On April 19 the landscape of Mixed Martial Arts in Canada will change forever. The Ultimate Fighting Championship, the premier MMA promotion in the world, will have its event on Canadian soil for the first time in history. The ink on 20,000 tickets barely had time to dry before the home of the National Hockey Leagues Montreal Canadians sold out, only hours after going on sale. If ticket sales at the Bell Centre in Montreal are any indication, MMA is taking Canada by storm.
It is a sign of the times, MMA has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1993, and Victoria MMA instructor Jason Heit believes Canadas first UFC is only the beginning of its rise.It will be equivalent to the National Football League
I dont think people have any idea how big this sport is going to get. People are getting tired of the whiny professional athletes that really dont give anything
Nobody gives more than [MMA fighters] do.
UFC president Dana White agrees and is very optimistic about the prospects of holding regular events in Canada and even plans on moving his promotion across the country to all the major cities in Canada. We want to go everywhere, it is just a matter of sanctioning, it is a matter of getting the athletic commissions on board, as long as that happens yeah we want to go everywhere, he said. Despite his efforts, the biggest Canadian athletic commission has eluded him thus far.
Toronto, the biggest metropolis in the country, will not be hosting MMA soon because the sport is currently unsanctioned in the province of Ontario. It is all the more surprising that Ontario does not regulate the sport because other smaller provinces already do. Many Canadian commissionaires believe that Ontario, the biggest province in the country and home to 38.5 % of the national population eventually will, but the question is when?
There is currently no set timetable on regulation, but because host commissions take a percentage of ticket sales, once enough politicians see the millions of dollars in potential revenue, they will eventually wake up and smell the dollar bills. It is just a matter of time. Ontario will regulate MMA and when it does, the rest of the country should dress warmly, because the storm will truly be upon us.