PUNCH SUNK: Councillors clear cage fighting not welcome here 

EDITORIAL:Council rejects 'brutal' sport

ALBURY Council has ruled out a cage fighting event being held at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre.

The council’s general manager Frank Zaknich last night confirmed his staff had been informally approached regarding a “boxing night”, before organisers and media reports revealed the event was cage fighting.

The proposal has been met with anger by councillors that a city-owned venue could be suggested for such an event.

Mr Zaknich said the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre wasn’t equipped to host the sport and he ruled out the venue with organisers.

Promoters of the sport had been looking at interstate venues after it was banned in Victoria.

Cr Ross Jackson, the chairman of the advisory committee for the stadium, was furious at the prospect of the event being staged there.

“I don’t want to see something that endorses violence being held in a council-operated facility,” he said.

Cr David Thurley said he was repulsed at the thought of any cage fighting tournament being held in Albury.

“It is the most disgusting, repugnant and vicious thing I’ve ever seen,” he said.

“If it was the David Thurley stadium and they allowed that to happen I would ask for my name to be taken off.

“How could we keep a straight face and condemn people for punching each other in Dean Street if we allowed this to go ahead?”

Cr Daryl Betteridge confirmed he had raised his concerns about cage fighting with Mr Zaknich.

“I’ve posed the question ‘is it an appropriate message Albury Council is giving the community?’” he said.

Deputy mayor Henk van de Ven said he was opposed to the sport being held at any venue in the city.

“I would be vehemently opposed to it happening in Albury full stop,” he said.

“There wouldn’t be much I could do about that, but I can have some input into it not happening at a facility owned by Albury Council.”

Melbourne-based mixed martial arts fighter and promoter Adam Milankovic was interviewed on Channel Seven’s Sunrise program about the Albury event.

Follow-up reports suggested the event would be held at Lauren Jackson Sports Centre in May and would attract a crowd of 5000 people.

A local spokesman last night disputed the suggestion the council had been “misled” about staging a cage fight.

“The Australian Fighting Championships and us are assessing all our options including finding another venue,” he said.

Mr Zaknich said the centre wasn’t equipped to host cage fighting and the predicted crowd would present a safety issue.

Mr Zaknich also confirmed event organisers had not completed the formal application process.

“Private operators wanting to hire the (stadium) for sporting events are required to complete a formal booking application,” he said.

“We wish organisers well in locating a venue.”

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