A mixed martial arts event in Yellowknife has been postponed after the Northwest Territories’ Liquor Licensing Board (LLB) refused to grant it a licence.
The Warrior Strong Fight League was to have seen Yellowknife’s James Williams fight for the middleweight amateur title in Saturday’s main event, at the YK Arena.
Tables for the “Northern Invasion” MMA extravaganza were selling at up to $800 each, with general admission from $40.
However, the LLB has denied the event a licence to sell liquor on the grounds that its application was incomplete and late.
The board said the application should have been made at least 45 days before the event – but wasn’t. The LLB also complained that the promoters had advertised the sale of liquor at the event prior to obtaining a permit, which is a breach of licensing regulations.
“The applicant states being unaware of the filing time and takes full responsibility for this oversight,” read the LLB’s decision, issued on Monday.
“There is evidence the applicant was, in fact, informed by a local permit issuer of the filing requirements well in advance of that deadline.
“There is a sliding scale for application filing times. The greater the number of people expected to attend, the longer advance filing time is required. This regulation is, in part, intended to allow for appropriate notification to be given to Liquor Enforcement and the RCMP in a time frame allowing for adequate oversight and policing.”
In full: LLB explains decision to deny licence for MMA event (pdf)
The board says the application came from the NWT SPCA, which had been set to run the event’s beer garden as a fundraiser, rather than directly from the fight’s promoters.
Range Lake MLA Daryl Dolynny labelled the board’s decision a “ridiculous portraying of bureaucratic red tape”.
“Local business owners John Stanley and Scott Thomson put up $25,000 of their money to secure the venue, the equipment, the boxing commission representatives from Edmonton, and flights for fighters,” said Dolynny in an email on Tuesday.
“This is all being jeopardized due to unnecessary red tape.”
On Facebook: Warrior Strong Fight League
The event’s promoters say the decision leaves them with no choice but to postpone, and means they will lose thousands of dollars.
“I’m out $15,000 to $20,000 as it is. I might have lost more if I tried to go ahead with it,” Stanley is reported to have told the Yellowknifer newspaper.
The NWT SPCA says it will also suffer financially, through missing out on beer garden proceeds, as a result of the event’s postponement.
Organizers stressed that while the event has been postponed, it has not been cancelled. A new date has not yet been publicized – more information will follow.
“Because of the bureaucratic red tape, we have to postpone,” Thomson tweeted on Tuesday. “We will be back, and stronger than ever, in June.”
The LLB told Moose FM it does not comment on its decisions.