Professional MMA events get the boot in Vernon

Local youth can continue to pursue mixed martial arts titles.

The City of Vernon is proceeding with a ban on professional mixed martial arts events, but it will not include those tournaments deemed to be amateur because they are sanctioned provincially.

“Amateur is under the B.C. Athletic Commission already and not an area we need to tread,” said Mayor Rob Sawatzky.

City staff had recommended banning professional and amateur MMA within municipal limits.

“The recommendation was based on the health and well-being of the participants and especially youth,” said Will Pearce, chief administrative officer.

Plans for the bylaw were put on hold in June because of the potential impact a ban would have on local MMA schools and their ability to hold competitions.

The city initiated the process to ban MMA events because the police had expressed concerns about criminal activity within the sport.

“It’s a good thing for the city,” said Coun. Brian Quiring.

That view was also expressed in the staff report.

“While health and safety of participants is a concern, a significant related issue is the apparent relationship of organized crime in at least some professional MMA events,” wrote Pearce.


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