Mixed Martial Arts promoter Shane Balmer prepares the cage for Saturday night’s event at the Lismore Workers Club.
Mixed Martial Arts promoter Shane Balmer prepares the cage for Saturday night’s event at the Lismore Workers Club. CATHY ADAMS

Club cage fights ready to rumble

ALMOST 50 per cent of Northern Star readers who responded to an online poll believe Lismore Workers Club should not play host to cage fighting.

But in spite of those figures the cage has been erected and the fighting is less than 36 hours away.

Underground MMA event promoter Shane Balmer has met much controversy since his travelling show dropped anchor in Lismore – but controversy follows him everywhere and conflict he is used too.

As they say in the business: ‘the show must go on’.

“I can understand that it is not everyone’s cup of tea, but people need to understand that these fighters are not thugs or bullies – they are professionally trained athletes.”

Balmer has seen a lot; aside from stints as a bodybuilder and kickboxer he has held posts as a police dog handler in the RAF and a squad commander in a maximum security prison.

He is a strict disciplinarian, and as Australia’s No 1 MMA fight promoter he is largely responsible for the image of the sport – a task he doesn’t take lightly.

“Our sport demands a high degree of sportsmanship and we accept no deviation whatsoever,” he said.

“It is a neverending battle at the moment to be accepted into the world of mainstream sport but slowly we are winning that battle.”

Far from the image of brawlers and bullies, Balmer claims that the men he deals with around the sport are some of the most respectable he has met – that they are in tune with all positive aspects of human nature.

He hopes keen spectators do not feel public pressure and stay away. “I understand people’s grievances but every event I have people, often women, come and tell me they are glad they got dragged along,” he said.

The event is open to the public on Saturday night and Balmer doesn’t mind if you don’t like the sport, he just wants you to make up your mind for yourself.



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