The UFC has been riding Vancouver pretty hard to stop pussying out on MMA, and for the most part they have been eagerly pushing regulation forward in anticipation of magical MMA moneys flowing through the city. But of course there’s always a few people in power who want to keep the sport out. Check out this article from the Edmonton Sun:
The potential for an Ultimate Fighting Championship event to draw undesirable gangsters to downtown Vancouver is real, say police.
“It’s a fact,” said Sgt. Bill Whalen, spokesman for the combined forces special enforcement unit. “We’ve seen that UFC events attract some … gang or organized crime members. It’s popular with them.”
Extreme fighting is equally popular with law-abiding citizens, Whalen added.
The difference, said Irwin Cohen, a criminologist at the University of the Fraser Valley, is the demographics for mixed martial arts fans overlaps considerably with young men involved in organized crime.
“You could make the argument … in terms of a broader audience it may appeal to that classic 14- to 22-year-old male, aggressive, and some of that does fit into the organized crime or gang profile as well.”
Coun. David Cadman is demanding UFC be regulated by Sport B.C. before the city considers placing the “so-called sport” on its agenda.
Let’s be clear: The argument that gangsters would overrun the city during an event is straight up retarded. But there is truth to the idea that organized crime does get involved in MMA, at least in Canada. Quebec’s MMA scene is disturbingly wrapped up with the Hell’s Angels, and I’ve heard of some pretty extreme gangster shit going on in Alberta like one promoter having his house shot up.
This obviously isn’t an issue when we’re talking about the UFC, but you also have to consider what kind of regional promoters are going to pop up once the sport becomes legal. Still, the easiest way to deal with all this is to include detailed background checks for promoters in the regulation process.
Here’s hoping that the sergeant in this Sun article was quoted out of context, and the rest of the piece is just the Sun sucking as all ‘Sun’ named newspapers around the world do. Because it would be depressing if a real issue was being overlooked in favor of something completely idiotic.
(thanks to Zak from Watch Kalib Run for the find!)