COPE councillor David Cadman compares mixed martial arts to bull, cock and dog fighting.
Just when you thought civic politics in Vancouver couldn't get any more bizarre, there appear the images of Vision Councillors Heather Deal and Kerry Jang attending a mixed martial arts event on the local nightly news. They were purportedly at the Edgewater Casino to witness all the blows to the head and bloody noses in person to determine if this "sport" is acceptable for public viewing in Vancouver. Joining both Deal and Jang was NPA Councillor (and huge MMA fan apparently) Suzanne Anton.
For those who follow the sport of MMA, you know it is not without controversy in Vancouver. Promoters have been lobbying city council for years to change the rules which have banned these type of fights in Vancouver proper. The concern of city officials continues to be what type of legal liability Vancouver would have if one of the athletes gets killed or seriously injured during an extremely violent match.
During the last term of council, the NPA decided to review the issue then request it come back to council for a final vote. This was to happen earlier this year, but the final decision was put off by a skittish appearing Vision council. It would now appear that all the jockeying for position is over and both Vision and the NPA are about to provide an endorsement to what some are calling the most violent sport on the planet.
The decision to support MMA is not unanimous with the two lone COPE councillors saying there is no way on earth they are going to support this type of activity. According to Councillor David Cadman, he doesn't even think MMA is a real sport:
Is dog fighting a sport. Is bull fighting a sport? Is cock fighting a sport?
Cadman tells CTV news (who prefaced their story on this issue with a warning to their audience that some scenes might not be suitable for their whole family):
Clearly a bunch of testosterone-pumped young people coming out of a fight like that and going into the bars is a risk and the police recognize that as a risk.
Ding. Ding. Meanwhile in the other corner are the Vision/NPA tag team who have a much different perspective on this. Here is what Heather Deal had to say after watching a bunch of jocks on stage beating the heck out of each other:
I'm enjoying it more than I expected.
As for Councillor Kerry Jang, Vancouver's Minister of Social and Community Services, here is what he told Global TV news after watching a few bloody MMA battles:
I'm actually having a lot more fun then I thought I would.
As for the lone NPA Councillor Suzanne Anton, she sums up her support this way:
I want to be on this bandwagon. Bandwagons come and go. If you wait too long and they'll be over and its a very popular sport right now. I want the UFC to come! Bring it on!
MMA is not my cup of tea. Then again...if you're drinking tea, you probably aren't into MMA.
Although MMA has been called a blood sport ...it pales in comparison to the sport of civic politics. Round one goes to Vision/NPA while the COPErs are left reeling on the floor.
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