General

Calls for combat sports ban as UFC hits Perth

The West Australian branch of the Australian Medical Association has called on the Premier to ban mixed martial arts, saying it damages those that watch it.

The call comes on the back of a State Government announcement on Tuesday that an Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-view event will be held at Perth Arena in February next year.

Cage fighting was previously banned in WA due to health concerns

Cage fighting had been banned in WA until the McGowan government won office and overturned it in June.

Labor had promised to do so during the election.

AMA (WA) President Omar Khorshid made the AMA’s position on the issue clear.

“The sport should be banned, its as simple as that,” he said.

“Whether it’s in a cage or in a ring or out in the street, bashing people in the head repeatedly, or kicking them, or even throttling them on the ground is not something that we should be supporting.

“It does damage the participants and it damages us to watch it.”

The arrival of the UFC is considered a major coup for Perth, with only two of the UFC’s pay-per-view events per year usually held outside North America.

The spectacle is expected to boost the WA economy by about $7 million.

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said the event would benefit the WA tourism industry.

“More than 15,000 fans will pack the Perth Arena for this long anticipated event, with 8000 of them expected to come from interstate and overseas,” he said.

“The 56 million UFC social media fans will also see our state showcased in the lead up to the fight – giving Perth and WA unprecedented exposure.

“Quality events are vital to tourism in WA, an industry that employs more than 109,000 Western Australians.”

AMA WA president Omar Khorshid believes mixed martial arts should be banned in WA

Dr Khorshid raised questions as to whether the positives were worth the costs to the community.

“They’re talking about $7 million that might come into the economy, and you’ve always got to question those analyses, but the cost is the question,” he said.

“We’ll never be able to measure the impact of children watching a spectacle, and I admit MMA is a great spectacle, but watching a spectacle and thinking that that kind of behavior, that kind of way to treat another sportsperson is reasonable.

“It’s going to damage our culture and it’s a very disappointing step by the government.”

Australian Robert Whittaker is expected to fight at the event for the UFC Middleweight Title.