Let's get ready to rumble

Let's get ready to rumble.

Several years after it was banned by the city council of the day, mixed martial arts is back in town for an event Aug. 24.

The ban was originally put into place due to police concerns over alleged connections to organized crime, but earlier this year city council lifted the ban with the blessing of the RCMP.

Organizers immediately began plans to hold and event in Vernon.

XFC Unbanned will be a licensed, all-ages event put on by Saverio Loria of Loria Group Entertainment, former professional fighter Bill Mahood of Mahood MMA and Raja Kler of Unity MMA.

The fights will be held at the Vernon curling rink.

“I am absolutely excited to be showcasing Vernon's skilled and talented fighters,” said Kler who is the head coach and owner of Unity MMA.

When asked if they organizers of Unbanned are connected to organized crime, they couldn't help but chuckle.

“Absolutely not,” said Loria, adding all gang colours will be banned from the event and security is in place from the moment people walk through the front door.

Kler said the banning of MMA in Vernon likely had more to do with politics than crime concerns.

“It is probably the most sanctioned sport on BC when it comes to amateur sports and professionals,” said Kler. “If the province was willing to sanction it, I think people maybe saw it was little bit of politics.”

Kler said sports in general are good for youths, adults and the community and events like Unbanned will bring people together.

There will be seven fighters from Vernon, as well as two from Kelowna and two from Penticton. Other fighters will be coming from other parts of BC and Alberta.

Loria said the fights will be a family event.

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