As MMA Arrives in Ontario, Anti-MMA Voices Surface

By Michael David Smith

We’re used to it by now. Those of us who love mixed martial arts have come to accept that our sport will be subjected to ignorant, unfair commentary from people who don’t understand it and don’t care to understand it, and that the anti-MMA voices will grow particularly loud any time the sport becomes regulated in an area where it had previously been banned.

But even if we’re used to it, and it would be easier just to ignore it, sometimes it’s valuable to point out some of the over-the-top assertions about MMA that come out in the local media whenever the sport arrives in a new town.

So with MMA recently being legalized in Ontario, let’s take a look at some of the problems with this Windsor Star column by Anne Jarvis.

Jarvis starts with this:
“So, Maximum Fighting Championship 29: Conquer is coming to Caesars Windsor next month. They’ll have to hose the blood off the floor of the Colosseum.  Mixed martial arts is the full-contact, almost no-holdsbarred sport combining boxing, wrestling and martial arts. Bouts are fought in a cage. It’s bloody barbaric, and I meant that pun.”

Good one.
“Half of bouts end in a knockout, technical knockout or “choke out,” all of which can cause brain injury. Some of these guys will likely suffer chronic traumatic encephalopathy, like hockey player Bob Probert.”

 

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Carlos Newton confirmed for JEG London, Ontario show for May 19th

MMA fans and fanatics across the map saw their dreams turn to reality on January 1, 2011 when the Government officially legalized Mixed Martial Arts in Ontario!

The buzz has been going for weeks and Jones Entertainment Group (JEG) is among the first to carry it forward. On May 19, 2011 JEG will fill the John Labatt Centre (JLC) with over 9,000 MMA fans, creating one of the most memorable sporting events to ever happen in London, ON. Canada’s top fighters will go face to face with the world’s best, in an 8-bout matchup that is sure to leave spectators high on MMA adrenaline for days!

President of Jones Entertainment Group, Brad Jones, says:

“We are thrilled to have been licensed by the Ontario Government to promote 3 large scale MMA fights across Ontario in 2011 – the first one being here in London, at the JLC on May 19th. We’re making a promise to MMA fans that these events will be world-class. With the highest calibre of fighters, superior production (sound, lighting and video) and taking place in top-notch venues.”

With the Jones family having been in the entertainment business for over 80 years – starting back in the 1920’s promoting boxing and wrestling events with heroes like Whisper Billy Watson – it’s no wonder Brad Jones finishes off his quote by saying “This is a very exciting day”.

The excitement is spreading like wildfire. General Manager of Tourism London, John Winston, sums it up perfectly:

“This will be huge! Not just for MMA Fans but for the City of London!”

Next to Toronto’s April 29th UFC event, MMA LIVE1 on May 19th at the John Labatt Centre in London, will be the biggest event in Ontario in 2011.

For more information: Click Here

UFC has stranglehold on T.O. fans

By Chris Doucette, Toronto Sun

Deciding Toronto would be the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s first ever stadium show was a bold but calculated move that has paid off big time.

Building on the momentum that began long before Ontario finally lifted its ban on the sport of mixed martial arts, the company’s affable president Dana White announced back in December that UFC 129 would be held at the Rogers Centre on April 30 and the event aimed to smash their previous North American attendance record.

When advance tickets finally went on sale on Thursday, fight fans were chomping at the bit and some 42,000 tickets were snatched up in about seven minutes.

“The response was absolutely overwhelming,” Tom Wright, the UFC’s director of Canadian operations, told the Sun.

It was so overwhelming the UFC quickly decided to add more seats.  Wright wasn’t immediately able to say how many seats were added, but those tickets sold out in four minutes on Friday.  The tickets were originally sold for between $300 and $800 for floor seats. But some are already being resold for tens of thousands of dollars. Reports online suggest front-row seats are going for a whopping $39,999.

The UFC opened up a select number of additional seats a second time, so there would be some tickets available when they officially went on sale Saturday. But Wright made it clear the UFC has no intention of trying to break the Rogers Centre’s attendance record of 68,237, set in 2002 with Wrestlemania 18.

 

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If you didn’t notice already, UFC’s Toronto pre-sale figures are a really big deal

By Zach Arnold | February 11, 2011

You don’t think selling 40,000+ tickets, scalpers or not, for the April 30th show at the Sky Dome (Rogers Centre) is big? Of course it is. Not that this comes as any surprise to us given that I predicted 10 months ago that a show with GSP would easily outdraw the Blue Jays (and it has).

There was great consternation that the Sky Dome was too big of a facility for the UFC to run their debut in Ontario and that they should run the Air Canada Centre. I didn’t buy into that idea because Ontario, along with other major Canadian cities, have been huge PPV-buying markets for the UFC. Naturally, UFC was going to draw big for their first foray into Toronto. I will say that it is quite astonishing just how fast tickets are selling, which is a good thing.

UFC must be hoping and praying for Georges St. Pierre to beat Jake Shields. If the fight is ugly but GSP wins, that’s one thing. If Shields wins and it’s exciting, that’s a crapshoot. If Shields wins and it’s ugly, then I don’t know how hot Toronto would stay as a live-event market. Ultimately, the goal is for St. Pierre to win and look strong so that the ‘dream match-up’ between him and Anderson Silva happens in Toronto.

