News broke today that the UFC has been granted the right to hold events in the Ontario providence of Canada. This is major news as it allows the UFC to host a show in the grand city of Toronto, coincidently enough, is the largest city in Canada.
Political posturing has long held the UFC at bay in such a highly enviable market. While other major Canadian metropolises were eager to embrace the beneficial economic impact of a UFC show (promotions have been held with great success in Vancouver and Montreal) Ontario had been slow to embrace the sport of MMA.
With Toronto now open to MMA the UFC has wasted little time in scheduling their first event. Slated for April 30, the UF will host an event at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. In addition to the fight, a UFC Fan Expo will take place in the city April 29-30. No fight card has been announced.
“Canadians have repeatedly shown how much they love the UFC,” said UFC president Dana White in a press release issued today. “Fans in Ontario have patiently waited and it will pay off as this one will go down in the history books come April 30. I’m very excited – Toronto is going to break the record and host the biggest mixed martial arts event ever in North America.”
"This announcement has been a long time coming and we're thrilled," said Tom Wright, UFC Director of Canadian Operations. "Ontario is obviously a key market as Toronto is one of THE MMA cities in the world," he added. “We’re very thankful to Premier Dalton McGuinty, Ministers Sophia Aggelonitis and John Gerretsen and the provincial government for their support in sanctioning and regulating the sport.”
Outside of America, no other country contains as many fanatic MMA fans as our neighbor to the north. Canada’s appreciation for MMA is evident in the number of high profile fighters and fight schools coming out of the land of Molson and hockey. In fact, this weekend will represent the sport’s biggest attraction Canadian Georges St. Pierre taking on Josh Koscheck in Montreal.
The UFC’s mission to globalize the sport of MMA is ambitious to say the least, but with the Toronto market now open for business the UFC is well on their way.