Northern Exposure: UFC's '14 Schedule Includes Five Events In Canada
UFC yesterday announced it will hold five shows in Canada in '14, including "a return to Vancouver and new stops in Halifax and Quebec City," according to Neil Davidson of the CP. The schedule also "calls for fights cards in Toronto and Montreal." The five shows are "up from three in recent years when Toronto and Montreal were constants on the schedule with another city rotating in." Quebec City will host a show "for the first time in the form of a televised UFC Fight Night for the live finale to 'The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia' on April 16 at Le Colisee Pepsi." UFC returns to Vancouver on June 14 "for UFC 174 at the Rogers Arena." The promotion previously "opted to stay away" from Vancouver "because of what it saw as onerous insurance and other requirements that have since been modified." Toronto "gets its fifth show in the form of UFC 178 on Sept. 27 at the Air Canada Centre." UFC "debuts in Halifax on Oct. 4 with a televised Fight Night card at the Metro Centre." The Canadian schedule then "concludes Dec. 6 with UFC 181 at the Bell Centre, marking Montreal's seventh show." UFC "has held 14 pay-per-view shows to date in Canada" (CP, 1/29). In Vancouver, Ian Austin notes UFC officials "credit a change in jurisdiction" to British Columbia "for allowing the Vancouver bout to go ahead." Vancouver officials previously required fighters to take out C$10M in insurance, "threatening to end the mixed martial arts matches after back-to-back fights" in '10 and '11. UFC Canada Operations Dir Tom Wright said, "No other organization could meet the insurance or indemnification issues the city demanded." Wright said that a "change to provincial oversight enabled the UFC to return" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 1/30).
THE LAST HOLDOUT: In N.Y., Kenneth Lovett reported a contingent of UFC officials and fighters on Tuesday traveled to Albany, N.Y., "in hopes that 2014 will be the year New York joins every other state in authorizing the sport." The state Senate has "passed the measure the last several years" and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been "more open to it if it can be proven it would be an economic driver." UFC estimates legalization in New York would generate $135M "in economic activity." While support in the state Assembly "has been growing in recent years," the measure failed last year "largely because of opposition of many of female members who believe the sport is barbaric and glorifies violence against women" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/29).