Vernon's mixed martial arts ban lifted - InfoNews

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Vernon's mixed martial arts ban lifted

Athletes from Unity MMA, a mixed martial arts training dojo in Vernon, are pictured in this undated photo.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Hassan Behgouei Photography
March 25, 2019 - 4:58 PM

VERNON - Competitive mixed martial arts events will once again be welcome in Vernon.

Vernon council voted unanimously to rescind a 2014 bylaw which outlawed competitive MMA fights in the city. The scrapping of the bylaw passed without any discussion or comments from councillors.

In 2014 the then council banned competitive MMA fights from being held in the city. One of the reasons given at the time was the sport's perceived association with gang culture. Earlier this month, council asked RCMP Supt. Shawna Baher for her evaluation of whether the perceived connection with organized crime was real.

In Baher's report to council, the police chief says she doesn't think MMA events would bring organized crime to the city. She does, however, state the RCMP's concern if alcohol was served at events. 

"I would be more concerned with the behaviour of individuals within the audience attempting to emulate what they observed during and after the event," Baher says in the report. To mitigate this issue she recommends events are sufficiently policed and the bill for the extra officers must be paid by the promoter.

Mixed martial arts events in the province are currently governed by the B.C. Athletic Commissioner who has a wealth of conditions the events have to follow. Any MMA event that comes to Vernon in the future would have to be sanctioned by the commissioner.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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