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

Day Eight – Body Scanners and Why I’m Not Worried

8 01 2010

The big news item of the past couple days has been that the government of Canada has imposed body scanners be put in major airports across the country. Everyone travelling south of the border by plane will be subjected to them until further notice. This, on the heels of a recent terrorist threat on a flight to Detroit. Some people find this to be a gross invasion of privacy; I, however, do not.

Though the, apparently authorless, article at The Ubyssey would have you believe these images are just another step under the ever judging eye of Big Brother, I think this isn’t any different than what we’ve already been subjected to, yet a little safer.

Only technophobes would find this techonology anything other than cool.

I’ve been pat down walking through the metal detectors at airports multiple times and the guards there aren’t shy about feeling around. I don’t understand how someone in a different room, staring at a faceless image of my body could be any more embarrassing. There are worries that you can see fake breast and fat deposits through these machines, but a naked eye could easily spot the same thing. Sorry, but a hoodie isn’t fooling anybody.

As it goes for seeing your genitals, the alternative is always a pat down. I would much rather have the faceless image be sent to someone standing in the general vicinity than someone cupping me while looking me in the eye. Sure, they don’t know what they’re holding to the detail that the person looking at the image would, but they’ll definitely read the uncomfortable look on my face as they continue to pat me down.

Not to mention that after about one shift behind the machine, that security officer won’t care what you’re packing. After two shifts, they would have seen everything there is to see. No one is special enough to be worried that someone is laughing at them in some room around the corner. By the end of the day, the only thing that will catch their attention is something completely out of the ordinary. That’s the point, isn’t it?

It does feel like sometimes we’re giving up our privacy in order to be safe. Some say that it doesn’t really stop anything, but that’s the reason we don’t hear about it. The reason we’ve heard about the near disaster over Detroit is because it was just that. If it were someone who was thwarted at the gate, we would have gone on our day without knowing that yet another person was pulled aside for a secondary screening.

I chalk this up to another case of technophobia. The metal detector is a pretty old piece of technology and it’s about time we upgrade. If this can speed things up a little bit, even allow us to drop the metal detector all together, that could only be a good thing for air travel. Some people seem to agree.

At the end of the day, no one will be forced to go to the US. Especially by plane. If you’re that uncomfortable with someone seeing your faceless, naked body, just stay home. Or take a bus to the border. But you should probably make it a point never to get sick or have a physical, because the doctor just looking at you naked is the least of your worries when you’re there.

They have cold hands.