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White looking forward to UFC’s first Ontario event
Posted on Sun, Nov 21, 2010 at 8:44 am
by IDMA Editor

DETROIT — UFC president Dana White, in Detroit to promote Saturday’s UFC 123 card at the Palace of Auburn Hills, can’t believe that his organization is finally permitted to contest bouts in Ontario and he can’t wait to tap into Canada’s largest market.

Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White laughs as he answers a question in this file photo - Photo by Aaron Lynett, National Post

“It’s huge,” White said of the August decision by the Ontario provincial government to legalize mixed martial arts fighting in the province, admitting he thought the roadblocks his organization faced from Ontario at times seemed insurmountable.

“For the longest time, it was like, ‘Oh God, are we ever going to get this done?’ We actually thought that Ontario would happen for us later, not sooner.”

Now that it has happened, White indicated that plans are full steam ahead to host a UFC card in Toronto sometime next year.

“As soon as all the logistics are in place and we get the go-ahead, we’ll be announcing the date,” he said. “We know what a big market Canada is for us. We recognize the following there is for our sport in Ontario, both in Toronto and beyond. There definitely will be a fight (in Toronto) next year.”

Staying ahead of the curve, which seems to be a trademark of the UFC brand, the organization opened a Toronto office last May, installing former Canadian Football League commissioner Tom Wright to oversee UFC operations in Canada.

Now that he’s conquered the largest province in Canada, White has sets his sights on bringing down the one major obstacle he still faces on the American side of the border. MMA remains illegal in the state of New York.

“We’re still working on that,” White said. “We thought we might get that one done before Ontario.”

Two other markets also intrigue White — China and India.

“We’re looking at staging bouts in both of those countries either next year or the year after,” White said. “We’ve got to continue to work hard to keep growing our sport.”

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