A midget wrestling event scheduled in Cape Girardeau this week may be canceled if licenses can't be obtained from the Missouri Office of Athletics.
Chris Seib, owner of The Pink Galleon Billiards and Games, booked the Extreme Midget Wrestling Federation as an entertainment act to perform Thursday.
But state officials say the little people are athletes, not entertainers, and must follow licensing guidelines for promoters, referees and wrestlers.
"It does not appear right now there is a way we can make this happen in time, with the show being in just two days," Seib said. "It's not real wrestling, it's entertainment, but we're bound by the rules."
He is yet to make a final decision whether the event will be canceled and has offered to pay any license fees in hopes the wrestling event can continue.
"We are making every effort possible not to have to cancel this event," Seib said.
Skyler Ward, promoter with the Extreme Midget Wrestling Federation, said his group doesn't often perform in Missouri because it has more rules than other states, including requiring athlete physicals and blood tests for HIV and hepatitis.
"We'd like to do the show," Ward said. "We hope the athletic commission will work with us. These little guys really need the work."
The Missouri Office of Athletics learned of the unlicensed midget wrestling event while a representative was in the area working another event. The office regulates professional wrestling, mixed martial arts and boxing events in the state.
"We regulate contact and blood sports, where injuries and the exchange of blood occurs," said Travis Ford, spokesman for the office of athletics. The policy includes other entertainment-style wrestling like that put on by the World Wrestling Entertainment organization.
Failing to comply with state athletic licensing requirements is a class A misdemeanor for those involved in the event, he said.
2106 William St., Cape Girardeau, MO