- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 14, 2015

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Leaders in Sioux Falls have ended the city’s decade-old ban on mixed martial arts competitions at city-owned facilities, because new state regulations make the local ordinance unnecessary.

The City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to repeal the 2005 ordinance prohibiting MMA fights in city parks and buildings and requiring bouts held at private sites to be licensed by police. The action opens the door for promoters that use large venues, such as Ultimate Fighting Championship, to consider bringing events to Sioux Falls.

Doug Martin, a promoter in the sport, told KELO-TV that fan turnout at a few events held in Sioux Falls shows there is untapped potential.

“The fan base is here. They want it. It’s inevitable,” he said.

Councilwoman Christine Erickson, who led the effort to end the ban, said it was adopted during a time when the sport was largely unregulated. South Dakota last year established a regulatory athletic commission that oversees fighting sports.

“Back in 2005 there were a lot of bad actors in that industry,” Erickson said. “This sport has come a long way from what it was. Gone are the days where two people would be in the back parking lot of a bar.”

Martin, who works with fighters involved with Ultimate Fighting Championship, said UFC could potentially hold events at the Denny Sanford Premier Center.

“It’s the fastest-growing sport in the world, and the (state) commission is going to ensure the safety of the fighters,” he said.

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