Amidst growing concern and deteriorating faith from fight fans in the Canadian market, UFC Managing Director of Operations in in Canada, Australia and New Zealand Tom Wright believes order will be restored in the coming weeks.
2014 brought with it significant instability in the Canadian market, as it became clear that one of the UFC's biggest markets had reached a standstill in their negotiations with Roger's Sportsnet, leading many to consider the future of UFC television broadcasts in the Great White North. While it appears that TSN and Fight Network have both placed bids on UFC broadcasting rights in Canada, some see the promotion's subscription service, Fight Pass, as the logical next step for Canadians looking for UFC content.
While Wright was mum about the details of the broadcast deal, he was adamant that Canadian fans will be able to find UFC content with relative ease in the coming weeks.
"Well I can guarantee you, Ariel, your fans and our fans, that they will be able to watch it," Wright told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. "I can't tell you exactly where at this stage, but chances are if you invite me on your show next week or the week after, I can tell you. It is that close.
"It did (take longer than I expected), but I think it's all going to be terrific when we finalize all these details. These kinds of things do take time because you want to make sure you're doing right for not only yourselves, but also for our broadcast partners and for our fans, making sure that our content is as readily available to as many people as possible. So they're not easy discussions, they're not easy negotiations, but they're important and that's why they take time."
Another alarming signal of the deteriorating confidence in the Canadian market was the UFC's decision to cancel events in the two biggest markets in the country: Toronto and Montreal. Instead, the UFC hosted three events in Canada this year: The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia in Quebec City back in April, UFC 174 in Vancouver and most recently UFC Fight Night: Halifax in Nova Scotia.
Once again, Wright was non-committal about the amount of events the UFC would host in Canada in 2015, instead suggesting it would be between three and five events.
"I can't tell you definitively. I can tell you it's going to be anywhere from three to as many as five, and once again those are the kinds of things that we're discussing this week. Because you know how it works, I'm looking for three to five events as year, and I'm looking for a number of events in Australia, then my Brazilian counterpart is looking for this number of events, and then we've got broadcast commitments that we have to take care of around the world. So the quick answer is that it'll be somewhere between three and five.
"The best I can tell you is that I expect to know definitively in early January what the entire schedule is going to be."
Transcription taken from MMAFighting.com.