Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Photo courtesy of VancouverTopTours.com.
Less than two years after Vancouver decided to ban mixed martial arts events from being held in the city, the majority of council members in the Vancouver Athletic Commission voted against a bill on Thursday that would once again have the city regulate the sport:
The council met to discuss a request by the commission to take charge of sanctioning events in Vancouver. But it deflected the request to the provincial level until it could gather more information on the sport’s safety and economic impacts on the city.
Only one council member, NPA Coun. Suzanne Anton, voted in favour of allowing the sport in the city, insisting on its safety and suggesting it could have a positive economic benefit.
“What happened today is we turned down a big economic opportunity for the city of Vancouver,” Anton told Sportsnet. “We’ve been considering the issue of mixed martial arts for some time now in this council. ... We have a body in place, our athletic commission, a volunteer group, and we have a process in place and I think we are now ready. I think the sport is developed far enough (and) the rules have come along.”
I would normally bash on the city’s council for not allowing such an economic boost to hit Western Canada’s biggest city, but I also have to commend them for not making ridiculous comments in the days and weeks leading up to this decision.
When the sport was banned from the city in September of ‘07 despite events being permitted to be held prior to that date, commission officials stepped up on their soapboxes and lashed out against MMA for its violence and lack of rules… clearly uneducated statements. They seem to have learned their lesson this time around. Still, the fact that the commission had ample time to come to a decision before yesterday and opted not to is something that can’t be taken lightly.
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