A Saint John councillor is asking the city solicitor’s office to examine the Port City's ban on mixed martial arts
Ward 4 Coun. Ray Strowbridge said he doesn't understand why mixed martial arts tournaments, made popular by the Ultimate Fighting Championship, are considered illegal in Saint John while other cities, like Moncton, can host such events.
“Look at it this way, if we're going to be open for business, we want people to come here, set up shop here. This is just another small business, another opportunity for people to come here and do this,” Strowbridge said.
"It's the entertainment value. It's the entertainment dollar for the citizens, whether you want to go to a hockey game, a basketball game, mixed martial arts. You want to go see opera? Great. It can't be whether you like it or if approve of it — that's irrelevant. We should have it here.”
At council Monday night Saint John's in-house lawyer said it's against the law to hold tournaments in the city, referring to a case from 2003 when a Saint John taekwondo instructor was convicted under the Criminal Code for sponsoring an illegal prize fight.
A mixed martial arts promoter had planned to host a fight at the Lord Beaverbrook Arena in Saint John on Sept. 22.
Complying with the ban, Ed Hoyt said he’ll have to cancel the event even though it could have brought hundreds of visitors and $250,000 to Saint John. The Cherry Brook Zoo was set to receive a portion of the ticket sales.
Hoyt said Saint John needs a regulatory commission, like in Moncton where mixed martial arts events are sanctioned by the Moncton Boxing and Wrestling Commission.