Rules will soon be put in place to govern some of the details associated with mixed martial arts events in Naperville.
City staff have been instructed to draw up the necessary code amendments to regulate the fights, which typically are conducted in cages and sometimes draw thousands of spectators.
The planned guidelines to be presented to the City Council for a final vote call for banning alcohol at licensed MMA matches and requiring their promoters to secure specified clearance for them as special events.
“Apparently the legal obstacles to restricting them completely are considerable,” said Councilwoman Judith Brodhead.
Citing a variety of concerns, the council last month declined the request from a promoter to use a city-owned vacant lot on Quincy Avenue for overflow parking at an event that was being planned in the industrial area near Fort Hill Drive and Quincy.
A council memo from Kristen Foley, senior assistant city attorney, outlined some of the hurdles to fully prohibiting the events, which likely would not withstand a court challenge, or designating the location of fire lanes and distances between the events and the nearest emergency room.
Foley said the two remaining feasible remedies would suffice to address officials’ concerns.
She noted that state regulations already require the events to be held within a reasonable distance from hospitals.
“I really think if you’re looking to control people leaving the event and going to the bars, you can regulate that through the time, and possibly regulate the age of people going to them,” Foley said.