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Does Canada Really Want Canadians?

CanadianFlagPerhaps it’s just the natural instinct for any company to think people want to see their own, but is it necessarily true? When PRIDE came to the United States in October of 2006 they had the same mentality. The card was littered with Americans from Josh Barnett and Robbie Lawler to Travis Galbraith and Sean O’Haire. In fact I believe there was an American in each and every fight on that card. I remember personally complaining along with several others that the reason we loved PRIDE was because it was PRIDE. I don’t want to see Americans just because I happen to have been born there. I enjoyed PRIDE because of Kawajiri and Ishida, when you come to America why does that change to Butterbean and Travis Wiuff? Give me the product I’m accustomed to seeing.

Now the UFC has went the same direction in going to Canada for UFC 83. Saturday’s card has Sam Stouts and Goulets and Doerksens left and right. But do the Canadians really want to see a ton of Canadians or do they want an extra name like Rashad Evans on the card instead? When I asked three of my Canadian MMA fan friends they all told me that outside of GSP and maybe MacDonald they’d exchange all of the other Canadians on the card for another big name fighter. Could it be that nationalism doesn’t really play much of a part outside of a very small country? It seems this is the popular opinion across all genres; you must localize talent to get more people interested. But you’ll always get more complaints than Jason Day fans scooping up tickets to the event.

Georges St. Pierre is a given to main event the same way Michael Bisping would be in the United Kingdom. But outside of the top stars you’re not really appeasing the UK by putting Paul Taylor and Paul Kelly on there (as nice of a fight as it was). Sure it gives people with no horse in the race someone to root for but really you’d get an even better reaction with a Brazilian star. I suppose it could be travel expenses or any number of factors and it really doesn’t hurt anything. I’m just thinking out loud. It’s just that at some point in the future a random company is finally going to realize what people want for the first time. The product they’re used to seeing.

31 COMMENTS
  • Pierre says:

    I understand what you’re saying… But as a Canadian myself it isn’t like the Canadian talent that they are putting on the show are sub-par as they are all deserving of their spots on the show and i am excited to see Jason Day debuting in the UFC as he is from Lethbridge, Alberta as myself. Now if they were going to put Canadian fighters that shouldn’t be fighting on a big show and they expect us to pay for it just due to their nationality that would be absurd.

  • That’s fair. It’s not exactly like PRIDE putting Jason Ireland, Mac Danzig, and the KOTC crew on the US show. There’s atleast a majority of former UFC fighters representing.

    My initial question to the Canadians I asked was if they’d trade 4 of them for another “name” and they would. Or as Adam Morgan called it, “the exchange rate.”

  • Kelvin says:

    Well…they’ve broken their own record with over 20,000 tickets sold…so I’d say they did something right.

  • A.C Slater says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Huckaby, but this card is a poor example because, one, the fighters are well worth watching and , two, there isn’t really much of a point of differentiation between this lot of Canadian fighters and what would be a typically American-hosted UFC event. You had more of a leg to stand on with the Pride import, I thought. But it’s still an excellent point.

  • Gong says:

    As a Canadian, no, I really could not care any less for where the fighters are hailing from. What I want are exciting, meaningful fights that have an impact in the organization.

    “Well…they’ve broken their own record with over 20,000 tickets sold…so I’d say they did something right.”

    It sold out because it’s the first UFC event in Canada. They could’ve put the most boring fighters in the history of the sport on that card, but as long as it’s headlined by GSP and happening somewhere within our borders, it’s almost a guaranteed sell-out.

  • How about the UFC in the UK? They have Europeans not even from the UK like Per Eklund and Dennis Siver fighting on those cards. It’s like, “you’re roughly from around there. You go.”

    Again, could be part of their contracts or travel expenses or whatever but the entire concept of, “you’re from the general vicinity” is quite odd.

  • jj says:

    I don’t really care either way who’s fighting as long as it’s entertaining. That said I’m still interested in seeing some of the local guys fight, but I’d be watching the event either way.

    Rank or nationality don’t guarantee a good fight, it’s only useful for marketing.

