Professional mixed martial arts competitions have been banned by Vernon city council.

Professional mixed martial arts competitions have been banned by Vernon city council.

Professional MMA officially banned in Vernon

The RCMP had indicated such events can involve organized crime.

Most mixed martial arts activities have been tossed.

The City of Vernon will continue to allow amateur MMA events, but professional competitions have been banned with the adoption of a bylaw Monday.

“There’s been some concern from the RCMP about some of the people who organize or are involved,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham.

The city started the process to ban MMA events because the RCMP had indicated such events can involve organized crime.

“Those events aren’t good for the community,” said Coun. Brian Quiring.

City staff had originally recommended banning all MMA activities, but council decided to allow amateur events, particularly for youth, to continue.

“Events run by amateurs should still be able to operate,” said Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe.

Before the bylaw was unanimously passed by council Monday, a public input session was held. Only one person provided feedback on the city’s plans.

“On a local level in the competition you get in a small town, there is no money at that level,” said self-described MMA fan William Mastop of the suggested links to crime.

“The purses on the line, even at the upper level, are so small they are laughable.”

Mastop also says the city is banning something many people enjoy.

“This is an active sport, not some underground thing,” he said.

“It’s a recognized sport and it’s growing.”