UFC President Dana White expects mixed martial arts to one day become the world's largest and most popular sport. Unfortunately that vision of global domination won't start in Ontario, Canada, as Premier Dalton McGuinty has indicated that MMA regulation was "not a priority."
Last year White expected to secure a show in Ontario at some point in 2010, setting his sights on Toronto at the Rogers Centre in front of as many as 50,000 fans. Considering that one of the world's most popular fighters is a Canadian named Georges St. Pierre, that wasn't such an unrealistic goal.
Then again, nothing is possible unless the Ontario Athletic Commission lifts its ban on cagefighting like the good folks over in Vancouver did a few months back.
More from McGuinty, courtesy of TSN.ca:
"It's just not a priority for us at this point in time, we have higher priorities when it comes to developing those jobs and strengthening the economy. We have other things on the go right now, and we'll stay focused on those, whether that's our tax reforms, stimulating the economy through investments in infrastructure, getting our children better opportunities at the outset."
While he would not comment on his personal opinion of the UFC or mixed martial arts as a sport, it's no secret that a majority of legislative blowhards still envision the UFC of yesteryear, when grotesquely out of shape bar room brawlers would duke it out for the chance to be submitted by Royce Gracie.
Ontario stands to make millions in profit and tax revenue should the UFC hold another Canadian mega-event in 2010, much like they will in Montreal in May and then again in Vancouver just a month later.
Like New York, Ontario may begin to feel the squeeze from its inhabitants if neighboring communities are raking in boku bucks while they cling to their holier-than-thou stance on MMA.
That may soon change for "The Empire State" and hopefully, Ontario.