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Tag: Tom Wright

Are Cautious Fans to Blame for UFC 154′s Slow Ticket Sales?


(Yes, Georges, your knees are fine, and you can still curtsy like a little princess, we get it.)

According to a new report by the Vancouver Sun, UFC 154: St. Pierre vs. Condit (November 17th, Montreal) is suffering from slow ticket sales, with large groups of seats available less than three weeks out from the show. Though the UFC still expects a capacity crowd at the Bell Centre, it’s a noticeable shift from the promotion’s four previous stops in Montreal, three of which set UFC attendance records. According to UFC Director of Canadian Operations Tom Wright, fans may be spooked by the UFC’s recent injury apocalypse, which absolutely destroyed their July stop in Calgary:

There’s been many examples over the last several fights — UFC 151 and 149 in Calgary is a good example of it — where fighters got injured and there were changes to the card. I think there are fans who are saying, ‘You know what? I’m really excited about GSP‘s return and I love the fact that we’ve got (Martin) Kampmann versus (Johny) Hendricks in the co-main event, and we’ve got a bunch of Canadians on the card. But you know what? I bought my tickets 12 weeks out for Calgary and a whole bunch of things happened. I’m going to wait until it’s a little closer’…I absolutely think that you’re seeing that. I think you’re going to see that going forward.”

Sounds like a logical hypothesis to me. I’m not going to go as far as to call UFC 154′s supporting card garbage-ass, but you have to ask yourself — if, God forbid, either GSP or Carlos Condit suffered a freak injury at the eleventh hour, is the rest of the lineup strong enough to soldier on without them? The co-main event of Kampmann vs. Hendricks is solid enough to headline a FUEL or FX card, but would be a tough sell for a pay-per-view headliner at the Bell Centre. And outside of the top two fights, the biggest name on the main card is Mark Hominick, who is riding an agonizing three-fight losing streak, and facing the inconsistent (and not-particuarly-relevant) Pablo Garza.

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UFC Holds ‘Community Works’ Event in Toronto for Youth and Reveal Plans to Implement Anti-Bullying Program in Canada


(Video courtesy of YouTube/ BlahBlahBlah2145)

While in attendance at the UFC press conference in which the promotion announced announced that it would be making it’s long-awaited debut in Ontario last year, I asked the company’s newly-appointed Canadian director of operations, Tom Wright, whether or not there were plans to implement any community-based programs such as in-school anti-bullying initiatives. Although it was early in his tenure, Wright told me that it was definitely something that they would be looking at and that programs such as these were some of the most rewarding he experienced as the head of the Canadian Football League Commissioner.

It’s been 19 months since Wright was hired and Zuffa announced this week that it’s planning on working with local schools in the Greater Toronto Area, where it’s Canadian branch is located, to implement a mentoring program for youth who have experienced bullying. Though it’s too early to tell, there are indications that a regular stream of fighters could speak to Toronto kids about their own experiences with bullying as youth, teachers and parents and if all goes well, it could become a implemented in schools across the country.

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In Spite of Unfounded Claims By City Council Candidate That MMA Fans Are All Drunken, Homophobic Ruffians, Vancouver Police Say UFC 131 Crowd Was Well Behaved


(In this photo alone, there are at least 25 crimes taking place…most of them involve God-awful $45 t-shirts and shirtless grown men holding signs or covered in body paint.)

Remember when Vancouver City Council demanded that the UFC shell out the cash to pay for additional policemen and the big news was that the promotion had told them to get bent?

Well, it turns out the money would have been a big waste.

The city’s police service are reporting that there were no major incidents reported following Saturday night’s event.

“They didn’t report in any incidents of note,” Jana McGuinness, a Vancouver Police Department media relations officer told The Vancouver Courier Tuesday. “There was good dialogue with the police and the community since last year and their concerns were brought forward and we responded with increased patrols.”

According to one Vancouver man, however, who took it upon himself to personally sniff out any wrongdoing by UFC fans, there actually was some depravity and defilement that took place after the fights.

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Tom Wright: UFC 140 in Montreal in December Quite Possible and GSP vs. Nick Diaz Main Event Isn’t Being Ruled Out


(One of the instances when we’d overlook the flagrant violation of Zuffa’s “business as usual” policy)

Montreal is being targeted as the site of UFC 140 on December 10 according to the UFC’s director of Canadian operations Tom Wright who revealed the news on Ringside Report Radio Wednesday night.

“We’ll do Vancouver on June 11 and then most likely we’ll be back in Montreal on December 10,” Wright said.“We know how important this market is to us and putting on great fights. [Bell Centre's]  a great venue, it’s a great fan-base, it’s a great environment. The energy in that building is as good as any building in North America. We’ll always have a soft spot for Montreal.”

