Event organizer Savrio Loria and Vernon’s Unity MMA head coach Raja Kler both said they are excited to host Vernon’s first MMA event in a decade. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)

Mixed Martial Arts back in the Okanagan ring

Aptly titled XFC “Unbanned”, 22 fights are scheduled to take place Saturday, Aug. 24

After a 10 year hiatus, MMA will officially be returning to Vernon.

The sport was banned by a 2014 city bylaw that prohibited professional and amateur mixed martial fights within the municipal limits. This decision was rescinded in March.

Now, the first official fight in a decade is officially set to take place next month. Aptly titled XFC “Unbanned,” 22 fights are scheduled to take place Saturday, Aug. 24.

Headlined by Vernon fighter Kenny Pope, the event will also feature six other Vernon athletes. Fighters from across Alberta and B.C. will be in attendance, including athletes from Kelowna and Penticton.

“I’m excited to showcase Vernon’s skilled and talented fighters, and on top of that, it’ll be a great event for Vernon to have and have people see what we’ve been doing on the coast,” said Vernon’s Unity MMA head coach Raja Kler.

Related: Mixed martial arts wins fight to host events in Vernon

The ban was originally put in place due to concerns from the city about the “apparent involvement of organized crime in MMA events.” Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP Supt. Shawna Baher has since investigated and said that is not the case. She said the only concern is the combination of liquor and potential audience fights.

“It is probably the most sanctioned sport in B.C. when it comes to amateur athletes and professionals so if the province is willing to sanction it, I think people kind of saw that it was probably a bit more of the politics in Vernon,” said Kler.

Event organizer Saverio Loria, of Loria Group Entertainment, explained that all regulations have been met. Doctors and paramedics will be on scene, attendees will be patted down at the door and gang colours will not be permitted.

“This is licensed but is a family event as well. It’s a good event for Vernon and gets people out. Hopefully we can continue to do more of these,” Loria said. “We are going above and beyond to make sure we meet every guideline that the city and the commissioner wants.”

Taking place at the Vernon Curling Club, the event will feature a 30-foot octagon and can hold up to 1,200 attendees and is also licensed for food and beverage sales. All involved said the public’s response has been positive and athletes are excited to compete in front of their home crowd.

“We’ve been having to travel all the time and now they finally get to compete at their own hometown and get cheered on and that’ll be fun and a nice change,” said Kler. “We all just want to put on a good show for Vernon.”

The event is organized by Loria Group Entertainment, Mahood MMA and Unity MMA. It is sponsored by Sir Winston’s Pub and Liquor Store, Ladies World Health and Fitness and Status Nightclub.

A contest will be held for a selection of ring girls at Status Nightclub on Friday, July 12. Sponsorship and VIP tables are available. For ticket info, to sign up for the contest or general information, contact Saverio Loria at 778-728-3746.

Related: Vernon contemplates mixed martial arts events

Related: Vernon’s Unity MMA fighters show heart

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

MMA will return at the Vernon Curling Club on Saturday, August 24. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)

Just Posted

Penticton group growing produce for those in need

Garden box project aims to provide ‘dirt therapy’ and supply Penticton with more fresh produce

Shoppers line up hours early for reopening of Penticton’s Care Closet Thrift Store

The not-for-profit thrift store supports several local organizations and charities

Summerland man rescued following ATV accident

Helicopters used to transport injured man to Kelowna for treatment

South Okanagan playgrounds now open

Once caution tape is removed, playgrounds are officially open for public use

Moog and Friends Hospice hopes to raise $30,000 this month

Donations give hospice a chance to win an additional cash prize of $20,000

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Kelowna Mountie faces internal review after ‘uncooperative’ arrest

“A thorough internal review of this officer’s actions is currently underway,” said Kelowna RCMP Supt. Brent Mundle.

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Morning Start: #BlackLivesMatter started with a love letter

Your morning start for Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Parent, superintendent, trustee report smooth return to classrooms in B.C.

The biggest challenge is convincing families that it’s safe, some say

High water levels on Shuswap Lake may close popular Canoe Beach

Rain forecast could flood entrance tunnel, city staff to evaluate

189 homes in Grand Forks area given evacuation orders

Homes are in the Nursery, Grand Forks Airport, Gilpin Rd., Johnson Flats and Granby Rd. areas

Mother bear and two cubs spotted in West Kelowna

Residents of Shannon Lake are urged to be on the look out for three bears in the area

Social justice advocate yells at Kelowna council, demands presence at Black Lives Matter rally

Heather Friesen has again taken to council chambers to make her opinion heard

Most Read