Courtesy: CFL Nights
Courtesy: CFL Nights

Outrage over cage fighting

A LISMORE councillor has returned his membership to the Lismore Workers Club angry the community-based organisation is allowing its premises to be used to stage the controversial ‘cage fight’ later this month.

Cr Simon Clough said he was appalled by the ‘vicious’ mixed martial arts fight and dismayed the Workers Club was encouraging the ‘blood-letting’.

“I am appalled to see public blood-letting is being encouraged,” he said.

“It is playing to the base instincts of the community and will encourage violence on our streets, domestic violence.

“We have enough of that in our community.”

“The Workers Club is a co-operative and is supposed to have the interest of the community at heart. I am just appalled.”

He joined the Australian Medical Association on calling for the event to be banned.

Promoted as the triathlon of martial arts, participants fight in a cage where they can kick and use elbows, knees and other body parts, as well as fists.

Journalist and former Wallaby second-rower Peter FitzSimons has described it as ‘a cross between Fight Club, a bar room brawl and the fall of Saigon’.

After watching one bout, he vowed never to return.

Winners are normally declared by knockout, but are also awarded points by a referee.

When the event was held in Bangalow last year one of the fighters was continually attacked while he laid unconscious on the ground.

Lismore Workers Club general manager Steve Bortolin said the club had not received any other complaints about the staging of the fight, but said if there was community outrage the club would not stage the event.

“If people feel that angry about it we would probably pull it,” he said, stressing that the club was simply hosting the event and was not the organiser or promoter.

“We host a lot of events here including male and female revues. All sorts of groups use the venue.”

The fight’s promoter Shane Balmer could not be contacted yesterday but he told The Northern Star on Tuesday the event was regulated by the Commonwealth Sports Act.

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