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Vernon drafts ban on mixed martial arts

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May 27, 2014 - 4:27 PM

VERNON - Vernon is hitting mixed martial arts where it hurts.

City council is moving forward with the creation of a bylaw that would ban Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) events within municipal limits.

“We don’t need them,” Coun. Bob Spiers says. “It’s just the association with the type of people that run those events and the type of people that show up at those events. It might cause you a liability problem.”

The move comes on the heels of recent changes to how the province regulates and controls the sport.

In May 2012, the province passed the Athletic Commissioner Act (Bill 50) which brought about provincial regulation for professional boxing and mixed martial arts events.

Spiers says every municipality has been given the right to chose whether or not to allow the sport within its boundaries.

Vernon Mayor Rob Sawatzky says it’s not something Vernon wants or needs.

“We’ve had discussions over the last couple of years from the police informing us that there’s a very strong historical and well known relationship between mixed martial arts events and organized crime,” Sawatzky says.

He says local government is mandated to protect peoples’ health, something not fostered in the sport of MMA.

“(In mixed martial arts) the gold standard is to render your opponent unconscious and that’s brain damage, and that’s damaging to your health,” Sawatzky says.

Council directed staff to prepare a draft bylaw for consideration.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infotelnews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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