I almost put this under Busted Teachers, but it didn't quite fit there.

Fight promoter denies link to shooting
By Suzanne Fournier, The Province
Published: Monday, February 18, 2008

A shooting on the Musqueam reserve during a mixed martial arts event had nothing to do with band members, say the fight promoters.

Tim Thurston, 33, was shot in the leg outside the Musqueam gymnasium Saturday night. The fighter is in Vancouver General Hospital after undergoing surgery for a fractured femur and is expected to make a full recovery.

Vancouver police said yesterday they have made no arrests in connection with the shooting.

Gerry Gionco, a Vancouver boxing promoter who supplied the ring and equipment for the event, said the shooting "had absolutely nothing to do with the event. People were milling around afterwards and there were just some punks who had been hanging around bothering the fighter earlier when he was trying to concentrate."

Fight promoter T.J. Thomas of Honour Combat Championships said he is "really saddened" by the shooting.

"The reserve doesn't deserve bad press because they had nothing to do with it and we did everything we could to run a great event," said Thomas.

He said he is angry at Musqueam band member Gail Sparrow, a former chief, who said the sport was not welcome on the reserve.

"We did everything with the co-operation of the Musqueam Chief, Ernie Campbell. In fact, we have a photo of him in the ring with the fighters," said Thomas. "Mixed martial arts is the most popular, fastest-growing sport in Canada."

Mixed martial arts is banned in Vancouver and many other B.C. municipalities.

Promoters of the sport have been staging events on the Squamish Nation gym for many years, because reserves are not subject to local bylaws.