Professional mixed martial arts (MMA) was choked out of Vancouver for the foreseeable future Thursday as councillors decided to again lobby to establish a provincial regulatory body for the increasingly popular sport.
“It really should be with the province,” said Vision Coun. Heather Deal. “It shouldn’t be a patchwork of city-by-city regulations and sanctioning bodies.”
Suzanne Anton, the lone councillor in favour of city-sanctioned MMA fights, said the decision only “delayed and deferred” the issue.
The city put a moratorium on sanctioning MMA events in 2007 while it requested — through the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) — the establishment of a provincial body to regulate professional fighting competitions.
The UBCM rejected Vancouver’s request in September. It was noted that while some cities banned the fights, others sanctioned and promoted them.
Deal said Vancouver was not closing the door on MMA and requested that staff report on the legal liabilities and economic benefits/impacts of city-sanctioned fights.
COPE Coun. Ellen Woodsworth said that despite the sport’s popularity, she had concerns about whether society “wants to go toward more and more violent sports.”