McGuinty leaves door open to Ultimate Fighting
ontario's Premier Dalton McGuinty is considering allowing the staging of Ultimate Fighting Championship matches in the province.
"No, no, I've got an open mind to those kinds of things," he told CTV Toronto on Monday when asked if he's opposed to the martial arts events being staged here.
"I'd want to hear from people who train kids in the martial arts, how popular is it among the younger age group and all those kinds of things. It's not the kind of thing I'd want to drive underground. In other words, I'd want to bring a thoughtful approach to it."
McGuinty said he would also want to consult with police and medical officials. He also said the issue is not a priority for him.
Some folks at a Jack Astor's bar gave a range of opinions about the possibility. A few had no problem with the notion, but one man said why not just broadcast "bar fights."
Ultimate Fighting has become one of the world's fastest-growing spectator sports. It is a mixed martial arts competition, combining elements of fighting sports such as boxing, wrestling, kick boxing, karate and jiu-jitsu.
Fighters only have lightweight gloves (4 to 6 oz.) and either MMA shorts or kickboxing trunks.
Originally extremely brutal, it has toned down somewhat and become more mainstream to broaden its appeal. Although competitions are illegal here, pay-per-view events show there is wide fan interest in Ontario.
UFC president Dana White told the Toronto Start he wants to hold a competition here in 2010. He is also fighting to have his sport legalized in New York.
The UFC recently won a victory when Vancouver's city council voted to legalize mixed martial arts competitions. It has also been recently legalized in Massachusetts.
The Ontario Athletic Commission has periodically revisited the issue, but it has continually maintained that mixed martial arts violates Section 83 of the Criminal Code. That section forbids unsanctioned prizefighting.
White has said he would like to hold a UFC event in a venue such as as the Rogers Centre. He filled Montreal's Bell Centre in April and expects a sellout in Vancouver.
The UFC has claimed a UFC event in Toronto could generate $4 million in tax revenue.
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