Civic athletic commission would regulate MMA events

The City of Castlegar is close to establishing an athletic commission — a move Florio Vassilakakis of Element says will up the ante for events held here.

“I’m definitely excited,” he said. “It’s good for the entire community.”

The possibility of establishing an athletic commission has been on city council’s radar since September 2008.

The purpose of the commission will be to oversee “regulated sports” in the community, such as professional boxing, wrestling, kickboxing and mixed martial arts (MMA.)

“Over the years the city has received a number of requests to establish such a commission,” Coun. Kirk Duff said. “This will take care of some legal issues and provide security for those participating.”

Vassilakakis, who has held four events at Element that would fall under an athletic commission’s jurisdiction, said the calibre of events held would improve.

“We go through a whole bunch of hurdles,” he said. “It’s harder to get athletes from all over.”

But Vassilakakis said the paperwork and the way events are run won’t change.

“We basically did everything an athletic commission would ask us to do but now it’s official,” he said.

The commission can require events to provide a security deposit, have medical personnel on scene and that a medical officer examine contestants and to pronounce each contestant physically fit to participate.

Mayor Lawrence Chernoff said having criteria for events in the future will take care of liabilities.

“It can say no, those events aren’t good for the community,” he said. “It’s there to protect everybody.”

If council adopts the bylaw to establish the commission, the city will then advertise for community members interested in serving on the commission.

Council will also consider adopting a bylaw to set fees and charges for the permitting of regulated sports events in Castlegar at the March 21 council meeting.