Pay-per-view shows in Toronto and Montreal look to be on the UFC’s calendar again next year but Vancouver may be left out in the cold, according to the UFC’s director of Canadian operations.
Tom Wright says he expect three major shows in Canada in 2012 — in Montreal, Toronto and another city that “will surprise you.”
But Vancouver seems out of the current picture.
It has staged two UFC shows under a two-year test run by the city of Vancouver that ends at the end of this year. There is no provincial athletic commission governing the sport in B.C.
“And the disappointing thing for our sport is that after a two-year test period, they’ve had two tests — ours,” Wright said Wednesday. “Because no other promotion could afford the indemnification or the insurance costs or the other things — or actually have the perseverance to get an event to be held there.
“Will we go back to Vancouver in time? Yeah. Will it be next year? I doubt it.”
Wright says Montreal will probably host the next major Canadian show.
He expects to head to Atlantic Canada later this year to check out potential venues for possible smaller “Fight Night” televised shows.
Halifax and Moncton both sanction the sport and the UFC sees them as possible such venues.
Wright and several fighters were in Ottawa recently to promote changes to the Criminal Code that would clarify the section that covers combat sports.
Currently there is an uneven patchwork of regulatory control of MMA in Canada. In some jurisdictions there are provincial athletic commissions. Others have city bodies that tend to the sport. And some provinces have nothing.
Wright pointed to Saskatchewan as one example of a province with no regulatory body in place.
“Between Saskatoon and Regina, those are two cities we’d love to take a ‘Fight Night’ to,” he said