Over the past year, the Synergy Merchant Services Blog has paid particular attention to a special situation that has major implications to the economy in Ontario. The sport of mixed martial arts was banned in Ontario up until last August. Before then, fans of the sport from Ontario were forced to travel to Quebec for the events held by the sport’s largest organization, UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship).
As everyone knows by now, Ontario will be celebrating its first major MMA event on April 30th when UFC 129 takes place at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. As Dan Ilika reported in yesterday’s edition of The Toronto Sun, UFC President Dana White was in town to hold a press conference announcing that the sale of tickets to the event will begin this weekend.
Also in town was UFC Welterweight Champion, Georges St-Pierre of Montreal, Quebec. Defending his title against the number one contender, Jake Shields at UFC 129, St-Pierre will be a clear fan favourite at what is predicted to be the largest MMA event ever held. When UFC held events in Montreal, they drew nearly 22,000 fans.
As Chris Doucette of QMI Agency reports today, although the Rogers Centre has the capacity of seating nearly 70,000 fans, White reveals that approximately 40,000 seats will go on sale so that all fans will be able to enjoy the show from wherever they are sitting. Nevertheless, the event will still mark the biggest of the sport’s kind.
As Ilika mentioned in his article, Dana White considers Canada to be the “Mecca of mixed martial arts”. Evidently, the April 30th event is set to bring a huge boost to the province’s economy as it is expected to draw fans from all over the country and the United States.
From hotel rooms to restaurant visits, UFC is bound to bring greater business to Ontario each time it runs a show. White explains the UFC’s appeal in Canada: “The reason the UFC works, not just up here in the Mecca in Canada but all over the world as we continue to roll this thing out, is because we’re human beings. Canada just gets it and likes it a lot more than everybody else.”
Toronto fans will also see Canadian Mark “The Machine” Hominick vie for Jose Aldo’s featherweight championship. Marking the first time this particular title will be defended under the UFC name, this match will help to make UFC 129 a monumental event. As well, while fans will finally have their chance to see MMA in Ontario, it is clear that the province will also have the chance of reaping the financial benefits of the sport’s new legalization.