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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Face the pain: Mixed Martial Arts finally legal in Ontario

In February, Ontario PC Party leader Tim Hudak urged the Ontario government to permit MMA in the province. In March, UFC president Dana White expressed confidence that the UFC would come to Ontario.

Last year, we reported on the fact that MMA was the fastest growing sport in Canada. Small wonder, with Georges "Rush" St-Pierre as the current welterweight title-holder, and numerous other Canadians making a splash in the sport. Dana White has commented on the fact that Canada appears to be one of the world's primary training grounds for world-class MMA fighters.

Hudak's pushing and White's confidence was not in vain. Today, Dalton McGuinty, premier of Ontario, has announced that Ontario will permit MMA in Ontario.

CityTV News reports:

This is a dramatic change of heart for Premier Dalton McGuinty, who has previously said legalizing the sport is not a priority for his government.

“Our government has been monitoring MMA for some time,” said Sophia Aggelonitis, Minister of Consumer Services in a statement. “We know that the sport has evolved and that Ontarians want to see it here. My goal is to make sure we have the tools to keep the competitors safe, and provide an economic boost to communities that want to host MMA events.”

The province says it expects MMA events, such as those put on by the incredibly popular Ultimate Fighting Championship, to draw up to 30, 000 fans and generate up to $6 million dollars in income for local economies.

How committed is the UFC, the largest MMA organization in the world, to Canada and to Ontario? The Toronto Sun reports:

Tom Wright, director of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Canadian Operations, said the organization made a significant commitment to Canada by opening a Toronto office, and is prepared to hold three or four global pay per view events in major cities in the country every year.

“We feel confident that properly managed that we would probably take our first event to the (Toronto) Rogers Centre, understanding that no decisions have been made and really it’s premature until such a time as our sport is actually sanctioned,” Wright said prior to the Ontario government’s announcement.

In addition to filling major venues like the Rogers Centre and the Air Canada Centre, Wright said the UFC holds fan-based events in the days leading up to major pay per views that bring tourists into town early.

The UFC is also prepared — likely within two years — to stage UFC Fight Nights featuring up and coming fighters at smaller venues.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on August 14, 2010 in Canadian Provincial Politics, Current Affairs | Permalink

Comments

“Our government has been monitoring MMA for some time,” said Sophia Aggelonitis, Minister of Consumer Services in a statement. “We know that the sport has evolved and that Ontarians want to see it here. My goal is to make sure we have the tools to keep the competitors safe, and provide an economic boost to communities that want to host MMA events.”

Isn't that nice of her to be monitoring MMA for us? We would probably all be hopeless rednecks if it wasn't for her. Wait, I am a hopeless redneck. Anyway, isn't it also swell of her to make sure the competitors are safe? Well, in the end I think the real reason they are "allowing" it is becuase they can't stop it, they look like fools trying to, and they want to tax the hell out of it. You will probably see ticket or venue taxes of some kind.

I would resent a great deal having a father like Dalton.

Posted by: TM | 2010-08-14 10:57:08 AM


A perfect example of how the governing party will always defuse issues upon which opposition parties might successfully campaign during an election. This is bad news for Hudak because, in reality there is almost no good idea that the PCs would campaign upon that this Liberal government couldn't adopt. The real goods - planks that the Liberals would never adopt - will be delivered by Freedom Party, as is always the case.

Posted by: Paul McKeever | 2010-08-14 4:15:21 PM


Prem Dad is a brawling jackboot thug.

Posted by: kyra | 2010-08-15 2:24:50 PM


Too bad there are so few fighters from Ontario. Local talent sells a lot more tickets.

Posted by: dp | 2010-08-15 6:07:52 PM


I recently read that boxing gloves cause more injuries, and worse injuries, than bare-knuckle boxing.

In bare-knuckle boxing, the worst injuries are actually to the fists of the fighters. As such, they tend to avoid head shots because punching a guy in the skull with your bare knuckles tends to hurt a lot. They also have an incentive not to hit the other guy too hard, because they are liable to hurt themselves in the process. So bare-knuckle boxers tend to go for body blows, and they have an incentive to pull their punches.

Ever since the Queensbury rules came in requiring boxing gloves, brain damage and fatalities from prize fighting have actually INCREASED, because prize fighters are much more likely to go for head shots, and because the weight of the glove actually adds to the amount of force to the head of the recipient.

Incidentally, in Canada the CRIMINAL CODE actually states that contestants in a prize fight must "wear boxing gloves of not less than one hundred and forty grams each in mass".

So the criminal code arguably INCREASES rates of death and head injury among prize fighters. It's also arguable that MMA is safer than boxing, because the gloves don't weigh nearly as much. I'd have to see statistics that prove the theory to be truly convinced, of course.

Posted by: Anonymouse | 2010-08-16 2:53:08 PM



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