UFC Canada Executive Talks 2013 Slate, The Ultimate Fighter And More
In an interview with MMA Junkie, UFC Director of Canadian Operations Tom Wright spoke about the company’s continued expansion into the Great White North.
On an increase in Canadian events: “Things are going more strategically, and I say that because we originally looked at a Canadian fight series, but I think what you’re going to see is that we’re going to expand the number of actual fights that come to Canada. This year we’ll have three: Toronto, Calgary and Montreal. Next year we’ll have four, and in 2014 and 2015 we’ll probably have five events. But we’re not going to have what you might traditionally refer to as a Canadian fight series, like a Brazilian fight series or an Asia fight series or something like that.
On the possibility of bringing The Ultimate Fighter to Canada: “Actually, the smaller promotional competition here is quite developed, so there’s actually a lot of opportunities for athletes to compete and to grow. So instead, we’re going to augment those four events 2013 and five in 2014 and 2015 with a couple things. We’ve talked about ‘TUF: Canada,’ which we’re still working on and hope to be able to do it in the second half of 2013. We’re working towards that timing. It’s still premature to announce exactly where, when and how, but it’s in our planning works for 2013. And we’re also looking at what I would call a grass-roots outreach program, where while we may not take an actual fight to smaller communities.”
On national MMA regulation: “We’re doing work at the federal level to have the criminal code changed to reflect the reality of life in the 21st century where this sport should be legal even though technically it’s not because of a section of the criminal code that was written in 1935. And there are other provinces across the country such as British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan that are sort of waiting to see what happens with the federal criminal code bill that is currently in the house of commons. Once we get a consistent regulatory environment sorted out, I think you’ll see these other provinces come on board. The provincial athletic commissions will allow this sport to be properly regulated on a consistent basis, and that’s only going to help to grow the sport.”