Martial arts ‘no street brawl’

ALBURY’S councillors have shown a total lack of knowledge about mixed martial arts by comparing it to street violence, a participant and fan said yesterday.

Thurgoona’s Luke Gooding said the councillors comments last week “reeked of people who did not understand the sport”.

Councillors Ross Jackson, David Thurley, Daryl Betteridge and deputy mayor Henk van de Ven said they were repulsed by the sport and they opposed a tournament being held in the city.

The council blocked an application for a cage fighting event to be held at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre in May.

They said they did not want to see any event at a council-operated facility that endorsed violence.

Mr Gooding said comparing the sport to street violence was like saying the Australian Grand Prix should be banned because it encouraged bad driving.

“Saying it endorses street violence reflects on us and we certainly don’t endorse it,” he said.

“It’s a bit offensive that we would be lumped into that category.

“If they took a closer look, they would find it’s a controlled sporting event between two highly trained and consenting athletes with strict rules of engagement.”

The mixed martial arts coach said the sport was more about the skill and discipline involved.

“The irony is that this sport has been held on the Border numerous times — just not in a cage,” he said.

“It has not got this response before.”

Another competitor, Craig Laughton, said the cage was a safety measure so people did not fall out or injure themselves.

“As a participant, we would rather compete in a cage or an enclosed area — it’s much safer.”

“There’s the danger of falling through the ropes in a normal ring.”

Mr Gooding said theirs was a legislated sport and there was nothing illegal about it.

“It’s unfair that the council wants to push its morals on to others,” he said.

“If any of the councillors are interested in forming an educated opinion about mixed martial arts, I would love to help them out.”

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