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Inquiry into combative sports in Edmonton wraps up

An inquiry into the death of an Edmonton athlete wrapped up Wednesday.

Boxer and mixed martial arts fighter Tim Hague, 34, died of a brain injury after a 2017 boxing match, prompting a public inquiry into how combative sports can be made safer for competitors.

In the nine months leading up to the fatal blow, Hague was knocked out three times.

After his death, a one-year moratorium was placed on combative sports in Edmonton. It was lifted two months later once a third-party review was complete.

That review, launched by the City of Edmonton, found the Edmonton Combative Sports Commission (ECSC) failed to follow certain policies and 18 recommendations were put forth.

In 2018, a policy to increase training standards was finalized by the city, requiring new ECSC inspectors to complete mandatory internal training to meet the required standards to officiate combative sports in Edmonton.

Forrest Gavins, ECSC executive director, said on Wednesday several changes had been made since those recommendations were given.

In August 2022, another moratorium on combative sports – this one nine months – was put in place to allow administration to carry out a review of the city's role in licensing combative sports events and make recommendations for the future. That work is ongoing.

Nine witnesses spoke in court, including a doctor who specializes in sports medicine who said she has been working with the ECSC on policies around concussions and how to better identify and treat those injuries.

A lawyer for the City of Edmonton gave the final submission, saying the inquiry is a duplication of the already completed review.

Too many rule changes could drive the sport away from the city or push it underground, she said, which would defeat the purpose of the inquiry.

There is no word yet on how long before the judge will release the final report. Top Stories


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