The president of EOTTM, Camille Estephan, believes that the boxing and other combat sports are the victims of an injustice that could sound the death knell of this industry in Québec.
July 8, 2020 18h12
Updated at 19h34
Eye of the Tiger wants answers on the part of the public Health
The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — The combat sports could not return to Quebec before the discovery of a vaccine against the COVID-19, a “serious injustice” in the eyes of the president of Eye of the Tiger Management, Camille Estephan.
The promoter montreal said on Wednesday that the ministry of Health and social Services of Quebec (MSSS) has advised that the department of public Health is looking at banning the sport of professional combat until a vaccine or a treatment. This decision would have consequences “irreversible for boxing in quebec,” says Estephan.
“Honestly, I find that there is eel under rock. This is an unprecedented decision: it would be the only sector of activity in which the déconfinement would depend on a vaccine, he explained in an interview with The Canadian Press. There is no explanation that has been provided to justify this decision. We have not even had the opportunity to be heard by the public Health. It is our right to participate in this discussion: we are the players in the field. I think all the other sports or sectors of employment that have been the representation.
“I am sure that this situation can only arise out of prejudices unfavorable to the location of the boxing or a poor understanding of our sector. I can’t believe that they refuse to meet with us to discuss these measures. I have the impression that it is dictatorial. You can’t tamp down with the back of the hand 680 000 boxing fans in Quebec. This is nearly 10 percent of the population of Quebec who is a fan of boxing.”
The MINISTRY declined an interview requests from The Canadian Press, adding, however, this, via a spokesperson:
“There is no question of vaccine or not, but of the situation and knowledge about the virus. For the moment, public Health, and experts assess that the risk of spread is greater in the case of fighting of any kind. This is why they don’t recommend back to the moment.
“The virus is spread mainly by droplets and in enclosed areas, the boxing bouts increase the risk of spread, taking into account that they usually take place on the inside.
“The sweat, blood and saliva are very present during a match, and even exceed the two meters away when shots are given. The risks are therefore greater for a spread.”
EOTTM had however presented a health protocol rigorous public Health and to the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux (RACJ) in the last month in order to be presented at a gala dinner that closed in Quebec on July 25. Estephan expected, moreover, to “receive good news” this week about this project. It was therefore bitterly disappointed by the decision of the authorities.
Estephan does not include it as a side, it allows for games of soccer, baseball, hockey or football, it reopens the bars and restaurants, but it does not allow the conduct of combat sports under very strict conditions, as is the case in the United States, in particular in the last few weeks.
“Think of our boxers who have sacrificed dozens of years of training. Or even the promoters, who have invested in professional boxers. We will lose everything: the belts, the world rankings.
“Think ahead: if young amateur fighters can not fight for a year or two, it is done in succession. There will be more of Georges St-Pierre, more than Jean Pascal, over David Lemieux.”
Now he wants to start the creation of a working committee composed of people in the community, as well as officials of the RACJ and public Health.
“I want to convince the government authorities that this decision is a serious mistake and that we can organize boxing in a safe manner. They lack a lot of consistency and I want them to understand that.”
For more than a month, the american developer Top Rank presents gala performances behind closed doors in Nevada and California under the strict supervision of the health authorities and the athletic commissions of those States. Boxers from quebec, including Kim Clavel, will occur soon.
Until now, no case of contamination has been reported in boxers. A few fights, however, have been pushed back after members of the entourage, some of them received a positive result.
EOTTM had two galas planned in march, which were cancelled at the very last minute, while the boxers were all in Montreal, and were subjected to a test for the detection of the COVID-19.
“We were in agreement with this decision at the time, because we used to say that it was a global situation. Now, that is discrimination and an injustice to the sport of boxing. I have the impression that this is a bit of improvisation. They seem overwhelmed by all that is going on.”
Estephan don’t understand why we can’t follow the approach of Top Rank to revive the sport of boxing in Quebec. He feared that boxers may choose to sever their business ties with the proponents of québécois to be able to earn their living elsewhere.
“It is certain that they cannot continue their career with us, they will find other opportunities. It goes without saying.”
As a promoter, he promises to take all the means to be able to boxer his protégés, even if this involves organizing galas outside of the province.
“We can arrange this anywhere in the world, but it doesn’t look that we can’t arrange this for us. (…) We have already looked at how to organize galas elsewhere, even if it must be done in Monte-Carlo. If I have no choice, I have no choice. They will not be able to stop us: we will still have world champions.”
In the late afternoon, on Wednesday, the Group Yvon Michel has issued a statement about the position of the ministry. Here are a few excerpts:
“We do not wish to comment about the quality of the protocol submitted by EOTTM to public health authorities, since we do not know, not having been asked to, nor its development nor its presentation.
“(We assume by against) it certainly has its relevance. (However), we are in total incomprehension in the face of the unfair treatment that reserve the body ministerial quebec to the presentation of the suggested protocol.”
“We have the privilege, in Québec, to be assisted by one of the most competent and professional athletic commission in the world is the Governed of alcohol, races and games – division-combat sports and its experienced director, Mr. Michel Hamelin.
“They have the knowledge and resources required to analyze the requests, propose the required corrective measures and enforce them.
“We hope that Dr. Arruda and his team to seriously reconsider the position of the ministry of Health and social Services, so that they agree to evaluate new applications with all the rigor that they deserve.”