  • JollyDV says:

    As Gong says, it is the first UFC fight in Canada. In promoting the fight, they have used several Canadians, which draws ticket sales. As time goes by and there are more shows in Canada and the UK as well, it will be less about the nationality of the fighter and more about the caliber of the fighter, and of course there will most definately be more fans from Canada and the explosion will continue to grow. In a perfect world!

  • Chuck says:

    I think that had the UFC actually put some more compelling and solid matchups in place of the Franklin vs Lutter and Bisping vs McCarthy fights (American/British fighters) there wouldn’t be this discussion. I do think that Canadians want to see their homegrown talent and the Canadian undercard and even main card fights are generally pretty good (obviously aside from GSP/Serra- which is a blockbuster). If the card had included Jardine vs Silva with the Franklin Lutter match (in place of the abomination of overhyped Bisping vs Cap. Miserable) or (had he not been injured) Patrick Cote vs. Alan Belcher it would’ve been a smoking card with great Canadian representation and great matchups all around.

  • slap yo mammy says:

    it’s something that’s nice for only some fans… but also nice for the fighters getting to fight in front of some hometown fans, or just fellow-countrymen.

    Chuck, Bisping/McCarthy is HARDLY overhyped. Quit being stupid.

  • Michaelthebox says:

    Gonzaga/Werdum says you’re wrong. That was a big fight in the HW division, and from all accounts the England crowd didn’t care that much.

    Of course you’d want another big name, but there are only so many big names to go around, and Franklin, Danzig, and Bisping aren’t chopped liver. Given the difference between good but less known fighters, and mediocre local fighters, mediocre local fighters draw more interest.

  • JollyDV says:

    The title of this article is, “Does Canada Really Want Canadians?” IMO, yes they do, but they would prefer to see the Canadians win. Set that aside, Does Canada Really Want The UFC? YES, regardless of nationality. Period.

  • YoBMC says:

    I am pretty sure Travis Galbraith is from Edmonton….

  • islandguy666 says:

    Look, I wouldn’t care if there are Canadians or not.. I’d prefer to see better fights. But hey the tix sold so fast that it was impossible for me to get to see it anyhow. So the fact that it’s here in Montreal.. may as well be in Iraq. I’ll be in front of my set just the same as always.

  • canadianfightfan says:

    What happened to Jeff Joslin?? He is one guy that has fallen off the map? Does anyone know? I know he has has some injury problems but he is a great fighter and would be good on any card. And they could have put any one on the card and it would probably sell out because we are MMA Crazy up here!!
    WAR GSP

  • RealMMAAnalyst says:

    FYI….Travis Galbraith is Canadian…..good research.

  • Pierre says:

    Once again i was wondering the same thing about Joslin? Does anybody know if he is still injured? Well just for clarity would i trade 4 of the Canadians for a big “name” fighter, i believe for most Canadians it would be dependent on the fighter. Such as if you offered me a guy like Wanderlei Silva for those Canadians i would want him on the card right away, but if it was say Evans…I would stick with the Canadians…Its all relative i guess.

  • Rob says:

    The card could have been better although it did sell out very fast for the fights that are on it !! I am going and would like to have seen a little more mainstream names on the card despite where they are from. But I am sure there will be more great events coming to Canada this will definatly not be the last event here I look forward to some better cards and maybe some day some events in Toronto!!

  • Gary says:

    There’s one Canadian I’d like to meet – GSP’s hot sister…damn…

  • Shawn says:

    I think this article is irrelevant. Whenever the UFC goes anywhere besides Vegas, typically a few of the spots are filled by local guys who have earned their spots. Jason Day just defeated a former title contender outside the UFC and only has 2 or 3 losses on his record. Sam Stout, Jason MacDonald, and Joe Doerksen are all UFC veterans. On top of that, there are only so many “name” fighters that can appear on one card. UFC 83 has Serra, GSP, Franklin, and Bisping, not to mention guys that have TUF fame like Lutter, Danzig, and Quarry. On top of that, putting local guys on a card WILL help boost ticket sales, albeit slightly, based on the simple fact that a fighter’s friends, family, sparring partners, and local fans will all buy tickets. I’m sure a guy like Jason Day has attracted at least 30-40 people that may have been slightly more hesitant about buying a ticket. I don’t understand what the real objection of this article is. UFC 83 is the biggest live crowd in the history of the organization and I’m pretty sure that’s all that matters.

