Cage Fight Promoter Frustrated with Fresno

September 30, 2009 12:39:54 AM PDT
Despite a couple of crowd pleasing matches in 2008, the City of Fresno banned Mixed Martial Arts, or Cage Fights, at Woodward Park last year. Shortly after being elected Mayor Ashley Swearengin sided with residents who felt the violent contests were inappropriate for a city park.                                     |   Search Related Stories   |

Promoter Rick Mirigian hasn't given up. He submitted an application to have more matches in the park's amphitheatre, and was turned down. He said, "I'm still confused, I'm still not provided with an actual answer as to why it was rejected."

But Assistant City Manager Bruce Rudd said Mirigian should know why by now. He said, "It's the same reason we've given Mr. Mirigian on many occasions. We've told him we don't believe Woodward Park, Roeding Park, any of our parks for Mixed Martial Arts Events."

Mirigian tried to sweeten the pot. Offering to pay double the rent, and to let a local veterans group cash in on the concessions.

"From an economic standpoint I think it was a great thing, I think that 40 to 50 thousand dollars was at stake per fight." Mirigian said.

While the city says mixed martial arts in the park is out at any price, Mirigian is questioning the city's ethical arguments against the fights. He says the city allowed a rap artist DJ Quick to perform at the amphitheatre. "He's one of the most notorious, gangsta rappers in the history of Rap Music," said Mirigian.

But Rudd says comparing cage fighting to a concert is like comparing apples to oranges and adds, "The rap concert was nothing more than a rap artist performing two songs that had been on the radio, at the end of a comedy show."

Mirigian says he hopes to eventually persuade the city to let Mixed Martial Arts events back in the park, but has agreed in the meantime to look for other "creative" locations. One location being explored is Fresno's Chinatown.

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