Earlier today, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced his government has "other things on the go" and that legislation for mixed martial arts is "not a priority right now."
This is a brutal body shot for a province that is aching for MMA to come to town. What makes it worse is that, as per usual, the province isn't really providing any clarification on what is holding up the process.
What they are doing, however, is offering up the same old tired excuses and concerns, as Customer Services Minister Sophia Aggelonitis stated that the government "[wants] to make sure that we protect not only our spectators but also sports participants."
As a long-time resident of the province of Ontario, I can tell you that boxing is supported by the provincial government and operates without concern. Of course, we've known for years that boxers have suffered far more injuries and casualties in the ring than MMA fighters over the years.
Clinging to the age-old worries and excuses is no longer acceptable.
I can appreciate that there are more pressing issues facing the government right now, but this isn't something that requires a great deal of time or money. In fact, legislating MMA would contribute large sums of money into the province's struggling economy and boost the tourism industry, just as it has twice before in Montreal and will again in May.
Countless states have opened their eyes to the benefits of MMA, as have a number of other Canadian provinces. It's time for the Ontario government to explain why it's not ready or willing to do the same.
Our country is home to a top-five fighter in both the male and female ranks, UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and Strikeforce title contender Sarah Kaufman, and producing more and more quality competitors each day.
Just as "Canada's Sports Leader" TSN needs to wake up and increase its coverage of this rapidly growing sport, the Ontario government needs to recognize the incredible opportunity before it and move forward with legislating mixed martial arts in Ontario.
The people of Ontario have spoken loud and clear on multiple occasions; they want to see MMA in their province.
By not working toward making that happen, Premier McGuinty and his government are failing their constituents.
And here I thought that was kind of the whole point of things.
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