- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 23, 2015

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A Sioux Falls city councilwoman wants to end the city’s decade-old ban on mixed martial arts competitions at city-owned facilities such as the Denny Sanford Premier Center.

The City Council in 2005 adopted a policy prohibiting MMA fights in city parks and buildings and required bouts held at private sites to be licensed with the police department, which screens fight promoters to ensure they carry liability insurance, have qualified medical personnel on site and adequate event security.

The move came in reaction to an increase in the number of organized fighting events without any government oversight, but the policy is keeping the sport’s biggest promotion companies away, possibly hurting the local economy, Councilwoman Christine Erickson told the Argus Leader (https://argusne.ws/1iLMfTE ).

“It’s really not a debate about the sport itself,” she said.

South Dakota last year established a regulatory athletic commission that oversees fighting sports, and Erickson believes local rules are no longer necessary.

“State regulations have 48 pages of rules and regulations that this athletic commission must adhere to,” Erickson said. “The repeal of the (city) ordinance . isn’t about if you enjoy a particular event or not. This is simply allowing it at a city-owned facility.”

Athletic Commission Executive Director Jennifer Stalley and Police Capt. Rich Miller said state rules are more stringent than Sioux Falls’ rules.

State regulations require certified referees and judges to officiate bouts, and at least two members of the athletic commission must be on site for every MMA event held in South Dakota.

“At any time, the commission has the right to stop the event, whether that’s for not following our rules or not having everything in place before it’s time for the event to start or, in the case of fighters, if they’re not participating in the way they’re supposed to,” Stalley said.

The council will act on Erickson’s proposal later.

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Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com

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