Dormant Ontario MMA Market Forces Laprise West For Next Fight

Chatham native and professional fighter Chad Laprise will have his next fight against Canadian veteran Derek Boyle on Xcessive Force FC’s second show on July 27th in Grand Prairie, Alberta. Laprise made the announcement via Facebook with this post on Wednesday April 17th:

“Contract is signed and I will be fighting Derek Boyle July 27th for Xcessive Force FC in Alberta!!! Can’t wait to get back in the cage and showcase my skills!”

Fans of the Adrenaline Training Center fighter have been waiting on pins and needles to find out when Laprise would get his next fight in the cage and be able to continue the momentum he has built up in his career. Laprise has not fought since October of last year when he dominated veteran wrestler Ainsley Robinson at Bellator 76 in Windsor. It was Laprise’s second win in the Bellator cage and set him up nicely for a pivotal year in 2013.

Unfortunately, strict Ontario Athletic Commission conditions and hefty fees have promoters staying away from Ontario in 2013, and no shows have been scheduled to date. The Score Fighting Series held two to four regular shows in the province up until last year, but was purchased by Rogers Communications last year and the show was then cancelled. Bellator Fighting Championships also made four stops in Ontario between Caesars Windsor and Casino Rama but have not committed to coming back in 2013.

This lack of opportunity in Ontario has left Laprise and other Ontario based professional fighters in an interesting dilemma this year. I was able to speak with Laprise via phone last week to discuss fighting Boyle for Xcessive Force FC and the state of mixed martial arts in Ontario.

“They were just looking for fighters out there so I stepped up and took a fight. That’s how it is working right now since there are no shows coming to Ontario. For local guys it’s almost impossible.” Laprise said.

Not only is it impossible to find fights locally, the 6-0 Laprise is in a place in his career where it is hard to find a fight anywhere in the country. He provided a look into the reasoning of the regional MMA promoter.

“If you are a guy with one or two fights, promoters will bring you out. But if you are an undefeated guy like me with six wins, they are not going to bring you out to beat up the local guy who is going to sell tickets.” he stated, “There aren’t a lot of big shows out east or out west that can afford to pay for my flight, pay my corner’s flight, then pay me to potentially beat the guy that is selling the tickets for them.”

It is a sad state of affairs and extremely frustrating for a professional like Laprise who is trying to reach a specific goal in his career. The time off does not do him any good and he must stay active to stay sharp and keep pace with the prospects throughout the world. Laprise is an elite-level prospect, who needs fights on his resume to get noticed and signed by the only remaining promotion that will hold events in Ontario, the UFC.

Laprise has done very well fighting in the Bellator FC promotion, fighting on each of the Ontario cards they held last year, but unless he signs an exclusive contract with them, they will not give him a fight on any of their shows south of the border.

“Unless I sign exclusively with them, they are not going to fly me out to any of their shows in the states, so I won’t be fighting with them unless they come back to Canada.” There are currently no plans for a Bellator show in Ontario this year and Laprise explained why.

“With the commission the way it is here, people don’t want to pay the money to come here when they can hold a fight anywhere else and they don’t have to pay those high commission fees. Bellator is rumoured to come back, but who knows and I can’t sit around and wait.”

Thankfully, Laprise won’t have to wait, as he was quick to jump on this fight against the veteran striker Boyle.

“I haven’t fought since October. When this fight came about, I jumped on it.” He laughed “This was the first guy they offered me. They said will you fight Derek Boyle and I was like yep. I didn’t even question it, I said sure right away.”

Boyle should be the most exciting match up Laprise has had in a couple of years. Boyle is a striker at heart and will not be afraid to trade punches with the dangerous Chatham native. Laprise has faced wrestlers in his last two fights and spent most of his night defending the take down or getting up off his back. Boyle will be a welcome opponent for him to get back to throwing his hands and feet.

Despite this frustrating time in his career, Laprise remains determined in his pursuit to get to the very top of the game, and he knows exactly what he needs to get there.

“I need three or four wins. I need to keep busy. That’s why when they gave me Boyle; he is a well-known guy I was like for sure. He is training now at Greg Jackson’s gym too so he has improved a lot recently.”

Laprise stated that the promotion is trying to build a west coast vs. east coast type of card so there could be more Ontario fighters signed on in the very near future.

Good news for Ontario fighters looking for a fight.

Dwight Wakabayashi is a guest writer for Sportsnet.ca UFC and freelance MMA Reporter

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