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Edmonton Considers Redefining Pro Wrestling’s Status As A ‘Combat Sport’

Officials in Edmonton are considering a the removal of pro wrestling from the definition of combative sports.

Last year, the city placed a city-wide moratorium on combative sports in light of the death of Tim Hague, a local fighter who died after June 2017 fight. Professional wrestling was later considered exempt from the moratorium (which has now since been lifted), but wrestling promotions faced issues due to how the sport is defined. The Edmonton Journal reports pro wrestling events are currently sanctioned by the Edmonton Combative Sports Commission, who aren’t required to provide event officials or medical coverage as part of the sanctioning of the events.

According to a report set to be reviewed by the city council’s community and public services committee tomorrow, pro wrestling is classified as sports entertainment under a current bylaw, and should not merit any sanctioning. The report states:

“The matches have predetermined outcomes to heighten entertainment value and all combative [maneuvers] are executed with the full co-operation of those involved. Based on these factors, this sports entertainment format does not merit any sanctioning, or permission granting requirement from a commission or similar body.”

The report goes on to note that Calgary stopped regulating Stampede Wrestling around 2008, and Vancouver stopped licensing WWE events about two years ago. According to the Journal, three different local wrestling promoters and a representative from WWE expressed interest in being removed from the current classification of combat sports in Edmonton.

During the moratorium last year (while professional wrestling was still included), WWE postponed an event in February and moved the event to Saskatoon. WWE is returning to Canada with events in Winnipeg and Calgary next month, but Edmonton was not included on the schedule for the WWE Live Holiday Tour.

Wrestlezone reached out to WWE for comment regarding the postponed event, and received the following statement:

“Following new guidelines established by Edmonton’s city council, WWE’s event on Friday, February 9 at Rogers Place has been postponed. We are working closely with the local Commission, and we hope to return with our sports entertainment events to Edmonton in the near future.”

When asked for comment, Oilers Entertainment Group spokesman Tim Shipton sent the following email to the Journal: 

“We have a great relationship with WWE and are working to bring a show to Edmonton in 2019. We are working diligently with our partners at WWE to welcome them to Rogers Place for multiple events.”