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Why is Vancouver So Scared of MMA Fans?

There is mounting evidence to suggest that the city of Vancouver – and indeed the entire province of British Columbia – views MMA and its fans as a roving band of savages who are going to storm the town with torches and two-by-fours, burning every building and raping every damsel before climbing on their snarling horses and moving on to pillage the next village. At least that’s the impression we get from a number of local news reports leading up to June’s UFC 131. First there were reports from the Vancouver Courier that the police chief in The Couv was asking the UFC to foot the bill for extra cops outside the Rogers Arena during the event. The UFC rightly said no to that request last week. Now older reports are beginning to surface that the local government squashed a planned MMA expo last year and even one (from our own M-Russ in his previous incarnation at The Fight Network) alleging that area nightclubs tried to ban Affliction clothing as far back as 2007.

So, what gives? Why so petrified, Vancouver? Did somebody forget to tell them Brock Lesnar’s probably not even going to show up now? We hate to break the news this way, but the UFC has actually been doing shows all over the world for kind of a lot of years now and all of them – as far as we know – are still standing and operational as, you know, cities. From where we’re sitting it seems way more dangerous to say, have your team win the NBA championship than host a UFC event. Oh, wait. Sorry. Forgot. Anyway, more on this story, the UFC’s reaction and the possible roots of Vancouver’s MMA phobia after the jump.

Much of the current hysteria appears to stem from a bump in calls to police in the wake of UFC 115 last summer, particularly one sort of nasty act of violence. In that incident, a gay couple was beaten by two men while returning to their home in the hours after UFC 115. For whatever reason – thought they’ve been a little coy about it – police believe the men responsible may have been all charged up after watching Rich Franklin KO Chuck Liddell that night. Here it is from the most recent Courier report:

“Police have not linked the beating to the UFC event, although (one of the victims) said in an interview a few days after the incident that he believed his attackers attended the fights at Rogers Arena.”

So that seems vague. According to the Courier, other incidents of concern following UFC 115 included “public drinking, rowdy drunks and public urination before and after the UFC event.” You know, sort of like what happens any time there is any sort of significant gathering  of fans for a sporting event, concert or large scale happening. Fact is, you’re always going to have a few idiots sprinkled in with the rest of the crowd.

Inexplicably, BC seems to have decided that MMA fans are also prone to “gang activity,” though if there are any MMA-centric gangs out there, we’ve never heard of them. It’s not like the Hells Angels, Crips or Latin Kings are known to mobilize for UFC events. Apparently however, the powers that be believe these gangs exist, and that they fancy $60 fashion T-shirts as their colors. Dude, those aren’t gangs. They’re just douchebags.

Anyhow, “gang concerns” were the reasons given last year when authorities reportedly told a promoter his planned MMA expo could not include “two people competing in any manner.” As result of finding out that no MMA, jiu-jitsu or kickboxing could be expo’d at his expo, the promoter canceled the event.

That pretty much brings us up to date, when Vancouver asked the UFC to pay for extra cops around Rogers Arena next month. The company said no, with Director of Canadian Operations Tom Wright explaining in an email to MMA Fighting: “We remain supportive of law enforcement in every city we bring shows to, (but) we weren’t prepared to be ‘treated differently’ than other events/concerts/shows.”

As it stands, it doesn’t seem like this sticking point will threaten the viability of UFC 131. On the other hand, it does kind of feel like British Columbia needs to chill the fuck out.

Cagepotato Comments

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just some dong- May 17, 2011 at 10:16 am
Hey, uh, "nicky" (ugh...), nothing you said had any bearing on what I stated. Of course alcohol plays a role in douchbags acting extra-douchey. That's why I've been shocked to see hard liquor being served at UFC events (no shit). I didn't say that every MMA show ends up in a riot -- that's ridiculous. But you can't argue that it's an extremely rowdy scene that often sparks violence. So it stands to reason that certain places won't care for it. MMA is right in your living room if you want it, in glorious HD -- and if you've actually been to an MMA event, then you already know that the best seat in the house is the one that's actually in your house. The sport is all over the place these days as well -- one can easily take a road trip to catch a live show from just about anywhere. I just don't understand all the fuss.
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Gladheateher- May 16, 2011 at 5:03 pm
In the Vancouver night life scene you are asked to scan your ID to gain entry. Then "Gang Squad" police often make an appearance and sweep through the place to see whos wearing what. If you have visible tattoo's or wear clothing that has been flagged as "gang apparel" then you are stopped for questioning, sometimes you see these guys escorted out of the club.

Bottom line im all for it, however I think its bullshit that the VPD in part with Vancouver's governing bodys are using it all as a precedent to cancel the event.
In reality this is about the VPD not getting a big enough payoff from the UFC. VPD is always in the news with rampant corruption.
Spicymeatball- May 16, 2011 at 4:35 pm
Fuck the police.
noizy- May 16, 2011 at 3:37 pm
Can't we just blame rap music or video games like we used to in the good old days?
JCVD as Timecop- May 16, 2011 at 2:48 pm
I love Vancouver and I lived there for a long time, but this is completely typical of the people in that city. They cop-up every event and all of the whiners come out of the woodwork to give everything a bad name. Trust me, it's not just MMA; look at any big specialty event that isn't a music concert in Vancouver and you'll see this sort of thing every time.
Like I said, I loved living there and I love the city, but it's still a BC town, complete with whining assholes and entitled, self-righteous 'ists.
nickyroose- May 16, 2011 at 2:18 pm
Hey Dong brain I live in the bay area. Strikeforce shows? Zero riots, Raiders games? I saw dudes steal a child's jersey and burn it. (to be fair it was the broncos). The worry is not the effectiveness of the viewers in violence, it is the amount of alcohol imbibed. Tell me that hsit ain't true in every single event. Don't believe me try to get a beer in after the 7th inning in any ballpark in the MLB.
Craigger12- May 16, 2011 at 1:10 pm
The Couv? Really?

