Vernon set to host first MMA event in 10 years

Fighting back, after a ten years of being frozen out in Vernon, mixed martial arts events are returning to the north Okanagan city.

After lifting a ban on mixed martial arts fighting, Vernon will soon be hosting its first MMA event in 10 years.

In September 2014, Vernon city council, citing perceived ties between the sport and organized crime, passed a bylaw that prohibited professional MMA events in the city.

WATCH BELOW: Vernon to host first MMA event in 10 years

Four months ago, though, council tapped out on its concerns and decided to rescind the bylaw.

The unanimous decision by councilors came after the city received confirmation from police that MMA events were not going to bring organized crime to the area.

RCMP not worried about MMA fights bringing organized crime to Vernon

In statement to council, RCMP Supt. Shawna Baher expressed more apprehension about serving alcohol at such an event than links to organized crime.

“I would be more concerned with the behaviour of individuals within the audience attempting to emulate what they observed at the event,” said Baher.

WATCH BELOW (Aired March 27, 2019): Vernon moves towards lifting its ban on professional MMA fights

On Thursday, Raja Kler of Unity MMA in Vernon and promoter Saverio Loria announced a sanctioned, 20-fight event that will take place Aug. 24 at the Vernon Curling Rink.

The event, titled ‘Unbanned,’ will feature a 30-foot octagon plus competitors from Vernon, Kelowna and Kamloops.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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