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Weber County Fair Adds Cage Fighting



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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- Cows, chicks and cage fighting. The Weber County Fair is adding eight bouts or more involving two people in an octagon-shaped ring with chain-link fence around it.

"From what I understand, it's a huge crowd-pleaser," said Jan Wilson, the county's special-events manager. "The reason for having something like this was to target an audience that, according to our surveys, normally doesn't attend the fair."

Opponents wearing gloves fight each other using various techniques, including jiu jitsu, kickboxing, boxing, wrestling, judo, kung fu and karate.

The bout is over after three rounds or when someone surrenders or is knocked out.

Weber County commissioners agreed to a $25,000 contract Tuesday with OFA Productions of North Ogden. Tickets will range from $10 to $50. The fair starts Aug. 8.

Commissioner Jan Zogmaister voted for the contract but said, "I don't view it as family-friendly entertainment."

There has been a small amount of negative feedback, said Commissioner Craig Dearden, who serves on the fair board. "Those who don't want to see it, and don't want their kids to see it, won't," he said.

Mark Johnson, a high-school teacher who owns a jiu jitsu studio in Ogden, said there are many misperceptions about cage fighting, but he acknowledged it might be inappropriate for young kids.

"This sport is not about the violence," he said. "It's like in football when you see guys working on tackling or catching a pass. Fighters just want to learn how to improve their skills and defend themselves, not attack someone."

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Information from: Standard-Examiner

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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