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Back on February 18th, the Synergy Merchant Services Blog commented upon the Ontario government’s refusal to sanction the hugely popular sport of mixed martial arts as a legalized sport in the province. Meanwhile, the sport’s largest and most successful company, the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), has held a number of sold-out events in Montreal’s Bell Centre with another soon to take place in Vancouver.
Featuring an impressive list of Canadians on its roster, the UFC has been championing the cause of getting MMA legal in Ontario. We blogged about this topic a few months ago primarily because of the financial significance of the story. It is widely known that UFC events draw massive numbers and it is expected that hosting one of their events in Toronto will greatly impact the local economy favourably.
Today, our blog revisits this topic as the UFC has taken a major step in bringing their economic juggernaut to Ontario. This past Tuesday, UFC president Dana White visited Toronto to hold a press conference in order to unveil a major announcment. Along with the company’s co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta, White announced that the UFC would be opening its first Canadian UFC offices in Toronto.
Former Canadian Football League commissioner, Tom Wright was announced as the one who will be heading up the UFC’s Toronto branch. Said Wright in an article posted by QMI Agency’s Neil Springer earlier this week: “After my family, the most important things – my passions – are sports and my country. The UFC has a very aggressive global expansion plan and it’s great to be a part of the second international office after London (England).”
The announcement unveils a very interesting circumstance. The hugely successful UFC will now be operating one of its offices in a territory that currently deems its sport against the law. Many supporters at the press conference, however, applauded the announcement insisting that the presence of MMA in Ontario would do wonders for the province’s economy.
Springer noted that the Toronto branch will be open for business in June although the UFC is yet to name a location. The office, is expected to open with approximately 15 employees. So already, mixed martial arts is, at the very least, promoting job growth in Ontario.
Of course, getting the sport legalized in the province will be on the top of Wright’s priority list. Said Wright: “This is a process and it takes time. It’s not always consistent time. Depending on the state or province it can take more time. But ultimately the goal is to make a commitment to the entire country and to build a business and brand here.”
The UFC insists, however, that the opening of their Canadian offices in Toronto is not a direct response to the provincial government’s hesistancy to legalize the sport. Fertitta acknowledges that the growing popularity of the sport in Canada made the opening of offices in the country an inevitability.
Our blog will be paying attention to this very interesting, ongoing situation in the months to come.