Toronto is a proud sports town. We produce great athletes and are some of the most loyal, diehard fans on the planet. The honourable tradition of supporting homegrown talent is now reaching out into a new forum: mixed martial arts. Substance Cage Combat is bringing MMA to Toronto.
Currently, there are very few opportunities for MMA competitors based in Ontario to fight at home. The majority travel to Quebec, out west or south to the U.S. to get experience and exposure. This is curious as Toronto is a world-class sports city that staunchly supports MMA.
Consequently, Ontarian athletes are at a distinct disadvantage as they are at the mercy of other promoters. They are dependent upon other organizations to give them an opportunity to showcase their skills and to get the chance to ply their trade. For those who know the fight game, or competitive athletics, usually people like to see their own local talent succeed at the expense of others. Foreign fighters are selected, more often than not, to be chum for the sharks.
The travel also can take its toll financially and emotionally. It is more challenging for mixed martial artists to get sponsorships and recognition when people in their city cannot see them fight. They are also usually placed in the “heel” role when fighting on the road, as they face crowd favourites who are heavily supported by fans. Having the local judges, fans and promoters against them makes the prospect of winning a cage fight even that much more daunting.
Ontario needs a developmental program. One in which local athletes can compete on equal footing against like-skilled opponents without being the proverbial “lambs to the slaughter.” In order to be successful at the grassroots level, one must prioritize competition over profit. Enter Substance Cage Combat.
Substance Cage Combat’s (SCC) goal is to provide Ontario fighters with an opportunity to fight in Toronto. Their mandate will be achieved via small venues and inexpensive ticket prices. The program sacrifices profit for exposure.
SCC strays from traditional models by adhering to a unique philosophy: the more events, the more opportunities for athletes to gain recognition; the smaller the venue, the lower the ticket cost.
SCC is loading up their inaugural card with the best non-UFC fighters in Ontario on a blockbuster card.
The athletes selected have made names for themselves by fighting wherever they could get on a card. As gladiators bled their way through local sands on the anonymous circuits to get to the Coliseum, these men are battling to reach larger promotions. Fighting is hard enough as it is; they at least deserve to fight on fair footing.
Some Ontarians that are recognizable to Canadian MMA fans who are scheduled on this historic event are: Adrian Wooley (7-3), Todd Stoute (4-0), Alex Ricci (6-1) and Elias Theodorou (6-0). There will also be amazing new talent ready to explode in front of their friends and family as they forge their identities on the scene.
On June 29th, at George Bell Arena (215 Ryding Avenue), Toronto will have a voice. A forum to cheer, encourage and appreciate their brethren as they compete in high-level professional MMA.
With affordable pricing at $35 and $45, fighters get a chance to fight and all supporters have the chance to support. The fifth-largest city on the continent can now step out from the shadows and cast its civic pride upon the MMA universe. Fighters and fans alike can now align to showcase the grit and class of this stellar city.
This is an opportunity for people to be a part of the movement from the ground floor. Buy your ticket in advance. Follow the event on Twitter: @substancecombat and on Facebook: substancecombat.