A Raw “Road to WrestleMania” live event scheduled for February 9, 2018 in Edmonton Alberta, Canada, has been postponed because Edmonton City Council has issued a one-year moratorium on all combat sports events in the city. The fight ban came about after former UFC fighter Tim Hague died of a brain aneurism on June 18, following a sanctioned boxing much against former Edmonton Eskimo Adam Braidwood on June 16 in Edmonton.
The City Council announced their decision on Friday, December 8, issuing a statement saying that they “will continue our work as a commission, using this time to move forward with the comprehensive policy review that had already been underway.”
The plan is to keep the moratorium in place until the end of 2018. That means that even though the WWE even is officially “postponed,” it won’t be able to happen until nearly a year after its scheduled date, unless the ban is lifted early, or an exception is made for wrestling.
Local Alberta promotion Prairie Wrestling Alliance is trying to force the issue and make that exception happen, since this decision will obviously have a much worse effect on them than on WWE. PWA released a statement on their Facebook page regarding the issue:
PWA wasn’t notified of this decision nor consulted in any way. We don’t believe any other wrestling, boxing or MMA promotion were notified, either. PWA found out about this decision via the media just like the general public.
Our promoter who is the longest active promoter in Edmonton immediately made inquiries to the ECSC and city counsel as we have long argued that wrestling is Sports Entertainment and not a combative sport and thus should be removed from the bylaw concerning combative sports. Very few municipalities in North America still regulate Sports Entertainment and no other city in Alberta does. Alberta’s other largest municipality, Calgary, removed it from its bylaw 10 years ago.
We will continue to pursue a resolution so that we are able to produce events in Edmonton as well as look at surrounding areas to hold events if forced to.
For now, the Edmonton City Council seems resolute in their decision, but it’s possible that pushback from promoters and fans will lead to a compromise. WWE, meanwhile, will likely focus on their various other live events, but will surely return to Edmonton as soon as they’re able.