When last we spoke to Tom Wright, it was just prior to UFC 131 in Vancouver and while the UFC’s director of operations in Canada told ESPN.com that the fight company remained committed to doing shows in British Columbia, he also indicated the UFC might take its cage and go elsewhere if the province didn’t get its act together with regard to sanctioning mixed martial arts.
That June event at Rogers Arena appeared to go off without a hitch, but now it seems we shouldn’t expect to see any return trips to BC during the next calendar year, Wright recently told the Canadian Press, as the turmoil still surrounding MMA there could make it impossible.
A two-year test period for the sport authorized by the city of Vancouver will reportedly expire at the beginning of 2012 and in the absence of any action by the local government to create a provincial athletic commission or do away with high fees that priced many smaller promotions out entirely, so too presumably ends the bid to get MMA sanctioned there, at least for the time being.
"And the disappointing thing for our sport is that after a two-year test period, they've had two tests -- ours," Wright said. "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 ... Will we go back to Vancouver in time? Yeah. Will it be next year? I doubt it."
The UFC will continue to book high-profile events in Canada during 2012, including shows in Toronto, Montreal and one city that "will surprise you," Wright said. In the immediate future, however, it seems the UFC has no plans to return to British Columbia until the political winds shift considerably.