Island Inferno

Frustrated participants gather after Island Inferno was cancelled. (Federico Cahis/CBC)

Hundreds of people were turned away from an amateur kick boxing event in Charlottetown after police told the organizers of Island Inferno they could be arrested for hosting an unsanctioned event.

Mark MacKinnon, the head organizer, said he was first warned Friday that the city had concerns.

But MacKinnon said the event, which was being held for the sixth time, is sanctioned by a national kick boxing organization. 

'These are kids that trained for months to have an opportunity to compete in a legitimate sport, and it's being stopped by a misinterpretation of the law'- Mark MacKinnon

"The city disagreed," he said. "The chief of police sent the deputy down here to inform me that if we proceeded that I would be arrested, charged under criminal code C-83 and possibly any one else associated with the event."

MacKinnon made the call at 5 p.m. Saturday that the show would not go on. 

"This is unfortunate for us, but more unfortunate for the athletes and the coaches that travelled from out of province - Ontario, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland. These are kids that trained for months to have an opportunity to compete in a legitimate sport, and it's being stopped by a misinterpretation of the law." 

More than 600 people were expected to watch the show. Organizers met ticket holders at the door to turn them away. 
MacKinnon said police told him they didn't know about it until Friday, but he argues they've had an extensive marketing campaign for weeks.

"At this point, there's no hope in salvaging anything."

MacKinnon said he doesn't know yet how much money organizers have lost. 

"I think we could've come to some sort of understanding if there had been prior notice."