British Columbia

Gay bashing victims blame UFC fight event

Two gay men are blaming drinking at Saturday night's Ultimate Fighting Championship event at GM Place after they were viciously attacked in front of their downtown Vancouver apartment block.

The Vancouver Police Department says its hate-crime investigator is looking into an apparent gay bashing over the weekend, which the victims are blaming on an Ultimate Fighting Championship event.

But Const. Lindsey Houghton said there's no evidence that's the case.

David Holtzman and Peter Regier say they were taunted with homophobic slurs and repeatedly punched outside their downtown Vancouver apartment on Saturday.

The couple believes the attackers were coming from the UFC mixed martial arts event at GM Place.

Police are investigating the incident but so far no arrests have been made. The suspects are described as Indo-Canadian men in their 20s who were both wearing jeans and T-shirts.

After the mixed martial arts event finished, Vancouver police said it went off without any major problems.

But Holtzman and Regier live on Keefer Street just a few blocks from GM Place and believe they were attacked by two men who were drinking at the event.

The couple was out Saturday evening, but when they came home around 10:45 p.m. PT, they found two men near their front door — one drinking and the other urinating on the wall.

'I just went down and protected myself, and I got hit in the back of the head about 50 times.'— David Holtzman

Regier told CBC News he and Holtzman asked them not to.

"I didn't think it was unreasonable for us to object and say, 'Hey guys this is our home. We live here. Please don't pee on our home,'" said Regier.

That's when the two men attacked them, the couple said.

"I just went down and protected myself, and I got hit in the back of the head about 50 times," said Holtzman.

Both suffered scratches, cuts and concussions, and one of them had to be taken to hospital for treatment. The pair told CBC News they believe the attack was a hate crime.

"They started saying all kinds of homophobic slurs," said Regier.

City responsible for UFC event

Regier and Holtzman said the city is partly to blame for holding violent events such as the UFC in the neighbourhood. 

"You know, for us, it raises some larger concerns about, I guess for the city. I had no opinion about UFC coming to Vancouver originally … but you know, look at what happened to us steps away from where the fight went down, we're assaulted, just steps away," said Regier.

Holtzman said, unlike the recent crowds downtown for the Olympics, the UFC event created a different mood on the street.

"UFC, like fighting, is about fighting and it's about testosterone…. When you see someone like that, what are you going to do? You're going to react like in a fighting mode. I mean it promotes fighting. That's what it's about," said Holtzman.

"I think the city has to give a good think about UFC, and I am going to obviously be an opponent to this because of what happened to me," he said.