And yeah, fuck affliction shirts.
just some dong- May 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm
Whoever wrote this article must have never attended a live MMA event before, because every one I've been to has been extremely rowdy, and fights regularly break out amongst fans. It's easy (and fun) to pick on Canada as a bunch of pussies, but frankly, I can see why certain places don't want this shit around. I'm not putting down the sport at all -- just the fucking dickwad fans who come in droves and ruin the experience for everyone else. Let's face it: MMA promotions cater to the lowest common denominator of spectator, and that's exactly who shows up. MMA doesn't need to be legalized everywhere. Either Buy the PPV or take a road trip to watch the show like the rest of us.
Bob Reilly- May 16, 2011 at 12:29 pm
The Nucks are in the semi's. Lets hope the NHL is paying for extra cops.
google- May 16, 2011 at 11:52 am
So Mike Russel got his ass kicked after 115?
layzboybc- May 16, 2011 at 10:59 am
Obviously this is all ridiculous as we all know that every MMA fan is a upstanding citizen hahah but It's easy for people that don't know and understand our sport to be afraid of a large group of guys who are well versed in the art of fighting pilling into an arena (as a large number of MMA views are themselves practitioners) what are the police gonna do if a large group organize I am sure is the fear you dont want your police force going in against 100 guys that know how to knock people out and strangle a person unconscious with relative ease. From that angle it is clear to see the city's fear. However like was stated in the article there is really no reason for that fear given that were basically the same as every sport. Almost everyone there is there for the right reasons to watch the fights but there is always gonna be a few idiots who are lookin to start trouble.
Stak40- May 16, 2011 at 10:57 am
The clothes ban is too funny to me. Most places in America ban overly baggy clothes, jerseys, hat or hats not straight forward, tennis shoes etc.
steampunk22- May 16, 2011 at 10:36 am
Vancouver City Council has set a precedent that they're not so hot on MMA though, thats for sure. But yeah, the stupid clothing thing was in place for a long time, mostly as a result of douchebags and gangsters getting aggressive at the bar.
Trouser Snake- May 16, 2011 at 10:35 am
In a province with dope that good, they should be chilled out enough.
steampunk22- May 16, 2011 at 10:30 am
The problem here is the assumption that MMA is the sole reason for Vancouver and the VPD's paranoia. This is totally false. The problem is that Vancouver has a history of riotous behavior. Vancouver had riots after the '93-'94 Stanley Cup Finals, and there were also riots after the cancelled Guns N Roses concert. Both times, the police were caught off guard and things went badly. Vancouver never really forgot either of these events. Granted, its a little bit odd that the VPD is asking for the UFC to foot the bill for extra policing, but the addition of extra policing around a big event is pretty standard for Vancouver. Anytime the Canucks near elimination in the playoffs, the riots always get brought up by the media, policing always increases. And the clothing thing, that has little to nothing to do with MMA. Most clubs in Vancouver ban 'Jersey Shore' style clothing as those brands had been correlated with aggressive patrons in bars etc. Its not just Afflication, you can't wear Ed Hardy or any of that other shit. But thats got nothing to do with MMA.
El Guapo- May 16, 2011 at 10:23 am
Any country that harbors a kingpin-shotcaller-big baller like UFC JayT is playing with fire..
SonOfSerbia- May 16, 2011 at 10:22 am
the mountees need extra police staff to scoop all the poop from their horses, to insure that MMA fans don't engage in a giant drunken horse-poo fight, thus is tradition in Vancouver after sporting events.
nickyroose- May 16, 2011 at 10:20 am
I am sorry but I agree with Vancouver. All nightclubs should ban affliction Tee shirts.
jayray- May 16, 2011 at 10:10 am
obviously I feel no need to defend MMA or it's fans. But just a little context for you so this bullshit makes a little more sense. Vancouver has a major gang problem. I know a lot of big city Americans might laugh at that but it's true. The Triads, H.A., Russians, U.N., MS-13...blah blah blah, the list goes on. It scares a lot of people. And of course where ever there are scared people you will find politicians ready to exploit that fear. It doesnt matter if the politicians do anything meaningful, just as long as it looks like there doing something. One of the latest scapegoats is MMA.
Mdollas- May 16, 2011 at 10:00 am
Im from BC, and I support MMA to the fullest. It sucks though, my Town wont sanction MMA, but the Town 2 hours away will. All of our KOTC events and IFL and such are in other towns...kinda stupid
Stumps Magee- May 16, 2011 at 9:59 am
More like the Hindu Militia...
Kid Clam Curtains- May 16, 2011 at 9:52 am
I think the Thunder Fuck Skull Angels of Death Posse (TFSADP) only attends UFC events in the US.