The City of Vernon isn’t disclosing why it has suddenly abandoned professional fights.
Council will not consider applications for professional boxing, kick-boxing or mixed martial arts until legislation for a provincial athletic commission proceeds this fall.
“We have received some confidential information about professional sports that has led to us making that decision,” said Mayor Rob Sawatzky.
Sawatzky was not willing to provide further details and admits he is uncomfortable with the situation.
“We don’t like to be unable to fully inform the public. It doesn’t fit our views of how a democracy works,” he said.
Other council members are also remaining quiet.
“No comment. I’ll let the mayor’s comments stand for what they are,” said Coun. Bob Spiers.
Vernon formed a local athletic commission in 2006 to ensure event insurance is in place as well as safety standards for competitors and officials.
Coun. Brian Quiring, a member of the Vernon Athletic Commission, would not elaborate on council’s stance.
“We want to see what the province is going to do,” he said.
In May, the Ministry of Community Development announced plans for a provincial athletic commissioner. The agency would regulate and supervise professional boxing, kick-boxing and mixed martial arts in B.C.
It’s not known when the provincial commission will be operational.
Coun. Juliette Cunningham defends the city’s actions.
“Because the province is taking it on, we thought we would wait,” she said.
When asked about council not approving event applications, Vernon Athletic Commission chairperson Kyle Watts said, “I am not aware of this.”