After a decade alone governing the province’s amateur MMA scene, the Federation Quebecoise de Boxe Mixte Amateur (FQBM) should soon have company in the form of the recently announced Federation Quebecoise d’Arts Martiaux Mixte Amateur (FQAMMA).
Citing a litany of complaints with the FQBM’s safety standards, rules, and organizational structure, the new governing body formed by retired pro fighter Stephane Dubé and amateur promoter and Ringside matchmaker Joey Benoit plans to launch early next year. A test-run of the organization’s new rules took place last Saturday in Longueuil, near Montreal.
The first event sanctioned by the FQAMMA will be Impakt Fight Night 4 in Longueuil on January 28. Promoted by Benoit, it will be the first of approximately six shows he plans to put on in 2012.
For the time being, it appears the competing federations will function parallel to each other, with promoters choosing which of the two to retain for their events, and thus which standards and rules they will take place under.
Check back to Montreal MMA news soon for a follow-up covering the reactions of fighters, coaches, and promoters around the province, and a closer look at amateur MMA’s legal status.
While a new website is set to be unveiled on December 1 detailing the FQAMMA’s full rule book, a significant amount of information has already been made public.
While retaining most of the FQBM’s basic rules, including the banning of certain joint locks including heel hooks, and neck and spine cranks, as well as back and hammer fists, important changes will be made.
Most significantly, knee strikes will be permitted to the body and legs, but not the head, both on the feet and on the ground. Front kicks to the face will now also be legal.
Elbows will also be permitted for advanced fighters (more below).
Instead of the current 12 ounce boxing style gloves, either ten or eight ounce (TBD) MMA style gloves will be used. On top of that, helmets will be made obligatory. Shin guards will still be mandatory, but will be provided by the FQAMMA to guarantee uniformity.
Additionally, in lieu of the somewhat murky and rarely explained judging system used by the FQBM, the FQAMMA’s bouts will be judged based on a system mirroring the professional one.
In the existing FQBM, all fighters compete under the same set of rules, with the exception that title fights are three minutes per round rather than two. In a move they argue will better prepare fighters to go pro, rules will differ in the FQAMMA as competitors gain experience. Three levels will exist, with standing based on a system of accumulated points. Fighters will be awarded 4 for a win, 2 for a draw, and 1 for a loss.
Starting out as beginners, fighters will compete under the normal rules over three, three-minute rounds. Once they accumulate 20 points, they reach the intermediate level, and now fight two five-minutes rounds. If there is a tie after two rounds, a third five-minute round will be fought. At 40 points, they reach the advanced level, with identical fight length to the intermediates, but with certain elbow strikes now allowed (elbow pads will be mandatory).
Any fighter with professional experience in MMA, boxing, or muay thai will not be allowed to compete.
Finally, while amateur titles have recently been rapidly growing in number under the FQBM, with multiple promoter awarding their own set of belts, under the new system only the FQAMMA will organize title fights and name champions.
September 2012 will see Featherweight and Welterweight champions crowned, based on two-day 16-man elimination tournaments, made up of the federation’s most qualified fighters. This event will be promoted by the FQAMMA itself.
Under the FQBM, fighters undergo pre-event inspections by medical staff for their vision, hearing, and breathing, and fill out a questionnaire asking about concussion syndromes, injuries, and other conditions that could impair their ability to compete safely.
The FQAMMA’s standards will be more stringent, as in addition to the inspections fighters will also have to submit yearly blood tests for HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C, as well as the accompanying physicals, at their own expense. Results of the CT scans fighters undergo after KO losses will also have to be submitted before they can compete again.
At a fee of $60/year, fighters will have to register themselves with the federation. A fighter’s school will have had to register first, at a fee of $120/year, thus allowing any number of affiliated competitors to then register. Out of province schools and fighters can also register, under the same conditions.
While fighter records are not tracked by the FQBM, the FQAMMA will keep these statistics, and make them publicly available. Those joining the new federation will keep the records they had previous to entering, but will not be awarded points for those fights.
While fighters are able to compete on back-to-back weekends in the FQBM, the new federation will only permit one bout per month, with the championship tournament the exception.
Once registered into the FQAMMA, fighters will still be able to compete outside the federation, but are expected to respect the spirit of its rules (fight frequency, fair match-ups, etc). Otherwise they can be suspended, or not have their exterior wins counted towards their FQAMMA point count.
As is standards in amateur sports, fighters will not be paid for competing. Promoters can however cover their gas, hotel, and food expenses. Unlike in the FQBM, where promoters have paid fighters a percentage of the money they bring in through ticket sales, the practice will not be permitted in the FQAMMA.
2011 has seen rapid growth in the number of amateur promoters putting on events in-and-around Montreal. While the FQBM has tolerated multiple same-day events within a given geographical area, with the FQAMMA promoters will have to book dates in advance from a predetermined list of availabilities, with the goal being to limit same-day competition within any area of the province.
Fees to retain the FQAMMA’s services will be 400$ per event, compared to $300 for the FQBM. When used, the new federation will provide three judges, a referee, a time-keeper, and a supervisor.
Matchmakers will have access to the list of registered fighters to assist them in finding fighters for their cards. They will have to present fight cards ten days in advance of their event to the FQAMMA for approval, which will depend on fighters being registered, and the matchups being deemed fair.
While the FQBM has tolerated only having an EMT or doctor present at events, the FQAMMA will also require ambulance services to be retained by promoters at events, at their own expense.
Remember to check back later this week for a follow-up covering the reactions of fighters, coaches, and promoters around the province, and a closer look at amateur MMA’s legal status.