 

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UFC’s Sherk set to visit Niagara

A former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title holder will be coming to Grimsby this weekend.

Mike Mann, owner of TCM (The Card Mann) in Grimsby, will be welcoming UFC fighter Sean Sherk to the store, located in the Village Inn Centre, 63 Main St. W., on Sunday, Feb. 13, from noon to 2 p.m.

Mann recently received a pleasant surprise when Sherk’s manager called the store and asked if they wanted the fighter to make an appearance. According to Sherk’s website, it will be the only local stop the fighter will make at this point leading up to his participation at UFC 129 in Toronto this April — the first to be held in Ontario since the mixed-martial arts fighting was legalized last August. “We’re really excited about the chance to do this.He

is a former champion and we’re happy to take the spot,” said Mann, noting Sherk will be in Ontario to hold an MMA seminar in Kingston that weekend.Mann said he was shocked to receive the initial phone call, and now the spin off is even more shocking.

“Since we’ve gotten him, we’ve had other people call us in the past couple weeks expressing interest in having people come in for appearances,” he said, noting it has not only been limited to UFC fighters.

While TCM isn’t a hot spot for UFC memorabilia, the store does offer a variety of memorabilia, including McFarlane action figures, cards, bike gloves and other items. They also once had Georges St. Pierre autographed gloves at the store.

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UFC To Hold Toronto Fan Event

UFC® DESCENDS UPON TORONTO IN ADVANCE OF HISTORIC ROGERS CENTRE APRIL EVENT

PRESS CONFERENCE AND FREE FAN EVENT TO BE HELD AT ROGERS CENTRE ON FEBRUARY 8

UFC® CHAMPIONS GEORGES ST-PIERRE AND JOSE ALDO ARE JOINED BY NO. 1 CONTENDERS JAKE SHIELDS AND MARK HOMINICK, ALONG WITH DANA WHITE AND TOM WRIGHT
In anticipation of what promises to be one of the most historic events in UFC® history, UFC® 129: ST-PIERRE VS. SHIELDS on April 30, the Ultimate Fighting Championship® announced today it will host a press conference and free fan event at Rogers Centre on Tuesday, February 8. UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and featherweight champion Jose Aldo will be joined by No. 1 contenders Jake Shields and Mark Hominick, along with UFC President Dana White and Canadian Director of Operations Tom Wright, for a press conference at 1 p.m. ET followed by a special Q&A period and autograph session for fans from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

Fans will have the opportunity to speak directly with White, Wright and St-Pierre in a one-hour Q&A session from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Feb. 8. Canadian fighters and Toronto area natives Sean Pierson and Claude Patrick will join Shields, Aldo and Hominick for an autograph session earlier that day, beginning once doors open at 4 p.m. (Please note – this event is on a first-come, first-serve basis – one autograph per person. Gate 9A entry).

Tickets for UFC® 129: ST-PIERRE VS. SHIELDS, presented by TapouT®, go on sale to the public on Saturday, Feb. 12 at 10 a.m. ET. Members of UFC® Fight Club™ will have the first chance to buy tickets on Thursday, Feb. 10 at 10 a.m. ET, followed by UFC newsletter subscribers on Friday, Feb. 11 at 10 a.m. ET. Fans can sign up for the UFC® Fight Club™ at http://www.ufcfightclub.com.

Tickets range from $300-$800 on the floor and from $50-$225 in the stands and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster locations and at Rogers Centre Box Office – Gate 9. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at 1-855-985-5000. Tickets also are available for purchase at http://www.ticketmaster.ca.

Approximately 40,000 tickets will be made available to UFC fans, with close to 25 percent under $100.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

UFC PRESS CONFERENCE
WHEN: Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011 – 1:00 p.m. ET
WHO: UFC President Dana White, Director of Canadian Operations Tom Wright, UFC fighters Georges St-Pierre, Jose Aldo, Jake Shields, Mark Hominick, Claude Patrick and Sean Pierson
NOTE: While the press conference is not open to the public, it will be carried live on Rogers Sportsnet and streamed online at UFC.com.

FREE FAN EVENT – Q&A AND AUTOGRAPH SIGNING
WHEN: Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011 – Doors and autographs at 4 p.m., Q&A from 5-6 p.m. ET
WHERE: Rogers Centre, Toronto – Gate 9A entrance off Bremner Blvd.
WHO: Q&A: Dana White, Tom Wright and Georges St-Pierre
Autograph session: Jose Aldo, Jake Shields, Mark Hominick, Claude Patrick and Sean Pierson

Thanks to Zuffa, MMA now going to London, Orillia and Sudbury Ontario!

By Morris Dalla Costa

LONDON, Ont. — The world of mixed martial arts is coming to London. Jones Entertainment Group of London has obtained three licences to stage mixed martial arts cards in Ontario.

They will make an announcement today at a 3 p.m press conference at the John Labatt Centre. The groups will also introduce potential fighters on the cards.

After a long battle the Ontario government agreed to allow mixed martial arts fighting in Ontario. The biggest card will be held April 29 in Toronto.

A second will be held in Orillia.

The John Labatt Centre will be the site of one of the Jones Group’s three cards on May 19. The second is scheduled for July 2 in Sudbury. The third will be October 20th with the site yet to be determined.

No decision has been made yet which MMA organization will be on the card.

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