The use of the “octagon”, “cage” or “MMA ring” remains controversial in a number of territories. Further to this the colloquial term “cage” has bestowed unfortunate connotations on the sport of Mixed Martial Arts in many regions, often wilfully stoked by sections of the media invoking fear among the unknowing.
The impossibility of obtaining a license in France, to hold martial arts competitions within a fenced enclosure, has recently been well documented. In January, the Belgian MMA event, “Fightor”, was threatened with closure due to the planned use of the “cage.” The Belgian MMA Federation worked hard to enable the event to go ahead despite being forced to use a boxing ring. The BMMAF invited government ministers whom ultimately acknowledged that a fenced enclosure was surely a safer competition area for MMA competition, once they had seen it in practice.
A far greater victory for MMA was announced yesterday in Australia during a press conference held by the Honourable John Eren, Minister for Sport, Tourism and Major Events. The State of Victoria Labor Government had issued a ministerial directive allowing the sport of MMA to be conducted in a fenced-in enclosure, with respect to athlete safety. Until now, MMA competitions in the State of Victoria have been forced to take place in boxing rings.
“This is a major milestone for mixed martial arts in Victoria, which will allow the sport to flourish while at the same time better protecting its competing athletes,” said Tom Wright, UFC Executive Vice-President and General Manager, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. “…The UFC thanks the Labor Party for spearheading this initiative and focusing on the safety of the competitors”.
IMMAF CEO Densign White commented:
“IMMAF welcomes the decision of the State of Victoria Labor Government in Australia to end the ban on the use of a fenced-in enclosure for MMA competition. MMA involves wrestling components, and the “cage” or “MMA ring” was purpose designed in order to maximise safety and prevent fighters from falling out or getting caught in the ropes as can happen with boxing rings. This decision will help progress the safe and proper development of Mixed Martial Arts in Australia. It will also attract international competition to the country thus benefiting Australian fans and industry alike.”
With this new ministerial directive in place, the UFC yesterday confirmed that it will bring a global pay per view event, UFC 193, to Melbourne on Sunday, November 15, 2015 locally, to be broadcast live in North America on Saturday, November 14, 2015.]]>