SBD/Issue 238/Leagues & Governing Bodies

UFC Officials Expect To Bring PPV Card To Vancouver By June

UFC Execs Have Met With Vancouver Officials,
Expect To Have Sport Sanctioned Soon
UFC Exec VP Lawrence Epstein Thursday said that the UFC will "bring a pay-per-view card to GM Place next June, and is considering adjoining it to a fan exposition," according to Matthew Sekeres of the GLOBE & MAIL. UFC officials "spoke with B.C. Attorney General Michael de Jong on Wednesday and said they would meet with federal politicians over the next six weeks," and they also "met with Vancouver officials." While the B.C. and Ontario provincial governments currently "have punted the issue of regulation" for MMA, UFC officials said that they "expect to have their sport sanctioned by Vancouver, if not B.C., in the next four months." Epstein said that 15-20% of the UFC's business "comes from Canada." UFC VP/Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner: "We're willing to spend the time and the money to go to Ottawa and do what we can." UFC officials said that they "have 40 states sanctioning bouts, and that Canadian cities in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia have been lobbying for fight cards." Sekeres notes behind Ratner, the UFC "has beaten a path to B.C., Ontario and New York, lobbying three significant holdouts on its regulatory map" (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/28). In Vancouver, John Colebourn notes a "number of events have been held in Quebec" already (Vancouver PROVINCE, 8/28). Meanwhile, in Milwaukee, Don Walker reported Wisconsin state Sen. Dave Hansen and Rep. Pedro Colon "introduced a bill on Thursday intended to regulate and establish safety standards for mixed martial arts in Wisconsin," which is "one of 10 states in the country that does not regulate" MMA (JSONLINE.com, 8/27).

White Has Hinted Of Merger
Between UFC And WEC
MERGER TALK: UFC President Dana White Thursday "hinted that there may be a merger" between the UFC and the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) organization that UFC parent company Zuffa also owns. White said that he has a "new television deal" with Versus, which hosts WEC fights. Spike has an "exclusive deal to air UFC fights on cable," but White said that "that's not a reason preventing a merger." White said of whether Spike's exclusivity deal could "get in the way" of a merger, "There are obviously some things that need to be worked out, but we can figure this thing out. We've had bigger problems" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/27). Meanwhile, White said being on network TV is "not that big of a goal for me." White: "I could have been on network television, (but) the deal has to be right. I'm not going to make a stupid business deal just to get on television, and the deal has never been right" (OREGONLIVE.com, 8/26).

GETTING OFF THE MAT: Maryland State Athletic Commission (MSAC) Exec Dir Patrick Pannella said that Maryland's "first sanctioned mixed martial arts card" is scheduled for October 24 at 1st Mariner Arena. Canton, Maryland, gym owner John Rallo, who "spearheaded the sanctioning effort," will "promote the first event." Rallo said that the promotion "would break even with a crowd of 3,000 and that he'd be happy with 5,000." Rallo indicated that he also is "negotiating with Comcast SportsNet to get the event broadcast on cable television," and "if the show does well, Rallo hopes to run three events a year at 1st Mariner." The MSAC will receive a 10% cut of gross revenues from the event, and Rallo said that the tax "could be an impediment to attracting UFC, which recently ran a sold-out show in Philadelphia" (Walker & Van Valkenburg, Baltimore SUN, 8/28).

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