July 15, 2014 - 4:55 PM
VERNON - Kids can compete in mixed martial arts tournaments in Vernon, but not professional fighters.
That’s the stance Vernon councillors took Monday when endorsing a ban on mixed martial arts (MMA) contests in the city.
Council postponed dealing with the proposed bylaw last month because of concern the wording was too all-encompassing. Coun. Mary Jo O’Keefe and others didn’t want the bylaw to prevent local youth from competing in mixed martial arts tournaments.
But amateur MMA events are already regulated by the B.C. Athletic Commission and must obtain a license for contests, which satisfies councillors.
“Amateur mixed martial arts as long as they’re approved by the commissioner can do their thing,” Coun. Mary Jo O’Keefe says.
Pro events cannot. Council’s rationale for banning them stems from a closed door meeting with police in which they were told MMA events are linked to organized crime. Another reason Mayor Rob Sawatzky gave was that mixed martial arts pose health and safety risks to the participants.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014