The following is an open letter from the HCF CEO Keith Crawford:
As you may or may not know I have had some serious problems in the past with The River Cree Combative Sports Commission. Now it has come to my attention that they may be sanctioning something that could really cause serious damage to our sport. I am writing to voice my concern. I have put 10 years and considerable financial resources into this sport and I would not like to see an incident occur that tarnished the good name of Mixed Martial Arts.
On November 23, 2007 MFC High Roller is set to take place at the River Cree Resort and Casino in Enoch Alberta. On this card the River Cree Combative Sports Commission has sanctioned a fight between Shonie Carter (Sherdog Record, 37-17-7, Full Contact Fighter Record, 73-16-7-fights actually listed) and Brad Zazulak (2-0). Sanctioning any athlete with 96 fights and a wealth of cage/ring experience against an athlete with 2 fights is nothing short of ludicrous. This ridiculous mismatch could result in serious injury or death to the less experienced athlete and I feel our sport would be left holding the liability bag.
MMA has become the worlds fastest growing sport thanks in large part to the UFC who have sunk millions into its development. Now professional promoters like IFL, Elite XC, M1, Strikeforce, TKO, KOTC and ourselves are being able to bring high level promotions to our audiences and make the numbers work. Thanks to Professional Sports Commissions across North America our sport has developed a comprehensive rule system to ensure the safety of our athletes and mitigate liability to our venues, promoters and geographical jurisdictions. Allowing a start up commission like River Cree to sanction this fight could regress our sport into the dark ages again. This is exactly what our detractors revel in.
The ABC and the CPBF should step into this situation and put their foot down. Yes....I know that commission dances to their own drummer; sets their own rules and has omnipotent rule over everything that takes place on their land but surly sanctioning bodies that oversee the rules they utilize can have some power. The fact that you have been warned about this travesty places some of the liability on your shoulders.
People like my partner and I and the other professional promoters in North America have spent 10's of Millions of dollars developing this sport. Don't let some renegade commission join forces with an unscrupulous promoter and ruin what we have built. The ball is in your court.