Day Thirteen – Why Isn’t MMA Legal Here Yet?

13 01 2010

The City of Toronto has another huge shortfall on its hands. Though some are proposing budget cuts, which are almost necessary at this point, others have looked for different streams of revenue. One of the many ideas is to bring in more tourist dollars. The Toronto Unlimited campaign was the Miller era’s best idea to bring people in. Needless to say, it hasn’t really brought in the tourism it has promised.

There has been one idea that has banged at the door trying to get in, but the city and the province have simply ignored it. It’s about time they give in and open the door to MMA in Toronto.

It's only a matter of time before the UFC hits Toronto, but will it be soon enough to take advantage of the hype?

The UFC has been trying to shed the image that, the UFC specifically, had earned a decade prior. MMA is now a fully regulated and relatively safe combat sport that most of the world has opened up to. For some crazy reason, you can take up boxing legally in Ontario, but you can’t mix that with some wrestling. Whether it’s an uneducated fight commission or some boxing die-hards who see MMA as “too brutal”, talks have been stalled.

Toronto has more MMA fans per capita than any other country in the world, according to Marc Ratner, the UFC’s vice-president of regulatory and government affairs. It’s ridiculous to think that with these hungry fans within the city of Toronto, they have to go to Quebec to satisfy their MMA appetite. Not to mention fans in New York State, which seems ever closer to opening it’s doors to most populated city in the continent. Premier Dalton McGuinty is even warming up to the idea, but there doesn’t seem to be any talk of it from city hall.

Dana White, President of the UFC, has lobbied for MMA to be legal in Ontario for a while and doesn’t seem to be letting the issue go. Hometown media, such as “Showdown” Joe Ferraro, host of MMA Connected, and Mauro Renalo, commentator for Strikeforce and host of The MMA Show, are right behind Dana in the fight for legalization. The fact that all three sports networks in Ontario fight for the rights to MMA coverage shows that there’s a market for it. A market that is more than willing to bring their money into the city of Toronto.

The money is there for the taking, it’s just a matter of getting over their prejudice over the sport. The days of the human cockfight are long gone. MMA is a sport that isn’t going to disappear, but the opportunity to bring tourists for all over Ontario and New York State just might.

Good thing this year is an election year in Toronto. I wouldn’t be surprised if at least one candidate jumps on the bandwagon. Maybe the same candidate who would have liked to see the Toronto Islands become a red-light district? (More on his platform in the future.)

I think it’s only a matter of time before we see GSP, Brock Lesnar and Randy Couture duking it out in the octagon in Toronto. Now it’s just a matter of what building to host it in.

Marc Ratner, the UFC’s vice-president of regulatory and government affair
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31 01 2010
Day Thirty-One – One Month Later… « Fresh Buckets of OJ

[…] Day Thirteen – Why Isn’t MMA Legal Here Yet? […]

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