  • pr0cs says:

    I think that it’s also a way to reinforce the UFCs dominance in the industry. Putting on a show like this shows the fighters who the big dog is in the industry. It is an excellent way to prove to the fighters that the UFC is *the* place to fight. You can’t tell me that any of the fighters, from guys like Day making his debut to GSP will not get serious adrenaline in stepping into the cage with 20k+ fans cheering.
    The UFC putting on a show like this showcasing Canadian talent is a way for the company to prove to it’s biggest employees that THIS is the place to be, the best way to get recognition and the place where you can make a serious name for youself, market yourself the best and make the most money.
    As a fan I would have liked to see some more international talent (I was jazzed when initially Shogun was to be on UFC83) but I think you’re losing sight at some of the other reasons why the UFC may be showcasing a lot of Canadian talent.

    In the future if the UFC comes back to Canada I hope they take advantage of Canada’s better “status” with other countries like Cuba, Canada has a lot more friendly tenure with some of the countries that the USA doesn’t like to deal with and I imagine there are some fighters from those countries that could still participate if the event was in Canada. Maybe I’m wrong but I hope the UFC has investigated that avenue.

  • FRANKIE says:

    Come on, Huckaby. You know nobody wants to see Rashad Evans.

  • Reaser says:

    I just agree with Huck reguarding PRIDE, here, it’s the first time, if its the same thing everytime UFC is in Canada and they just start throwing low level guys on the card to fill it out with home country fighters then ya, stupid…

    I agree more with Gary, thats the only Canadian I’m interested in seeing more of…

  • I’m Canadian and I think it’s okay if the UFC puts the ‘unknown’ Canadians (ie. ones casual UFC fans wouldn’t know) on the undercard and put known fighters like GSP and Cote on the main card. Otherwise it should just be another UFC card and should have at least one more outstanding match.
    Bisping vs McCarthy is not that enticing. I am intrigued by Lutter vs Franklin, but I think Franklin cakewalks it.
    there’s really only one WOW match up and the rest are alllllllright.
    This card needed one more really solid match that ppl want to see.. no one is asking for the two fights I mentioned above.

  • calzaghe_ko says:

    I’m more than happy with the british fighters fighting at a uk event, theyve all put in fantastic performances (with the exception of bisping at 75, ahem).

    I’m sure it doesnt do the PPV sales any harm either

  • ill will says:

    “Well…they’ve broken their own record with over 20,000 tickets sold…so I’d say they did something right.”

    It sold out because it’s the first UFC event in Canada. They could’ve put the most boring fighters in the history of the sport on that card, but as long as it’s headlined by GSP and happening somewhere within our borders, it’s almost a guaranteed sell-out.

    I sort of agree with these statment, but at the same time most of the tickets were just brought up quickly, only to be sold at a higher cost later. So it didn’t exactly sell-out itself…people just saw a great investmnet to apply the “supply and demand” model to.

  • Chuck says:

    From #10 Slap yo Mammy

    “it’s something that’s nice for only some fans… but also nice for the fighters getting to fight in front of some hometown fans, or just fellow-countrymen.

    Chuck, Bisping/McCarthy is HARDLY overhyped. Quit being stupid.”

    I was saying Bisping himself is overhyped- not necessarily the match. In spite of Dana White’s crush on him I’m not interested in seeing him fight- especially against Captain Miserable. Come on- what a joke of a match!

  • Shawn says:

    Again, we need to remember that this is Bispings debut at 185. He’s not going to get thrown against a top dog (Franklin, Hendo, Marquardt, Okami, Almeida) in his first matchup. He’s going to get somewhat of a gimme fight and then he’ll move on to mid tier guys (Leben, Belcher, Quarry, Starnes, Cote) for about two fights before he gets in the ring with the top guys.

  • andrew says:

    asking if you’d swap some of the fighters for a different “name” is a stupid way to look at it. it doesn’t mean anything. show me a card where you wouldn’t want to swap any of the fighters for a bigger name.

  • Amen, Andrew.

    Fight Night 13 didn’t have a huge name; Florian being the biggest but where is he on the totem pole compared to even someone like Koscheck?

    That card was the best so far this year.

    Real MMA fans want great match-ups first, names second.

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