Councillor explores MMA ban

Dean Lewis (left) was hospitalized after his MMA fight against Eric Perez in Winnipeg on Friday....

Dean Lewis (left) was hospitalized after his MMA fight against Eric Perez in Winnipeg on Friday. (Sun Media/Brian Donogh)

PAUL TURENNE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 3:35 PM ET

A Winnipeg city councillor is musing about banning mixed martial arts fights in the city in light of a bloodbath at the Winnipeg Convention Centre Friday night that will likely end a fighter's career.

"We don't allow dog fighting and we don't allow cock fighting in Winnipeg, so why would we allow people to beat each other's brains in at the Convention Centre?" said Coun. Grant Nordman, the councillor for St. Charles and a member of the Convention Centre's board.

"I've asked the (protection and community services) department to see where it falls into our current by-law structure and whether we have the capacity to ban such activities."

Mixed martial arts have become a hugely popular sport over the past few years, with the Ultimate Fighting Championship leading the pack by filling arenas around the world, racking up pay-per-view revenues every month, and producing fighters whose names are gaining more and more star power. The sport is similar to kick boxing but also includes a wrestling-like ground component where fighters can attempt submission holds on their opponent or punch, knee, and kick them when they're down.

Last Friday, Alberta fighter Dean Lewis was hospitalized after taking a blood-soaked pounding at an MMA event at the Winnipeg Convention Centre, and doctors have said he should never fight again.

"Where there's no injury, there's no foul, but at the end of the day, when there's a tragedy ... I just think we have to protect our city's name and our convention centre," Nordman said. "These athletes will find a place to do it even if it's in Plum Coulee, but does the city have to participate in it?"

Nordman, a former junior hockey player, said he recognizes there is "a place for testosterone in the world" but that MMA is different than the "controlled violence" in sports like football and hockey.

Nordman said he is not a fan of boxing or hockey fights either.


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