Friday, February 9, 2007

State takes closer look at ultimate fighting events

LANSING, Mich. -- State officials are taking a closer look at ultimate fighting in Michigan, calling the caged events illegal and potentially life-threatening.

The Department of Labor and Economic Growth said Friday it had issued a cease and desist order against Bay City-based Adoreable Promotions Inc., creator of the Original Toughman Contest, and promoter Gregory Ahrens.

Ahrens' event scheduled for Saturday in Muskegon still will be held, but state regulators plan to be there watching intently.

"Our position has been that ultimate fighting is illegal in Michigan," said Archie Millben, enforcement director for the Bureau of Commercial Services. "In some of the bouts, people just box each other. What they're putting on constitutes an unlicensed professional boxing show."

The order involves an unlicensed event held at Saginaw's Dow Event Center on Dec. 15, for which fighters were paid, according to the state. Professional ultimate fighting is illegal in Michigan _ except at American Indian casinos _ but regulators want to investigate "amateur" mixed martial arts bouts.

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