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UFC layoffs continue with ousting of Canadian executive Tom Wright

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UFC Canada chief Tom Wright has been let go, and so has a significant percentage of the staff in their Toronto office.

UFC 189 World Championship Press Tour - Calgary Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

In 2010, UFC president Dana White declared Canada “the mecca of MMA.” The following year, White called Toronto “the strongest market on the planet.” This week, as reported by MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani, the UFC laid off approximately 80% of its department in its Toronto office, as the promotion’s new owners continue to restructure the company and reduce its number of employees.

The biggest name on the list is Tom Wright, who was the UFC Executive Vice President and General Manager for Operations in Canada, as well as Australia, and New Zealand. As Helwani noted, Wright “was hired in 2010 and immediately helped get the sport legalized in Ontario. He was also very influential in helping to re-write the criminal code in Canada in order to legalize the sport nationwide, as well as lifting the cage ban in Victoria, Australia.”

On Tuesday, Wright was alongside UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson, as the three spent the day promoting their UFC 206 main event in Toronto, the city’s first UFC event since 2013.

Wright joins Marshall Zelaznik, Garry Cook, Ken Berger, and many other higher profile executives from around the world who have been let go following the recent sale of the UFC from Zuffa to WME-IMG. It is expected that 60-80 employees will be laid off, which would be "less than 15 percent” of the workforce.

The UFC has not had nearly a large a presence in Canada in recent years. For perspective, Canada hosted 12 UFC PPVs (3 annually) from 2010-2013, of which 4 were headlined by Georges St-Pierre. Since then, only 8 UFC shows of any sort (PPV, FS1, FOX, Fight Pass, etc.) have gone to Canada in the last 3 years, with December’s UFC 206 pay-per-view representing the 8th show. Two of those events were pay-per-views headlined by Demetrious Johnson, while the other five were Fight Night cards.

With massive cuts to the UFC’s Canadian operations, as well as the loss of Rory MacDonald to Bellator, and the current contractual standoff between the UFC and Georges St-Pierre, there’s a decidedly different feeling about the UFC’s presence in “the mecca of MMA.”