ALBURY’S mayor Kevin Mack last night said he would welcome cage fighting in the city.
While Cr Mack said it wasn’t his “cup of tea”, he would be more than happy to have the event in the city because it brought in tourist dollars.
His comments come less than a week after the council ruled out holding the event at the city-owned Lauren Jackson Sports Centre, with a group of councillors labelling the sport disgusting.
Yesterday, Melbourne-based mixed martial arts fighter and promoter Adam Milankovic said he was confident of finding a venue in Albury for a May tournament.
Mr Milankovic yesterday visited possible Albury sites, including the Kinross Woolshed Hotel.
Cr Mack denied the Council had been inconsistent by offering support to find a venue after four councillors had spoken strongly against it.
He said the only reason the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre was refused was because it did not meet space requirements.
Cr Mack said Council was “more than happy” to have the event in the city.
“It brings money and people into Albury,” he said.
“The personal views of the councillors are irrelevant because we have no say in it.
“We have no power to ban a legal sport.
“If I was a promoter, I’d put it in Kinross because it has all the facilities to do it.”
Mr Milankovic began looking at interstate venues after cage fighting was banned in Victoria.
He said he’d met Council staff to show his was a legitimate business capable of bringing revenue to the area.
“They were great, they had no complaints when they met us,” Mr Milankovic said.
He said cage fighting was a misunderstood sport and comparisons to street fighting were “crazy”.
Albury Race Club chief John Miller said Mr Milankovic had visited the venue but had found it unsuitable.
Mr Milankovic said the SS & A club was unsuitable as he wanted an outdoor event.
Cr David Thurley, who had said he was repulsed at the thought of cage fighting in Albury, said he respected the right of Council staff to facilitate an event.
“I won’t be there and I encourage the people of Albury to show their dislike by not going,” he said.
Visiting NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said it wasn’t the force’s place to say whether the sport should be banned in NSW.
“So long as those who attend and those involved don’t break the law, there’s not a lot that we’d have to say,” he said.