Mixed martial arts wins fight to host events in Vernon

Events give local athletes a leg up, benefit city

Vernon’s Rylie Marchand, at a fight in Lethbridge in November 2018, is too young to legally fight in Mixed Martial Arts events in B.C. but can compete in other provinces. (Unity MMA image)

With the city in its corner, mixed martial arts has come out of the ring victorious.

MMA events are now permitted in Vernon, since council rescinded a 2014 bylaw that banned the fights.

See 2014 background: Mixed martial arts ban on hold in Vernon

The ban was originally put in place due to concerns from the city about the “apparent involvement of organized crime in MMA events.”

But Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP Supt. Shawna Baher has investigated this theory and says that is not the case.

In fact, she is only concerned about the combination of liquor and the potential for audience fights to erupt and therefore recommends overtime officers are brought in to police the events at the expense of the promoters.

“As with any event that serves alcohol I would be more concerned with the behaviour of individuals within the audience attempting to emulate what they observed during and after the event,” said Baher in her report to Vernon council.

See: Vernon contemplates mixed martial arts events

Vernon’s Unity MMA head coach Raja Kler is thrilled with the decision to bring events back to town.

“I look forward to seeing future events for our competitors to showcase their skills in our hometown. The sport has grown and evolved quite a bit over the last few years and has become mainstream. You can see now with the UFC being on ESPN as well you can watch any of these events on pay-per-view,” said Kler.

“I am very excited to see my sport and art grow as well as being able for Unity’s competitors and athletes to showcase their skills and promote the art in Vernon. I would like to say a special thanks to Kelly Fehr and all the members of city council and all the supporters out there. I have only heard positive responses.”

See: Vernon’s Unity MMA strikes gold

It is also great news for the six local athletes who normally have to spend a lot of time and money to travel to events.

Like 27-year-old Kenny Pope, who won first round rear naked choke for Welterweight title in Vancouver on Feb. 22.

Vernon is actually ideal for fights, added Kler, due to being near both Kamloops and Kelowna.

“Very central and if we can rent the right venues there will be a good future in Vernon for MMA and our athletes,” he said.

Meanwhile provincial age restrictions still prohibit Vernon’s Rylie Marchand from competing. Despite being at the top of her class, Marchand is 17 and the B.C. Athletic Commissioner rules do not allow anyone under 19 to fight. She can still do exhibition grappling matches.

See: Vernon’s Unity MMA fighters show heart

 

Kenny Pope won in the first round by way of a rear naked choke to take the Welterweight title in Vancouver Feb. 22. (Unity MMA image)

Just Posted

Vernon man arrested with meat cleaver pleads not guilty to cop assault

Kyle Frances Larue allegedly assaulted RCMP with bear spray, meat cleaver

North Okanagan district offers tips for waste reduction

The district is emailing tips during Waste Reduction Week, Oct. 21-27

On the campaign trail: North Okanagan photographer gets up close to MP candidates

Salmon Arm’s Kristal Burgess produced photo essays for fourShuswap-North Okanagan candidates

Memorial remembers Vernon’s most marginalized

Prayers and flowers for those who have died on the streets

One year later: Vernon pot stores look back at legalization

Edibles made legal on first anniversary of recreational cannabis

Spotlight on B.C.: Liberals need at least 10 B.C. ridings to take the election

Black Press Media presents a four-part series into how B.C. will affect the federal election outcome

Kelowna pot shop looks to the future on Canada’s first cannibersary

Kelowna’s Hobo Recreational Cannabis store has been in operation since July 25, 2019

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

MITCHELL’S MUSINGS: Election brings a colourful array of elections signs

Morning Start: The whale known as Moby Dick

Your morning start for Friday, Oct. 18

Wood pellet supply a concern for Salmon Arm business

Prices increase after Pinnacle Renewable Energy steps away from bag sales

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Most Read