St. Charles aldermen spiked an all-ages mixed martial arts show Monday night over concerns about alcohol sales and an unusual request for an outdoor venue.
But after aldermen voted unanimously to reject the event, they encouraged Rob Tovar of Phantom Fight Promotions -- a production company with event experience as large as ESPN's Friday Night Fights at U.S. Cellular Field -- to come back to the full city council with a revised plan that calls for a 21-and-older audience.
Tovar told aldermen the request for an all-ages event grew from a desire to showcase the city's martial arts businesses and high school wrestling. The event would have included exhibitions showcasing the city's local talent and businesses to an expected audience of 875 people.
"We want to make this a family experience," Tovar said. "It's not just some bar fight. Our goal is not to just come here and have quick ticket sales. Our goal was to make sure we are bringing business into the local stores and showcase the city."
St. Charles has hosted two other MMA events. One event was a 21-and-older show that included alcohol, and another was an 18-and-older event. Neither of those shows resulted in any significant police activity or liquor license problems.
But aldermen agreed Monday they would rather stick to an audience of 21 and older when beer sales are involved.
Tovar said his company is prepared to go that route, but it would kill any plans to bring local martial arts schools or high school wrestlers in for exhibitions.
Even moving to a 21-and-older show did not ease the concerns of all the aldermen.
"I'm from the old school," said Alderman Jim Martin. "I don't see how this is family entertainment in any way. It's getting younger and younger. I can't handle that."
But Alderman Ron Silkaitis said it's not the city's job to decide what is appropriate entertainment for families. He agreed that limiting the audience to people 21 and older is just easier for security reasons and eliminates the potential for underage drinking.
Aldermen Bill Turner and Maureen Lewis said they don't like the idea of an outdoor venue. Tovar plans to host the event in the parking lot of the Harley Davidson dealership on Randall Road at the intersection of Route 64.
"I'm a little concerned about having this thing on Randall Road on a Saturday afternoon," Turner said. "I really don't think it looks good."