Leicester dwarf wrestling 'freak show' cancelled

Image source, Extreme Dwarfanators Wrestling
Image caption,
The Extreme Dwarfanators Wrestling event was due to take place in Leicester in October

A charity has said it is "very pleased" a wrestling event involving people with dwarfism has been cancelled.

Extreme Dwarfanators Wrestling was due to take place in Leicester in October, but Morningside Arena dropped it due to the "tone of promotion".

The Restricted Growth Association (RGA) compared the event to a "freak show".

Organisers said the show was about people with dwarfism being equal and that the fighters were "pro athletes".

The Ferndown Leisure Centre, in Dorset, told the BBC it had also cancelled the event, but several other venues across the UK are still selling tickets.

A spokeswoman for the RGA said: "We are very pleased to hear that the [Morningside] arena took the time to listen to our concerns and we thank them for reconsidering their position."

Image source, Extreme Dwarfanators Wrestling
Image caption,
The event is still due to be held in Cardiff, Torquay, Swansea and Liverpool

Gillian Martin, from the RGA, said the event was a "Victorian spectacle" that harps back to "freak shows, carnivals, travelling troupes" for people to "poke fun" at those with disabilities.

"That tradition has almost entirely disappeared, but it still exists for dwarfism," she said.

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The charity feared the event could "exacerbate" verbal abuse, harassment, bullying and physical abuse towards people with dwarfism.

Skyler Ward, from Extreme Dwarfanators Wrestling, said it was both sport and entertainment and the wrestlers were "pro athletes".

"We are proving that anybody can get in that ring and can do what any big guy does," he said.

Image source, Extreme Dwarfanators Wrestling
Image caption,
Ticket holders for the Leicester event have been advised to contact the promoter

"There is nothing wrong with a little guy doing pro wrestling. It doesn't matter if you have dwarfism. According to them, they want to be equal.

"They are getting out there, they're wrestling and doing what they love."

A Morningside Arena Leicester spokesman said it prided itself on being "inclusive" and decided "due to the tone of promotion" it would be unable to host the event.

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