FARMINGTON, Utah -- Does Farmington have something against mixed martial arts? A well-known mixed martial arts events promoter thinks so, but the city has a different story.
Steel Fist Fight Night attracts thousands of mixed martial arts fans every year. The most recent event was last Saturday in Farmington. Only problem? The promoter said the city won't give him the green light for a beer permit for the next fight night in July.
"This is a lot bigger than a beer can,” said Kevin Patton, who is a local mixed martial arts promoter and the CEO of Steel Fist Fight Night. “This is mixed martial arts, get used to it. It's worldwide. It's the fastest growing sport in the United States.”
Nearly 2,000 people attended his April 19 all-ages show in Farmington, but it took a battle with the city and help from the county for it to happen.
"We were then denied our beer license for the July 19th show also in Farmington," Patton said.
Now a new fight is brewing, over Patton's next event in July. He thinks Farmington's city manager may have a personal problem with the contact sport and the people who enjoy watching it.
"This dates back to last June, our first all-ages show in Farmington where the city manager called us rednecks, chain links, fence and beer,” Patton said. “There was a large backlash from the mixed martial arts community towards him."
FOX 13 News reached out to Dave Millheim, the city manager. He sent us a statement saying, "The council voted 3-2 against approving local consent for the liquor license. The event can still go on. The promoter is misrepresenting the facts of the vote. The promoter was also invited to attend the public hearing in writing and chose to stay home."
Farmington Mayor Jim Talbot told us he couldn't do an interview because the city received a letter from Patton, indicating he may be threatening a lawsuit but said some council members do have concerns about beer at the mixed martial arts bouts.
Patton said: "I would love to sit down with them and understand why they feel the need to deny us a beer permit in that venue, considering we've had two events now there with beer permits without a single incident. No fights, no crowd problems. These are the friendliest shows you've ever been to."
Patton wouldn't comment on the so-called lawsuit, saying he was advised not to discuss the subject.