Councillor counters MMA promoter's 'bluster'

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 5:03 AM ET

A city councillor and local mixed martial arts promoter are having quite the match outside of the cage.

Winnipeg Coun. Grant Nordman fired back at Ultimate Cage Wars promoter Tony Condello yesterday after Condello, in an interview with the Winnipeg Sun on Thursday, lambasted him for suggesting MMA be banned in city-owned facilities like the Convention Centre.

Condello claimed Thursday that Nordman refused to speak to him about the subject, saying he wasn't man enough to do so and that he doesn't know anything about the sport.

Nordman wasn't about to take that sitting down.

"The comments made by Mr. Tony Condello, as they appeared in the Friday, March 13th edition of the Winnipeg Sun, are quite appalling," Nordman wrote in a letter to the Sun.

"Despite claims to the contrary, I am well versed in the sport of boxing. My father was for some time a boxing coach. He helped me to develop a respect for the sport, both as a form of entertainment as well as an activity with potentially fatal consequences.

"The difference between boxing and MMA is that boxing has rules, whereas it appears that MMA does not."

Nordman's claim that MMA doesn't have any rules, despite being sanctioned by the Manitoba Boxing Commission, had Condello seething at last night's UCW 15: Friday the 13th Massacre show at the Convention Centre.

Condello, in fact, challenged Nordman to a public, face-to-face debate about the issue. It sounds like Nordman might be up for something like that.

"I do not have time for persons who claim to have attempted to talk to me and then make rash statements about my personal character," Nordman wrote. "If Mr. Tony Condello, or any other person for that matter, wishes to discuss their concerns with me in an open and frank manner, they are free to do so at their leisure."

The war of words stems from an MMA card last month at the Convention Centre in which an Alberta fighter suffered serious head injuries and spent five days in hospital.

Nordman called for city officials to look into whether or not MMA events should be held at public facilities like the Convention Centre four days after Dean Lewis of Fort McMurray, Alta., suffered a subdural hematoma, facial fractures and a severe concussion.

Nordman said he's not alone in his belief.

"I know full well that my views on this subject are most definitely not appreciated by a minority of persons," he wrote. "Many of the pro-MMA comments leveled at me were filled with ample helpings of bluster and threats.

"... The vast majority of those messages received from St. Charles Ward residents agree that we need to take some time to consider what kinds of activities occur in facilities that are paid for through their taxes."

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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