(Wright is Dana’s antithesis: Quiet and unassuming, with a full head of hair)
In case you missed the announcement this afternoon, the UFC announced that they will be opening a Canadian office in Toronto in the coming months and that it will be headed up by former Canadian Football League Commissioner Tom Wright, who will step into his new role as the UFC’s director of Canadian operations, effective May 31.
Wright is no stranger to big business, having worked as president of both Adidas Canada and Salomon Canada as well as his current role as managing director and brand advisor at Level 5 Strategic Brand Advisors. He was also responsible for drafting the relocation plan for Billionaire Blackberry founder Jim Basille’s bid to move the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton, Ontario.
UFC president Dana White summed it up best at the press conference when asked why he brought the Ontario native in to anchor the new northern office. "The guy’s a stud."
According to Wright, the new office’s mandate will be to work towards getting the sport sanctioned across Canada, with the help of their lobbying group from the Cassels Brock law firm that includes former Ontario premier David Peterson and Noble Chummar, as well as to increase the UFC’s presence in the country, by way of a "grass roots" approach. He explained that he wants to ensure that the promotion gives back to the communities across Canada that support the organization while giving fans and those curious about the sport access to UFC athletes that most other professional sports don’t.
Although he said that its too early to know which areas they will be "giving back" to, as they have yet to hire any other employees for the Zuffa satellite and will turn their focus on building an effective team of professionals in the coming months before they can answer that query, Wright said that he is excited to start the process.
During the press conference, White was asked if the rumored March 27, 2011 date reserved for the UFC’s debut at the Rogers Centre was true, he said he would not confirm or deny dates, but said that when they do Come to Toronto, it will be at the stadium which was formerly known as "Skydome."
The record for attendance at the venue was set by Wrestlemania 18 which was attended by 67,678 fans. If White has his way, the mark could very well be broken when the UFC finally makes it to Toronto.