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Vernon  

Vernon bans pro MMA events

Despite some seemingly vocal opposition in the months leading up to the decision, only one person spoke out against the City of Vernon’s Mixed Martial Arts ban.

And, without any real opposition to the ban, council voted unanimously to enact the new bylaw that now prevents any future ‘professional’ MMA tournaments from happening within city limits.

The City decided a ban was needed after RCMP provided information connecting professional MMA events to organized crime.

The one man who did attend and speak against the ban felt the ban could ruin a growing interest among youths, and also said he knew without a doubt there was no money to be made in these events, hoping to quash any concerns about ties with organized crime

“I can tell you that on a local level, the sort of competitions that one gets in a small town like Vernon, there is no money in mix-martial arts at that level,” noted William Mastop, a former Vernon lawyer who was recently convicted for working with a criminal organization.

“The purses that are available, even if one wins at the upper level, and generally there is no purse available at the lower level, are so small it is laughable. They don’t remotely cover the kind of costs that an active competitor incurs.”

He adds that to him, the suggestion the sport has ties to organized crime makes no sense.

“This is an active sport, this isn’t some underground thing that is going on, it is an active sport, it is spreading,” adds Mastop. “It is my respectful submission that prohibiting the carrying on of the sport, a sport that is gaining in popularity, would be going backwards."

Council made sure to note that the new ban would not affect amateur events and that kids interested in the sport will still be fully able to participate.

The ban prevents any professional events being hosted within the city. 

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