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Hartselle Enquirer

State: City can regulate cage fighting

By Staff
Leada Gore, Hartselle Enquirer
A local businessman said he is moving his company out of town following an Attorney General's opinion on the status of cage fighting in the city.
Robert Clairday said he will hold his next cage fighting event at Celebration Arena in Priceville Oct. 6. Clairday had previously held cage fighting events at a building on Sparkman Street. Questions arose about the events and the state fire marshal said the building wasn't equipped to handle the large crowds. Around this same time, the city asked the Attorney General's office about the legality of cage fighting and, if it was legal, could it be regulated.
The AG's opinion was returned Monday. The AG's office said cage fighting or mixed martial arts events are not currently regulated by state law. However, cities can regulate such events, requiring licensing and the payment of sales and use taxes.
Clairday said he had seen the AG's opinion and understands "there is no legal reason why I could not continue to hold these events in Hartselle if the city granted me a license to do so.
"However, I don't expect that to happen. Therefore, I have decided to close my business – Clariday's Boxing and Sports Center – as soon as I can find a suitable location outside the city limits."
No matter what Clairday decides, Mayor Dwight Tankersley said the city's next move will be to sit down with City Attorney Larry Madison to go over the AG opinion.
"We need to discuss how we can regulate it and what we need to do in the future," he said.
Clairday said he is upset about having to move his business after so many years in Hartselle.
"I am disappointed that my business is no longer wanted by certain elected officials after 25 years of service to the community," he said. "All I ever wanted to do was to operate a business that would draw people in and help Hartselle grow and prosper."
Tankersley defends the city, however.
"The question was raised and when we asked our attorney, he told us we needed an AG opinion," he said. "That's what we did."

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