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The State Government has banned cage fighting in a move that has Perth’s mixed martial arts community up in arms.

Department of Sport and Recreation commissioners met promoters and gym owners yesterday to (inform them of the decision.

Sports Minister Terry Waldron confirmed the use of cages in MMA contests would be prohibited once the regulations were gazetted in early March.

MMA, which has exploded globally on the back of US promotion the Ultimate Fighting Championship, has attracted controversy because of perceptions associated with the cage.

The athletes use striking and grappling techniques to win bouts by stoppage, submission or decision.

Grady Stewart, from Perth promotion K-Oz Entertainment, said a cage was safer than any alternative.

“The cage is equipment that’s there for the safety of the athletes,” he said. “It stops people falling through to the concrete and breaking their neck.”

Victoria is the only other State with a ban on cage fighting, but the Victorian Government has come under added pressure to lift the ban.

Perth fighter Xavier Lucas, 31, said he believed it was a decision made out of ignorance.

“I’d like the politicians to actually take the time to see what the sport is about,” he said.