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Why is Vancouver So Scared of MMA Fans?

There is mounting evidence to suggest that the city of Vancouver – and indeed the entire province of British Columbia – views MMA and its fans as a roving band of savages who are going to storm the town with torches and two-by-fours, burning every building and raping every damsel before climbing on their snarling horses and moving on to pillage the next village. At least that’s the impression we get from a number of local news reports leading up to June’s UFC 131. First there were reports from the Vancouver Courier that the police chief in The Couv was asking the UFC to foot the bill for extra cops outside the Rogers Arena during the event. The UFC rightly said no to that request last week. Now older reports are beginning to surface that the local government squashed a planned MMA expo last year and even one (from our own M-Russ in his previous incarnation at The Fight Network) alleging that area nightclubs tried to ban Affliction clothing as far back as 2007.

So, what gives? Why so petrified, Vancouver? Did somebody forget to tell them Brock Lesnar’s probably not even going to show up now? We hate to break the news this way, but the UFC has actually been doing shows all over the world for kind of a lot of years now and all of them – as far as we know – are still standing and operational as, you know, cities. From where we’re sitting it seems way more dangerous to say, have your team win the NBA championship than host a UFC event. Oh, wait. Sorry. Forgot. Anyway, more on this story, the UFC’s reaction and the possible roots of Vancouver’s MMA phobia after the jump.

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Chief of US Anti-Doping Agency Calls MMA Drug Testing ‘Horrific’ and ‘a Joke’

(All natural, bro, all natural. Pic: GoodmenProject)

We told you last weekend there seemed to be some confusion about who was doing the drug testing at UFC 129, after the Ontario Athletic Commission admitted it didn’t oversee any prefight screening and the UFC had to reportedly take matters in hand by hiring an independent lab to do the work. For a variety of reasons – financial and otherwise — it’s obviously problematic when the only drug testing done at a major sporting event is overseen by the promotion itself. Especially when the president of said promotion consistently tells the media his organization is powerless against “the government” in nearly all PED-related issues.

Now, here’s a new reason to raise our eyebrows, as just prior to UFC 129 the head of the renowned US Anti-Doping Agency went on record to call drug testing in MMA “horrific” and say it’s “a joke” that promoters “claim they are trying to protect their sport with WADA (compliant) policies.” That’s World Anti-Doping Agency, for those of you keeping score, pretty much the gold standard in the drug-testing world. USADA chief Travis Tygart told Reuters recently that his organization — which oversees America’s Olympic-level testing — has no involvement in the UFC’s drug policies and called the current system employed by promoters and government athletic commissions “woefully inadequate.”

His quotes, scathing as they are, are after the jump …

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UFC 129 Sells Out in One Day Before Tickets Go On General Sale

(Even the cornermen are considering scalping their passes for this one.)

CP 24 is reporting that just over three hour after tickets went on sale Thursday for UFC 129 – Zuffa’s landmark first show in Ontario, fans snapped up each of the 42,000 tickets, prompting the promotion to open up more seats for the Rogers Centre show to ensure that there are tickets available to the plethora of fans waiting for Friday’s UFC newsletter pre-sale and Saturday’s general sale. Although the UFC’s director of Canadian Operations, Tom Wright selling 50,000 seats for the April 30 event, which will feature a pair of championship bouts, may be “pushing it,” judging by the response, the event could very well exceed the WWE’s record attendance mark for the venue of just south of 68,000.

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Watch the UFC 124 Press Conference Streamed Live From Montreal at 1:00 pm ET

Don’t forget to check out the feed for today’s UFC 124 press conference live from Montreal here at 1:00 pm ET.

Scheduled to be in attendance are UFC welterweight champ, Georges St-Pierre, number one welterweight contender, Josh Koscheck, UFC Director of Canadian Operations, Tom Wright,  and UFC president, Dana White.

They will likely be announcing the remainder of the card that is rumored for the December 11 show.

UFC 124
December 11, 2010 7:00 pm ET
Bell Centre – Montreal, Quebec

Welterweight Championship Bout
Georges St-Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck

Thiago Alves vs. John Howard
Jim Miller vs. Charles Oliveira
Dan Miller vs. Joe Doerksen
Ricardo Almeida vs. TJ Grant
Mark Bocek vs. Dustin Hazelett
Jason MacDonald vs. Rafael Natal
Stefan Struve vs. Sean McCorkle
Matt Riddle vs. Anthony Waldburger

UFC media player is after the jump.

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Meet the UFC’s New Canadian Connection

 
(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.

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