The Ketchikan City Council talked about Fight Club Thursday, but deferred a motion to ban the popular event from a city-owned facility.
After an enlightening discussion about the potential danger of various body fluids, the Ketchikan City Council delayed voting on the proposal, which would ban boxing and mixed martial arts at the Ted Ferry Civic Center.
The delay was to allow Ketchikan Fight Club officials a chance to respond to the proposal. They were out of town this week and not able to comment.
Council Member Bob Sivertsen proposed the measure. He said the civic center, where weddings, music performances, etc., take place, is the wrong venue for events that regularly result in bloodshed.
“Blood-borne pathogens, the alcohol, problems in the bathrooms, most recently, I understand they used a moldy tarp, which after everybody walked on it and ground it in, it was also now a moldy carpet that took extensive cleaning,” he said.
Sivertsen said the center has plans to renovate, including new carpet, and he’d like the city to seriously consider ending the Fight Club’s use of the center.
Civic Center Manager Rhonda Bolling said she has no problem with the Fight Club or the organizers, but, “The things that come along with the fights, the blood, the vomit – you get hit in the spleen, you vomit – there’s a lot. It takes a full day after the event to air it out. It’s pretty messy.”
Bolling said she charged the Fight Club extra for cleaning after the most recent event, and organizers weren’t pleased. But, she said, she believes the approximately $200 extra charge was reasonable.
“I didn’t think that was excessive to charge for cleaning the whole gallery corridor, with beer just sopped into the carpets, because that part is not tarped,” she said.
Bolling adds that the Civic Center loses money, even with the extra charges, when the Fight Club holds its events there.
The Council discussion then delved into the proper procedures for cleaning body fluids.
“ Rhonda, how do you deal with the blood-borne pathogens and the vomit?” Sivertsen asked. “Is your staff trained to appropriately clean and disinfect that?”
“No,” Bolling answered. “I just learned after the last event, because the Fire Marshal asked me, ‘Did he wear glasses when he was cleaning that up?’ I’m looking at him: ‘He wore gloves.’”
Fire Chief Frank Share gave a few details on what’s required in state regulations when cleaning body fluids, which can transmit disease.
“For us at the fire department, we have to dispose of it properly,” he said. “I have an infection control officer I have to send in to training every year, you have to have a policy on hand, how you’re going to deal with it, how you’re going to clean it. One of the things it talks about, you can’t have any eating, drinking, cosmetics or smoking anywhere that you’re going to have blood-borne pathogens, which is exactly what this facility is used for.”
Mayor Lew Williams III suggested deferring the motion to give Fight Club organizers a chance to respond to the concerns raised. Sivertsen agreed that’s the “polite thing to do,” but he said he likely won’t change his mind.
In the meantime, the Council asked City Manager Karl Amylon to look into the issue, including calling other communities where boxing events take place, and finding a contractor for proper cleaning services.