Best of 2010 – Canadian Story of the Year
With no more shows scheduled for 2010, Top MMA News is going to start releasing our Best of 2010 awards. These awards have been voted by the Top MMA News’ contributers from across Canada.
The first award is the top story of the year. A lot has happened in Canada this year: Different promotions have tried expanding in Canada, other promotions have started up and others have died, commissions have had an array of mishaps, and Canadian fighters continue to do well in competition. With so much to choose from, here are the Top MMA News Top 5 Canadian Stories from 2010:
1. MMA Legalized in Ontario
MMA has been going strong across Canada, yet the largest province and city in the country did not allow MMA events. For many years, the Ontario Athletic Commission, headed by Ken Hayashi, considered the sport illegal and would not sanction events. Thankfully, the debt-ridden province recognized the financial windfall of having a UFC event and legalized Mixed Martial Arts for 2011. Unlike Vancouver, Ontario promises to allow non-UFC promoters to hold events there as well. Think the sport was booming in Canada before? Just wait until MMA shows come to Ontario in 2011 and the UFC stuffs the Roger Centre full of Canadian MMA fans next April.
2. The Zuffa Invasion
Zuffa has recognized that Canada is a huge market for their brand of MMA. Building off of their successful Montreal show in 2009, Zuffa held four shows in Canada in 2010 – Three sold out UFC shows in Montreal, Vancouver, and Montreal again and a WEC show in Edmonton. Canadian fans continue to support MMA and Zuffa promises to be back with another three pay-per-view events in 2011 and Canadian Director of Operations Tom Wright has hinted that UFC Fight Nights may be held in smaller cities like Hamilton, Winnipeg, Calgary, etc..
3. MMA Legalized in Vancouver
This 2010 news story has resulted in lukewarm results bringing only the top and bottom shows to the city. Yes, the UFC did hold a sold out show in Vancouver to great success, but the city’s prohibitive insurance demands and the limited access to smaller venues have stopped other professional shows from entering the Vancouver market. Only a sprinkling of amateur MMA events have been held since.
4a) The Short Life of Lets Get It On MMA
There was a tie for the fourth biggest news story in Canada. The first story was the short life of Let’s Get It On MMA. Elaine McCarthy announced her event with great fanfare – a Canada-wide professional tournament consisting of nine events on TV with the two winners each getting a spot on Strikeforce and $25,000. Unfortunately, LGIO bit off more than it could chew. After one well run event, the promotion shut its doors citing, among other things, cage issues in Gatineau as a major reason for its failure.
4b) MFC Expansion Woes
There is no doubt that Maximum Fighting Championship is the king of all Canadian-owned MMA promotions and has the most international exposure than the rest of the organizations. However, the promotion’s long-time international plans stumbled in 2010 when they announced a date for Brandon on September 10 as well as a likely December 10th date for Georgetown in the Cayman Islands. Ultimately, the Brandon show was officially pulled due to a lack of hotel rooms for the show and the Cayman Islands official announcement never came as that deal never came to fruition. Thankfully, the promotion remains solid in its Edmonton stronghold.
Honorable Mentions (Others receiving votes)
* Georges St-Pierre Remains Dominant
* Moncton Lifts MMA Ban
* Edmonton Commission Allows Pride Rules