MMA is a-okay: Ontario to allow mixed martial arts after all

MMA is a-okay: Ontario to allow mixed martial arts after all

Ontario's next cash cow? The UFC (Image: Mark Richardson) 

It’s amazing what a black hole where your budget used to be can do: after moving to legalize online gambling, Queen’s Park has decided that maybe, just maybe, an activity that is legal in Quebec, British Columbia and most American states is permissible here. That’s right, mixed martial arts, and specifically the Ultimate Fighting Championship, is coming to Toronto. The Toronto Sun is all over this story:

[Dalton] McGuinty—not a fan of the sport—announced Saturday that his government will officially sanction and regulate the wildly popular MMA, allowing matches to be fought within the province’s boundaries.

“Our government has been monitoring MMA for some time. We know that the sport has evolved and that Ontarians want to see it here.” Sophia Aggelonitis, minister of consumer services, said in a statement.

Not to look a gift horse in the chin guard, but the most recent example of the McGuinty government bad mouthing MMA was last February. If MMA is evolving so quickly that it went from abomination to allowed in six months, we really need to watch out. (A cynic might think that this had something to do with money.) After all, the Sun reports that the UFC could potentially bring in as much as $4 million in taxes for the province.

The dream for fans is for Quebec-born champ Georges St.-Pierre to fight in Toronto. It could happen next year if the UFC is willing to juggle the schedule a little bit.  There’s a good chance of this: Marc Ratner, a UFC VP, has said, “Canada is the Mecca of the sport. Toronto is one of THE MMA cities in the world.”

Inevitably, not everyone will be happy with the sport coming to Ontario. Let’s all hope that Queen’s Park holds on to this decision longer than they did with the whole sex-ed thing, or legions of angry and violent UFC fans will descend on the city. Think, G20 II: This Time It’s Personal.

Mixed martial arts coming to Ontario [Toronto Sun]
The economic case for UFC [Toronto Sun]
Coyle: The new Dalton McGuinty is willing to make bold decisions [Toronto Star]
Zelkovich: MMA coming to Ontario and TV set to cash in [Toronto Star]
• Ontario to allow mixed martial arts from 2011 [Canadian Press]
Ontario to approve mixed martial arts events [CBC News]