Eskimos can't say no

Edmonton Eskimo player Adam Braidwood gets mixed up with Ryan Jimmo in the ninth bout of the...

Edmonton Eskimo player Adam Braidwood gets mixed up with Ryan Jimmo in the ninth bout of the Maximum Fighting Championship at the Shaw Centre Saturday evening. (Edmonton Sun/Walter Tychnowicz)

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:12 AM ET

In the aftermath of Mike Maurer lying unconscious in the ring on Saturday night, the Edmonton Eskimos aren't in a position to stop their players from future mixed-martial arts fights.

In fact, Adam Braidwood - the Eskimos' promising defensive end - could climb back into the ring as early as next month.

"You can't tell him that 'You can't fight,' " said Eskimo head coach Danny Maciocia. "It's like someone telling me, 'You need to wear a seatbelt.' If you choose not to wear one, then potentially there could be consequences along the way."

Specifically in the Eskimos case, a CFL player's contract is not guaranteed.

"They choose to (fight) and something happens - well, then their contracts are going to be null and void," continued Maciocia.

The debate over whether Eskimos should be scrapping in the ultimate fighting world in the off-season returned to the front burner after Halifax's Roger Hollett clocked Maurer with a vicious left kick and left punch combination to the head on Saturday night in MFC 11 at the Shaw Conference Centre.

Instantly knocked out, Maurer was motionless in the ring for five seconds before needing another 30 seconds to get to his feet.

Fortunately for Maurer and the Eskimos, the valuable fullback and special teams player is now fine.

In another fight Saturday, Braidwood easily won his professional debut, hammering Ryan Jimmo.

In other sports - like the NBA and MLB - there is specific wording in contracts in an attempt to stop players from participating in certain activities.

Maciocia doesn't know if a "no MMA fighting" clause could even be written into a CFL player's contract - but doesn't seem too interested.

"That is something the governors and the players' association would have to sit down and talk about," he commented.

"I think there are other issues that are probably as important or more important as far as substance abuse (as an example)."

Before Saturday's fight, Maurer had already declared he was going to retire.

But Eskimo teammate Will Loftus believes CFL players like Maurer should be allowed into the MMA ring in the off-season.

"Football is an aggression. It's a controlled aggression, just like ultimate fighting is a controlled aggression," said Loftus, who flew from Arizona to watch Maurer fight.

"It's a technique, a skill, something that is learned. You don't walk into a ring not knowing what you are doing. If he wants to fight, that's all the power to him."

Dale Kliparchuk - a commissioner with Edmonton's boxing and wrestling commission - also believes Eskimo players should have the right to fight.

"I think any contact sport involves risk," said Kliparchuk. "Football involves risk. Full contact fighting involves risk.

"I think it's a sport for anybody who wants to try it out and prove themselves in a proven athletic endeavour, just like football or hockey."


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