“The disappointing thing for our sport is that after a two-year test period, they’ve had two tests … ours, “Because no other promotion could afford the indemnification or the insurance costs or the other things… or actually have the perseverance to get an event to be held there.” – Tom Wright UFC Director of Canadian Operations
Well, that was fun while it lasted. There will be no professional mixed martial arts in Vancouver for a while. The way professional MMA has been treated in Vancouver and with the city’s civic election on Nov. 19, the following should give sports fans in Vancouver something to chew on.
Back in 2009, when the majority of Vancouver city council voted for a two-year trial on professional MMA, someone didn’t bother reading us the fine print. The “two-year trial” meant only the UFC could come to town.
City council decided to include insane insurance and indemnity demands during the supposed “trial”
period. Anytime any professional and well-organized promotion had their ducks in a row, they had to jump through flaming hoops and eventually get tied up in red tape.
It was disorganized and purposely made difficult for promoters because the two-year trial was a lie.
The UFC had the cash and deep pockets so they could afford to put on two shows. Each show went off without an incident and there were no major complaints reported. Can’t say that about Canuck games, can we?
When the biggest professional Canadian promotion in Maximum Fighting Championships wanted to use the Agrodome – a venue usually left empty for most of the year – the MFC was told at the last minute that the PNE did not want to accommodate them.
The PNE Chair happens to be Coun. Raymond Louie, a known critic of the sport who was the brains behind the crazy insurance demands.
It’s tough to just point the finger at city council; there is blame to throw around at city hall and at the province, too. There needs to be a province-wide athletic commission as in Ontario and Alberta.
The NDP have said they would like to see it and the Liberals, as usual, have no comment.
For now, Vancouver needs to step up. Professional MMA brings in dollars. There is an expensive, refurbished BC Place that the UFC would love to use for a big show, but city mayors, like Mayor Gregor Robertson, would rather hike up gas taxes because, apparently, the city needs money.