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UFC to Open Office in Toronto, Hires Former CFL Head to Lead Charge

As a display of its commitment towards MMA in Canada, the UFC's major announcement Tuesday afternoon at the Rogers Centre in Toronto was the establishing of a physical office in Toronto and the hiring of Tom Wright as the Director of the UFC's Canadian operations.

After playing a video package of UFC footage from around the world, UFC co-owners Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta stood in front of Canadian flags to discuss with the media Wright's role in the company and the promotion's expansion plans.

"The reality is, is that Canada is an important market for us," Fertitta said. "If you look at Toronto, which I believe is the fourth-largest commercial business area in North America behind New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. So it obviously makes sense from a business standpoint. Plus the fact that a lot of our partners that we deal with from a television standpoint and other areas are based here in Toronto. So physically doing business in Toronto is important for us."

Wright brings to the UFC with him experience as Commissioner of the Canadian Football League, President and CEO of Salomon North America, President of Adidas Canada and President of Spalding Canada. Wright is coming off a stint as Managing Director of Level5 Strategic Brand Advisors and will begin work with the UFC starting next Monday.

"It's so important that now we're putting an office here," White said. "We've hired a very serious guy and we're going to have the full court press. We're ready to roll. We want this done. We want to lock up North America."

Wright's role will be to continue the efforts to secure regulatory approval in provinces all across the country as well as building the brand through licensing, merchandising and UFC gyms in Canada.

MMA is currently not sanctioned in Ontario.

The UFC first met with Wright last October at UFC 104 in Los Angeles, and after discussions and reviewing Wright's extensive resume, the UFC found Wright a perfect fit to carry out the company's plans in Canada.

An exact location of the UFC's office in Canada is to be determined, but it will be in Toronto and there is expected to be 12-15 employees in the office. The office will be the second UFC outside of the US, with the other being the UK office in London.

Notes: A Canadian version of The Ultimate Fighter is on the "top of the list" of the Canadian office's plans ... White said there was an obvious relationship with the Rogers Centre, but no dates have been secured.

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