UFC Getting Aggressive with Canadian Expansion; Talks of 'TUF Canada'?

Mark PareCorrespondent IIOctober 22, 2012

July 11, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; UFC president Dana White addresses the media during a press conference after the UFC on Fuel TV at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

What started April 2008 at UFC 83 was a love affair between UFC President Dana White and Canadian fans, and who can blame either?

The UFC has a massive fanbase in Canada. The attendance records show it with the UFC's top four attended events of all time, including a reported 55,724 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario for UFC 129 in April 2011.

The UFC also makes a ton of cash on Canadian soil, so they know there's business to be had. It's not only Canadian fans getting excited, but also Canadian mixed martial artists.

As announced by UFC Canada Director Tom Wright in a recent article on MMAWeekly.com, the UFC will continue to produce plenty of content for Canadian fans, with a reported four or five events set for 2013 and another five in 2014. That means plenty of chances for Canadian fighters to get bouts on cards closer to home.

It's not only current fighters getting excited, but also aspiring Canadian UFC fighters looking for their big break into the biggest MMA promotion. Wright indicated that there would be a season of The Ultimate Fighter for Canadian fighters.

The UFC will hold their third event in Canada in 2012, with UFC 154: St-Pierre vs. Condit on Nov. 17.  There were three events each in 2011 and 2010 for the UFC.

If all this comes to fruition, Canada will not have to worry about starving for UFC action for a long time to come.

The planned events for 2013 see two going to Montreal and Toronto and two other places that "may surprise a few people." That could be about anywhere in the nation, if Wright has anything to do with it.

It is also possible one of the proposed events would serve as the TUF: Canada finale.

Wright has been making "countless trips" to Ottawa to get MMA legalized nationwide. He wants to change the current definition of prize fights in Canada, under section 83 (2) of the criminal code, to include mixed martial arts. 

The code currently states:

Prize fight means an encounter or fight with fists or hands between two persons who have met for that purpose by previous arrangement made by or for them, but a boxing contest between amateur sportsmen, where the contestants wear boxing gloves of not less than one hundred and forty grams each in mass, or any boxing contest held with the permission or under the authority of an athletic board or commission or similar body established by or under the authority of the legislature of a province for the control of sport within the province, shall be deemed not to be a prize fight.

The UFC has made stops in Ontario (Toronto), Quebec (Montreal), British Columbia (Vancouver) and Alberta (Calgary).

Changing the legal definition of this code is a big move by the UFC to cover the rest of the country. With the bill for this change in the House of Commons in Ottawa, it is reportedly expected to pass, making it easier for the UFC to make a permanent home in all parts of Canada.

It seems like a slow transition Dana White has been making with Canada, slowly increasing the number of events each year. Now, however, there will be more events and more content for Canadian UFC fans to sink their teeth into.

With all these moves by UFC brass, are they being too aggressive?

What do you think?


Mark Pare is a Featured Columnist. You can follow him on Twitter, and don't forget to check out his sportswriter page.