Thursday, January 07, 2010
UFC 115 Cleared for Vancouver June 12
Vancouver city council has cleared the way for professional mixed martial arts fights in the city, and now organizers are hoping to stage an Ultimate Fighting Championship at General Motors Place in mid-June next year.
It was confirmed that the date has been set for Jine 15, 2010 at GM Place.
The Vancouver police department has raised no objections to professional MMA fights being held in the city, council was told.
UFC spokesman Lawrence Epstein was clearly delighted with council’s decision and he said the long debate “was clearly one of the most thoughtful I’ve heard.”
“We’re very pleased with the result,” Epstein said. “It’s important for this issue to be considered. Once people understand what this sport’s all about, they generally reach this conclusion.
“We’ve actually never lost a vote like this anywhere in the world. It’s an education process and the process worked well in Vancouver today.”
Back in December, the promotion cleared a legislative hurdle in holding an event within the city limits of the 2010 Winter Olympic host site; the Vancouver city council agreed to sanction events as part of a two-year pilot program.
The ruling was a clear victory for Canadian fans who have long waited to see a UFC event in the Pacific Northwest city.
Although the city previously hosted MMA shows, the council backed away from the sport in September 2007 when lawyers determined the city was exposed to liability if there was a mishap during one of the shows.
Technically, the sport is not approved under the country’s criminal code, but the government has not blocked MMA shows in Montreal, Edmonton and Calgary. The UFC source said the promotion planned to lobby the Canadian government to change the law.
Vancouver’s pilot program calls for a $1 seat tax at MMA events to fund the Vancouver Athletic Commission’s new duties. The program also calls for new medical and safety procedures and strict insurance requirements for promoters.
Although the city has just reopened its doors to the sport, several MMA gyms thrive in the area, including Revolution Fight Team, where UFC vets Bill Mahood and Denis Kang have trained. Vancouver is a hot bed for MMA in Canada. Vancouver is home to 7th degree Carlson Gracie black belt Marcus Soares and some of the most promising MMA fighters in the country.
No match-ups are rumored for the June 12 event, which follows the UFC's third annual trip to Montreal's Bell Centre on May 1. After hosting just two Canadian shows to date, the UFC now plans to do two Canadian shows in a mere six-week span.