Fighting words

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

A mixed martial arts card will be held at the Convention Centre tonight for the first time since a fighter suffered serious head injuries there last month.

Winnipeg city councillor Grant Nordman will not be in attendance.

"I was offered tickets, but I told them to donate them to the brain injury association," Nordman said. "... I hope it's an uneventful event. There will be the usual blood and guts, but I hope nobody gets badly hurt."

The councillor wants the city to look into potentially banning MMA cards at the Convention Centre. His declaration last month came after Dean Lewis of Fort McMurray, Alta., spent five days in hospital after suffering, among other injuries, a subdural hematoma, a severe concussion and a broken orbital bone during the inaugural CFC card on Feb. 6.

"I haven't changed my opinion," Nordman said. "I'm waiting for the civil service to come back with a report about whether this is the type of entertainment we should be sanctioning in the city of Winnipeg."

Lewis is recovering from his injuries back in Fort McMurray. He feels no ill effects five weeks after the fight against Eric Perez, although he had a titanium plate surgically inserted in his face last week to fix the orbital fracture.

Lewis also plans to fight again, even though his Winnipeg doctor told him he shouldn't.

"Yeah, he recommended it, but he doesn't know me," Lewis said. "He doesn't know what I'm capable of. If my doctors think I'm physically healthy enough to do it, I'll be in there for sure."

Tonight's 11-fight card is an Ultimate Cage Wars event called "Friday the 13th Massacre." Promoter Tony Condello had nothing to do with last month's card, but he believes he's the one paying the price for what happened.

Not only have Manitoba Boxing Commission and Convention Centre fees gone up, according to Condello, but the long-time promoter feels tonight's card will be under unfair scrutiny because of last month's incident, but especially due to Nordman's comments.

Condello said he tried to speak with Nordman but was rebuffed. That had Condello fuming during last night's weigh-ins at the Off-Campus Social Club in Fort Garry.

"I want to know from the gentleman, if he can call himself a gentleman: Who is he to say, 'Ban mixed martial arts'? What does he know about mixed martial arts. He wasn't even at the event to start with," Condello said.

"The council should think (about) how to make more money for the city, not to take it away. And everyone that I know as a voter, if he ever runs again, I will tell them personally to not vote for that guy.

"Let him talk to me, if he's man enough to answer my questions, which I believe he's not."

MBC representatives at last night's weigh-ins referred all commission questions to chairman Dr. Henry Janzen, who was out of town and unavailable for comment.

Tonight's main event features California's Ferrid Kheder and Calgary's Graydon Tannas. The semi-main event pits Chris Stranger of Peguis against Jay Alexander of Orangeville, Ont.

"I'm in the best shape of my life," Stranger said. "I'm in better shape than I was when I was 18."

Also tonight, Saskatchewan Roughriders offensive lineman Mike Abou-Mechrek will arm-wrestle an unnamed Blue Bomber at the intermission. The 50/50 proceeds and other money raised from the grudge match will go to breast cancer research.

In addition, UFC star Joe (Daddy) Stevenson will be on hand to sign autographs between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Contact Condello at 229-9173 for VIP tickets or visit ticketmaster.ca.


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