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Edmonton city council imposes one-year ban on combat sports following Tim Hague death

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Edmonton officials have imposed a one-year ban on combat sports in the city.

The city council passed a new bylaw that will stop the Edmonton Combative Sports Commission from issuing new licenses or event permits until Dec. 31, 2018 “or until Council provides further direction,” per a news release issued Friday. The provision will go into effect Saturday.

The decision comes in the wake of an independent investigation into the death of former UFC fighter Tim Hague following a June boxing match in Edmonton. Per the release, the temporary suspension of combat sports in the city came after an on-camera update to councillors on the status of the third-party probe.

The city council also motioned that the report on Hague’s death will be presented to Hague’s family, the council and released to the public (following a city review) no later than Dec. 14.

“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,” said Rob Smyth, Edmonton’s deputy city manager of citizen services.

Hague died at the age of 34 two days after being knocked out by Adam Braidwood in a boxing match. Hague was knocked down several times in the bout, but it was not stopped until he was knocked out cold in the second round.

Hague was 1-2 as a boxer going into the fight, while Braidwood was 7-1 with six knockouts. Hague lost by KO in a boxing match six months prior and was the victim of some form of knockout in four of his last five MMA fights, going back to 2015. He was also knocked out in a hybrid boxing/MMA fight two months prior to fighting Braidwood.

“We respect the prerogative of Edmonton City Council,” the Edmonton Combative Sports Commission said Friday in a statement. “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.”

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