Caged in: Victoria wins the fight for the Octagon

18 March 2015

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The Australian Fighting Championship (AFC) will hold its first cage fights on Melbourne soil since the Victorian government unlocked the latches on the ban.

The HEX Fight Series was the first to utilise the venue last weekend after Premier Daniel Andrews and his government fought for the cage to be legalised in Victoria.

The Age reported the event would be “history making”, and MMA professional Sam Greco has voiced his approval of the legalisation.

“You’re excited, I’m excited, I’m pretty sure everyone in Australia is excited. It’s official. The cage ban has been lifted. We are in the cage!” he said.

But not everyone is as excited as Greco. Police hold concerns for the ramifications cage fighting may have on members of the public.

“It concerns me when we start considering cage fighting in the world’s most liveable city, especially when we’re seeing such great progress in reducing violence in our community,” former Victoria Police Chief Commissioner, Ken Lay, told The Age.

Victorian Sports Minister John Eren stands by the decision to help put an end to the ban, claiming the sport will be “much safer” with the cage, or Octagon, in place.

“Mixed Martial Arts has been legal in Victoria, the only thing that was not legal is the actual fencing which has made it safer for competitors, officials and spectators,” he told the ABC.

According to UFConFoxtel, the eight-sided fencing ensures safety and “keeps all high-impact action contained securely inside the competition area”.

A six-sided equivalent to the Octagon, the Hexagon, will be used to host this weekend’s fight card.

Daniel “Grasshopper” Way is ready to fight for the AFC Middleweight title this weekend. Image: Australian Fighting Championship

MMA consists of a concoction of sports, including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, kickboxing and wrestling. The fighters use grappling techniques to bring their opponent down to the ground where the contest continues.

The AFC has derived from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where professionals can fight on an international level. The premier MMA competition will hit Australia in November, with fight card UFC 193 expected to attract in excess of 50,000 spectators.

Fighting champions Jon “Bones” Jones, Rhonda “Rowdy” Rousey and “The Notorious” Conor McGregor have all been touted as potential headliners for the event at Etihad Stadium, according to The Daily Telegraph in a report by The Courier Mail.

With over 12,500 likes on their Facebook page, a huge number of MMA fans are expected to attend the AFC 12 event this Sunday.

Cage fighting is now legal in every state and territory of the country, excluding Western Australia.

A report by upstart will follow Sunday’s first AFC fight card at the Melbourne Pavilion on 22 March.


Stephanie Atkins

Stephanie Atkins is in her final year of a Bachelor of Journalism degree at La Trobe University. You can follow her on Twitter: @_steph_atkins_.