It’s happy times in the MMA community of Edmonton right now.
The combative sports ban implemented back in December was officially lifted last week, which means the return sanctioned combative sports competition to the city of Edmonton, including Unified MMA.
Unified MMA president Sunny Sareen was one of those heavily involved in having the moratorium lifted.
He said he attended every meeting with Mayor Don Iveson, city council, and city administration to provide them with all the necessary information they needed, and provide more insight on exactly how the events will operate going forward.
“The main concern of city council and the administration was they just wanted to make sure these events were put on safely,” said Sareen in an interview.
“They just wanted to make sure the guidelines they requested were implemented going forward. They just wanted to move forward with a safe haven for the fighters in these shows.”
Although it seemed to be all doom and gloom when the ban was first implemented, Sareen knew it was just a matter of being able to meet with Iveson and councillors and break down the issues at hand.
Sareen said as their meetings continued and progress was being made, all signs began pointing to a quick return of combative sports competition.
“Once we were able to meet with them, they understood that livelihoods were on hold over this decision,” said Sareen.
“I could see they wanted to support us and weren’t trying to take away the industry. They were just trying to make a safe decision.”
Unified MMA 33 was Always a Go
At the same time the ban was lifted, Sareen announced Unified MMA’s next event, Unified 33, will take place May 11 at the River Cree Resort and Casino in Enoch, Alta., which is just outside Edmonton.
⚠ #Unified33 goes down May 11 at beautiful @RiverCreeCasino in #Enoch! pic.twitter.com/c4Dfm9yVkm
— Unified MMA (@unifiedmma) March 3, 2018
Although the two announcements were made simultaneously, Sareen said Unified 33 would’ve taken place regardless of the ban being lifted or not. Since the event will take place just outside Edmonton, it’s being sanctioned by the Central Combative Sports Commission, which wasn’t affected by the ban to begin with.
But Sareen said, going forward, it’s nice to know he can continue to provide the local talent a stage to showcase their skills and compete, the way he has for several years.
“This is huge. Look at all the major fighters we have coming up now, including guys like Shane Campbell, Mike Scarcello, and Stephen Beaumont. These guys are making an impact on the international scene, so it’s great to be able to provide them a platform to perform on.”
Unified 33 was originally scheduled for Dec. 15 before the ban officially forced the cancelation of the event on Dec. 13, stemming from the unfortunate passing of Tim Hague.
Beaumont vs Campbell Rescheduled
Beaumont and Campbell were set to square off for the Unified lightweight championship, which was one of two title fights scheduled for the evening. It’s been confirmed this same championship fight will headline the rescheduled Unified 33 on May 11.
Beaumont said he was thrilled to hear the ban was lifted so he can continue to do what he loves in front of him hometown fans.
“I just love competing in front of my loved ones and friends,” said Beaumont in an interview.
“It’s a really cool feeling getting a win, walking to the edge of the cage and looking out to see everybody’s happy faces cheering. There’s nothing else like that.”
Since the positive news regarding the ban, Beaumont said the atmosphere and vibe at his gyms (Frank Lee’s and Little Sweat Shop) have changed noticeably.
He said everyone’s starting to refocus and are ready to get down to business.
“You can see more faces around the gym now. Everyone’s getting serious again.”