sports. “I’m still awaiting approval. They told me I should get approved if I held events. But events aren’t technically legal. If I’m illegal, then every amateur show is illegal, including the FQBM’s.”

Citing danger of a reciprocal war, he says he doesn’t intend to respond to his cancellation by calling the SQ on FQBM promoters. “Whoever called may have hurt himself,” said Benoit, hinting at the possibility that a rival lodged the complaint. “The whole sport could get frozen until its regulated.”

Without the support of FQBM gyms, Benoit says he was thus far able to get six MMA schools under his federation’s banner, including the Ottawa Academy of Martial Arts (OAMA). A recent Rumour Mill hinted at the potential holding of an event in Gatineau.

An FQBM event, also in Longueuil, will still go forward Saturday at the Orion gym. When contacted, a gym representative denied any involvement in the police complaint, mirroring Benoit’s comment that bringing negative police attention to the amateur sport in general would be dangerous for him. (Efforts to reach Fernand Morneau, head of the FQBM, for comment on the situation were unsuccessful).

Follow Julian Cymbalista-Clapp on Twitter @ JulianCClapp

18 Responses to “ Following police complaint, New Quebec federation’s amateur event cancelled ”

  1. evmister says:

    Seriously, who complains over things like this? They’re just making it hard for all the fighters/promotion staff who have dedicated their time and effort to the fight(s)

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  2. Julian Cymbalista-Clapp says:

    My guess is a competitor. But it’s not like any of them would admit it to me straight up. I’ll keep asking though.

    If readers want any clarification, let me know. I can provide extra info or context as needed.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  3. evmister says:

    Yeah most likely, but still it’s stupid. They’re affecting more than just the promotion.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. Paveldouche says:

    Calls like this have been coming out of Edmonton for years.

    I would start there.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Ratelle says:

    I had to loose 8 pounds in 2 days for this event, Ive worked my ass off since last summer to make sure Ill perform well and Im starting to feel that everybody is backstabbing each other when we are proning respect etc etc

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  6. weird that the police go after one amateur show and not the other that is to be held on the same day.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  7. Bobby Karimi says:

    Really enjoyed reading that, well done Julian!

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. Julian Cymbalista-Clapp says:

    Thanks Bobby. And Keith, that’s the oddness about the situation. It’s not legally sanctioned, but it’s semi-tolerated, I guess until something goes horribly wrong. If anyone lodged a complaint against the other show, it would likely also be shut down. Though one assumes the FQBM members made an agreement not to do that to each other.

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  9. Donald Duck says:

    The owners were told a complaint against the amateur MMA show had been made by an anonymous party, and warned the motel could face problems in the future when renewing their liquor license if they went forward.

    Isn’t the above statement basically saying that the SQ threatened and intimated to get the show shut down? That’s a pretty massive allegation which, given the current provincial government stance, would lead to potential charges. Is there any verification of this other than from the promoters?

    Not saying it isn’t true but its a pretty heavy statement.

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  10. Julian Cymbalista-Clapp says:

    That was not my reading of the statement. I read it as, the motel could face charges for holding an ‘illegal’ event, and those charges could complicate re-licensing. Is that a threat or a statement of how liquor licensing works. Background checks are par for the course when applying for such licenses. It’s what’s at stake for a hosting location. Promoters for their part would probably have the money from ticket sales confiscated.

    And no, I was only able to confirm this with the promoter. It is why I stated ‘according to…,’ because no secondary source was available. As I stated within the article, the police did not call me back despite me attempting contact multiple times and leaving a message.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Donald Duck says:

    That was not my reading of the statement.

    You wrote the article. You don’t need to tell me how you read it but you need to make sure you’re clear in what you wrote so that I (or anyone else) gets the same message.

    I’m not disagreeing with you that there may be issues that arise from holding an ‘illegal’ event when it comes time to renew a government issued license however I’m failing to see the link between the hotel owners and the event outside of the choice of location.

    If I wanted to read stories stitched together with assumption and innuendo I’d be reading from some other MMA site.

    Mr. D Duck

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  12. Jamon says:

    I love the fact that in Canada it’s perfectly legal and cherished that two 16 boys can punch each other in the face with bare fists on an ice surface, but mma still hurdles like this

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  13. Donald Duck says:

    Yeah but MMA is very very dangerous…

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  14. Bobjay says:

    There is no single group that controls amateur MMA in QC, only pro-MMA. Like the article says, it mentioned liqour license. Perhaps they where planning to sell booze there.

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  15. Robin Black says:

    I was away and never saw this.

    Another awesomely written article by JC2.

    Could the one show have dropped a dime on the other one? Is that a possibility?

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  16. Teflon Dan says:

    Just a thought, but maybe having a guy with the reputation that Stephane Dube does, definitely tarnishes any credibility this organization may have

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  17. Fellas, you realize I wrote this almost a year ago, right? January 2012?

    Since then, AMMAQ never recovered, and no longer exists. Benoit attempted to put on an amateur 8-man tournament in mid-2012, but that too fell through.

    The FQBM continues to ‘sanction’ amateur MMA in Quebec. We’ll see what happens if MMA becomes legalized at the Federal level.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  18. Bobjay says:

    There are some other groups “sanctioning” amateur MMA in Quebec too, but they are very small events.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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