Fighters at a “We love MMA” event in Germany in 2017. (Photo: Sven Mandel/wikimedia.org)

CITY COUNCIL

Pro MMA fight ban considered in Surrey

Proposed bylaw would not prohibit professional or amateur boxing, among other pursuits

Surrey is looking to ban professional mixed marital arts (MMA) fights from city limits.

Council moved to draft a proposed Surrey Professional Mixed Martial Arts Events Bylaw during a public hearing on Feb. 24, with responses sought until March 20.

Last August, the city received a request from an organizer to host a MMA fight at a city facility, according to a report before the council.

“This represents the first time that the City has received such a request since 2013,” the report notes. “The City’s long-standing position on this issue is that Surrey does not support hosting professional MMA events that are regulated by the Office of the BC Athletic Commissioner.”

The full report from Rob Costanzo, General Manager of Corporate Services, is posted to surrey.ca, along with the proposed bylaw.

The bylaw would not prohibit “professional or amateur boxing, sports entertainment wrestling (where the outcome is predetermined), traditional (i.e. Greco-Roman) wrestling, single martial arts (such as karate or kung fu), or events that are held by and primarily for students who are enrolled in mixed martial arts classes offered through licensed recreational facilities, gyms or schools,” the report says.

• RELATED STORY, from 2017: MMA all the way: UFC dream comes true for Surrey’s Jeremy Kennedy.

As background, Costanzo notes that prior to 2013, B.C. municipalities were responsible to have their own athletic commissioners to regulate combat sporting events.

“Many municipalities across B.C., including Surrey, chose not to host such sporting events,” he wrote. “In this regard, a B.C. municipality could refuse hosting an event within their respective municipal jurisdiction simply by choosing not to enact their own athletic commissioner.”

In 2013, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture created the Office of the B.C. Athletic Commissioner as the regulatory body for combat sporting events in the province, including professional boxing, professional and amateur MMA, amateur kickboxing, amateur Muay Thai and amateur pankration.

The move eliminated the requirement for municipalities to have their own athletic commissioner to regulate combat sporting events, “since regulation of these events is now the responsibility of the Province,” Costanzo reported.

“Accordingly, cities that do not support the hosting of combat sports events within their respective municipal boundaries are required to enact a bylaw that specifically precludes these sporting venues from taking place both in municipally owned and privately-owned facilities.”

Concerns or comments about Surrey’s proposed bylaw can be mailed or sent to city hall, by fax (604-501-7578) or email (clerks@surrey.ca) no later than 4 p.m. on Friday, March 20.

• RELATED: Fighters not swayed by risk of head trauma in combat sports like boxing and MMA.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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