UFC Canada: Fight in Ottawa, go to jail

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is staging another fight in Canada -- except this time it won't be inside the Octagon.

UFC Director of Canadian Operations Tom Wright, along with featherweight star Mark Hominick and bantamweight badass Yves Jabouin, head to Parliament Hill today (Sept. 29, 2011) to try and convince the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, among others, that mixed martial artists are not bad people.

They just like to fight a lot.

CBCSports.ca has more:

The UFC is seeking a rewording of Section 83 (2) of the Criminal Code so that MMA - like boxing - is exempted from prosecution in a section that essentially covers unsanctioned "prize fights."

"It's that kind of clarity that we need to have," argues Wright, noting that different jurisdictions have come up with their own definitions of what prize fighting includes.

Ontario ignored the Criminal Code vagaries in eventually sanctioning the sport, instead ensuring its Athletics Control Act apply to MMA. Vancouver opened the door to UFC shows via a city commission.

A revision of the Criminal Code is seen as possibly opening the door to areas in Canada where the sport is currently not sanctioned.

"A good example would be if we wanted to take one of our Ultimate Fight Nights [televised cards] to Saskatoon or Regina," said Wright. "We can't do that until we've resolved these kinds of issues."

The UFC wants to come to Ottawa to do its thing without invoking the wrath of the mounties. And from a monetary standpoint, it's a hard proposition to turn down.

Not only did UFC 129: "St. Pierre vs. Shields" pack over 55,000 fans into the Rogers Center in Toronto, it also conjured up about $40 million for the city's tourism and local businesses.

And that may have something to do with a certain Canadian welterweight named Georges St. Pierre, who not only rules the 170-pound roost, but also managed to win Canada's "Athlete of the Year" award three years in a row.

While fight fans may be impatient, thanks largely in part to the sport growing and expanding at such a rapid pace (spoiled brats!), it's likely this hurdle will be cleared in a matter of time. If not, there is always plan B.

Who's up for a road trip to UFC 140?


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