The UFC had it’s press conference in Toronto today and boy was it a snoozer. No big stadium announcement, and no new legislation developments. Not even any Georges St Pierre / Ultimate Fighter coaching stuff or discussion on the rumor that the next season may feature an all Canadian squad. The entire thing was dedicated to the company opening an office in Canada featuring former Canadian Football League commissioner Tom Wright as UFC Canada prez. Here’s what he said the core goals of the new branch would be:
- To secure regulatory approval in all provinces
- Brand building
- Merchandise and licensing agreements in Canada
- Community participation
- Encouraging the development of the sport at lower levels
Obviously the big one is getting things sanctioned in the big provinces, but past that I hope they’re serious about keeping an eye on what’s going on at the minor league level and helping Canada develop more UFC-caliber fighters. So what are the details about Tom Wright’s past? Go after the jump for more info.
The Toronto native grew up following the CFL and played high school football. He enrolled in physical education at the University of Toronto and later studied marketing and finance at York University. Wright started his career at Canada Packers in 1977. In 1988, he was named the president of Adidas Canada and had his first professional experience with the CFL, negotiating a three-year shoe deal. An Adidas expansion in 1999 through the purchase of Salomon and Taylormade had a significant impact on Wright, who was selected to head Salomon North America. Wright moved to Portland, Ore., to take the position, but his wife and three daughters remained in Toronto. Upset about being away from his family, Wright jumped at the chance to become the president and chief operating officer of Envoy Communications Group in 2001. Shortly afterward, Wright was offered the chance to become the head of the Canadian Olympic Committee, but he turned it down because the job would require too much travel. The job of CFL commissioner may seem to be an ideal fit for Wright’s love of sports and desire to stay with his family, but that does mean he immediately accepted the offer. Wright had lost interest in the CFL over the years and he was concerned about the league’s lack of stability. Wright eventually decided that his enthusiasm to accept challenges made him well-suited to be CFL commissioner, so he accepted the job.