Soa “The Hulk” Palelei could make a comeback if MMA ban was lifted in WA.
Former Perth UFC fighter, Soa ‘The Hulk’Palelei, said he would considerjumping back in the cageif a ban onMixed Martial Arts fighting was lifted in WA.
Opposition leader Mark McGowan said if Labor won the Marchstate election it would allow cage fighting in WA.
While Mixed Martials Arts is not banned in WA, the state remains the only jurisdiction in Australia – and reportedly the world – which outlaws theUFC’sfighting enclosure known as the Octagon.
“If the ban was lifted in WA I would seriously consider fighting again,”MrPalelei,who retired from UFC fighting in late 2015, toldWAtoday.
“I would love to fight in front of my home crowd in Perth.”
Mr Palelei said a UFC fight in WA would put Perth on the world stage.
“It would be a great thing to bring to WA,” he said.
“It would be great for the economy and it would be great for tourism.
“Look how successful the Ronda Rouseyfight was for Melbourne.”
The recent UFC fight betweenRouseyand Holly Holm saw 56,000 fans through the gate at Docklands Stadium in Melbourne.
Gate receipts alone were worth an estimated $9.5 million.
Mr Palelei said WA Premier Colin Barnett wasn’t “educated” on how important the Octagon was for UFC fighters’ safety.
“Colin Barnett hasn’t sat down and seen a fight and seen have safe the Octagon can be,” he said.
“Is it going to take a fighter to fall out of the ring and break his neck to see how safe the Octagon is?”
The 39-year-old had previously told WAtoday anumber of venues in Perth were already holding “cage fights”.
“Absolutely, there are places holding mixed martial arts using the cage,” he said on Tuesday.
“They call it ‘day sparring’ and they can use the Octagon because of a loophole as they are amateurs.
“And there is the potential they could be dangerous because it’s not regulated by the Combat SportsCommission.”
Mr McGowan, who previously supported the Barnett government’s ban on cage fighting, said MMA wasn’t for everyone.
“If elected premier, I will reverse this ban in the interests of safety,” he said.
“Mixed Martial Arts is one of the fastest-growing sports in Australia and it takes place across Perth’s suburbs, but it’s happening without the safety of an octagon safety barrier.
“Western Australia is the only state that bans the octagon. Industry experts have made it very clear to me the octagon-shaped barrier optimises safety.”
The Barnett government has been contacted for comment.
Sports Minister Mia Davies said in November MMA was a “brutal sport”.
“The government’s position in this matter hasn’t changed and we don’t endorse the use of the cage for MMA,” she said. Follow WAtoday on Twitter
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