(Now that MMA is legal in Ontario, the bandwagon will undoubtedly carry in a glut of Dana White wannabes. Let’s hope the OAC knows how to weed out the legit promoters from the scumbags.)
It looks like the UFC might get beaten to the proverbial punch when it comes to holding the inaugural sanctioned MMA event in Ontario.
CagePotato.com has learned from a source close to the situation that several promotions, including San Jose-based Strikeforce and Edmonton’s Maximum Fighting Championship have applied for promoter’s licenses in Ontario and pending approval by the Ontario Athletic Commission, at least three shows have been penciled in ahead of the UFC’s April 29 show in Toronto.
Although none of the shows have been given the go-ahead by the province as of time of writing, a number of venues have been tentatively reserved — some by first-time promoters — across the province in such locales as Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton and Orillia.
One promoter announced today that he is moving full steam ahead with a proposed April 2 card that is being planned for Casino Rama, located two hours north of Toronto. According to a Canadian Press story, UK-based promoter Robert Waterman’s MMA: The Reckoning card will be anchored by English fighters Tom "Kong" Watson and Dean Amasinger. CagePotato has since learned that the main event of the card will likely feature former IFL and WEC lightweight and London, Ontario native Chris "The Polish Hammer" Horodecki against a yet-to-be-named opponent.
At least two other promotions, including a group from Hamilton who has set its sights on the Hamilton Entertainment and Convention Facilities Incorporated (HECFI) for its tentative show, are campaigning for licenses to hold events in March.
Ontario announced last August that it would be sanctioning the sport in the province beginning in 2011. The Ministry of Consumer Services began accepting applications from promoters on January 1.
Hopefully, for the sake of the fans, fighters and legitimate promoters in the province, the Johnny-come-latelys don’t screw up what MMA supporters, campaigners and lobbyists worked so hard to finally accomplish these past 17 years in Ontario.