UFC reportedly books Rogers Centre for March

Long considered a hotbed of mixed martial arts fandom, the Canadian province of Ontario may soon play host to one of the biggest events in the sport's history.

In a reversal of recent directives, Ontario government officials are "taking steps to allow professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) events in the province," according to a statement issued today.

UFC president Dana White has long called Canada a "mecca" for MMA and has predicted a show in Toronto – the largest city in Canada and the provincial capital of Ontario – could generate a crowd of some 30,000 spectators.

MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) was first informed of Ontario's intentions late Friday night, and government officials made a formal announcement Saturday morning.

While Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said earlier this year that the regulation of MMA was "just not a priority," Ontario Minister of Consumer Services Sophia Aggelonitis said the safety record of the sport and the potential for economic gain made the move a natural.

"Our government has been monitoring MMA for some time," Aggelonitis said. "We know that the sport has evolved and that Ontarians want to see it here. My goal is to make sure we have the tools to keep the competitors safe and provide an economic boost to communities that want to host professional MMA events."

MMA has long been considered illegal in Ontario due to the province's interpretation of section 83 of the Canadian Criminal Code.

The responsibility for regulated MMA events in the province will fall to the Ontario Athletic Commission, which already regulates boxing and kickboxing.

The government proposal calls for the OAC to adopt the full Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts.

Aggelonitis told Toronto's 680News CFTR-AM that she "hopes to see a live event sometime in 2011."

680News also reported this morning that the 60,000-plus seat Rogers Centre, host of Major League Baseball's Toronto Blue Jays, has been reserved by the UFC for an unspecified date in March 2011. Toronto, which boasts nearly 6 million residents in its metro area, also hosts the 20,000-seat Air Canada Centre and the 9,500-seat Ricoh Coliseum, among other venues

UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner wasn't immediately available for comment when contacted by MMAjunkie.com, though he expressed his joy at the decision on his official Twitter account.

"MMA will have fights in Ontario starting in 2011," Ratner stated. "We're excited!"

Perhaps not coincidentally, today's announcement comes less than three months after the UFC appointed former Canadian Football League Commissioner and one-time Adidas Canadian president Tom Wright head of the world's largest MMA promotion's Canadian office, which is based in Toronto.

UFC president Dana White said on the day of Wright's official appointment that he expected Ontario to fall in line quickly.

"There's no doubt he's the man to lead the charge," White said in May. "He's going to get it done ASAP."

Ontario expects to generate up to $6 million in local economic impact by hosting a UFC event. The province estimates a total of 10-15 professional MMA events annually.

Ontario and New York have longed ranked as the UFC's top two priorities for regulation, and today's announcement would certainly appear to clear the way for an all-out assault on The Empire State.


I know Dana had said he wanted to do the UFC there but I really thought the ACC would hold the first UFC in TO. I guess it is easier to book the rogers center in March rather than the ACC since in all likelyhood the leafs will be playing on a saturday in march at home.

I am elated @ this news. 10-15 events a year?? Better get my ass back into shape lol

Awesome awesome news



 The UFC knows that this is a big revenue spot and the province is quickly learning that this is an event that not only brings in revenuw but stirs the economic pot and puts people to work.

Oh man, I'm gonna be online 24/7 when it gets closer to the date of UFC's debut in Ontario! I'm gonna get my ticket ASAP!! I just hope it turns out a little better than when I went to UFC 113 in Montreal.

This is great news people! Everybody celebrate! YAY for MMA!

Oh yes, Dalton McGuinty is the worlds biggest cocksucker who deserves to have his neck snapped in a triangle!! And I think we ALL can agree on that! Funny thing is his wife is SO sweet! What a nice lady. Don't know how she ended up with that jerk!


It would be cool, unfortunately, it isn't true...according to the UFC's Canadian head office.


Philip J Fry - It would be cool, unfortunately, it isn't true...according to the UFC's Canadian head office.

What is not true?

Here's the article: http://www.sherdog.com/news/news/Ontario-Decides-to-Sanction-MMA-UFC-Eyes-Toronto-in-2011-26351

Contrary to several published reports, the UFC has not reserved a March 2011 date at Toronto’s Rogers Centre, the 60,000-seat home to Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays.

“I can tell you that we haven’t reserved a date for the Rogers Centre in March and not reserved any dates at all right now,” said Tom Wright, the UFC’s Director of Canadian Operations. “We’ll do that when the time is right. I heard that report and chuckled when I heard it.”

MFC will though jk

Mark by armbar!! ooh wait