UPDATE 2: The Vision Vancouver-led council heard a ton of arguments in support of MMA regulation, including from their own athletic commission, then ducked the issue entirely.
Dr Rajindar Sandhu, a member of the Vancouver Athletic Commission was visibly angry at the decison.
"I am literally pissed at this," he said. "This council does not want to make a decision. I think if we come back with the information they want, they are going to just table it again."
Council asked for a bunch more 'studies' to be done and asked for the provincial govt to take the issue over. One wonders why they're happy to let someone else tell them whether MMA can happen in their own buildings, rather than control the issue themselves. The only possible reason could be they don't want to be the ones to approve 'ultimate fighting'..
Update 1 on the Vancouver MMA regulation vote - Jeff Lee at the Vancouver Sun has got Suzanne Anton, one of the councilors who will make the ultimate call on MMA, to confirm she's in the pro-regulation camp.
“The sport has come a long way in self regulation,” Anton said in a press release. “And with additional regulation by the Vancouver Athletic Commission (VAC), I am confident these events can be relatively safe.”
Anton said mixed martial arts events draw huge crowds and could be a good economic driver for Vancouver. “A lot of people love this sport,” she said. “You could fill GM Place with one of the events.”
Anton is a member of the NPA, which ran council when they de-regulated MMA in '07, so this is a positive shift. I know at least two other councilors are also leaning pro-regulation, so we're in good shape. Should know more in the coming hours.
Word from the meeting says council is giving the sport the jaundiced eye at the moment, but their own athletic commission, the owners of the local Vancouver Canucks NHL stadium, city staff and local MMA trainers are putting up a strong fight.
Jeff Lee's article above has been updated with details.
Promoted to the front page from the FanPosts by Luke Thomas.
The media in Vancouver has been buzzing for the past week as the local council prepares to decide whether to move towards MMA regulation or spin off into some hand-wringing NIMBY wonderland.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried the latter might win out, but if it does, it won't be because of the media in this town. It's pretty clear that there's a lean towards welcoming MMA and the money, etc that follows.
Anyhoo, today the UFC's Marc Ratner, VP of regulatory affairs, gets the op-ed page in the Vancouver Sun - the paper of record in Van city.
He makes a good pitch:
In these tough economic times, I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on the economic impact a UFC event brings to a city. As an example, on April 18 we will be holding an event in Montreal’s Bell Centre, our second show in that venue. 18,000 tickets were sold two months in advance of the show - our second sell-out there in twelve months - which generated $4.6 million in ticket revenue. We’ve been told by the Bell Centre that over half of that crowd comes from outside Montreal, so the economic benefit for local businesses can be anywhere from $6 to $8 million alone for a single three-hour event.
And this isn’t a situation where the UFC comes in for one night, makes some money and leaves, never to be heard from again. We’re looking to build a sport in Vancouver, and anywhere else we go. In the last couple of years, as well as the province of Quebec, we’ve added London, Dublin, Belfast, Manchester, Birmingham, and Newcastle to the list of international cities that have welcomed the UFC locally. We will be visiting Germany in June, and close to 40 states in the United States have sanctioned the sport in the last decade, including the two states considered to be the capitals for professional combat sports, Nevada and New Jersey.
MMA is a great international sport that I am privileged to be associated with, and we would love to bring it to Vancouver so fight fans here can experience it for themselves.MMA is a great international sport that I am privileged to be associated with, and we would love to bring it to Vancouver so fight fans here can experience it for themselves.
Will the Pacific Northwest open up to the UFC? We should know more Thursday afternoon.
Feel free to visit the link above and post your thoughts.