UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta doesn’t address the public quite as often as UFC president Dana White does, but when he does, it’s usually worth listening to what he has to say, and yesterday was no different. At a fan Q&A at London’s UFC Fan Expo, Lorenzo made some interesting comments about both Toronto and the WEC.
Back in August, Ontario announced their intent to regulate mixed martial arts. The announced paved the way for the UFC to finally hold a major event in Toronto, and yesterday, Lorenzo confirmed those plans along with a few additional details. Most notably, a time and place.
“We’re looking at I think sometime in late April,” Fertitta said of the company’s plans for a show in Toronto. “We’ll be in Toronto.”
“We’re trying to figure out right now who is going to be on that card,” Fertitta said. “We definitely want to put on a big show, and we’ll probably have a title shot on that card.”
“It looks like we’re going to try and do the Rogers Centre,” Fertitta said. “We looked at [the Air Canada Centre], too, but we want to break the record for attendance to MMA.
“We’ll try to get about 40,000 to 50,000 people there.”
If the UFC could pack 40,000 to 50,000 fans into the Rogers Centre that would essentially double the current North American MMA attendance record (21,451, UFC 97, Montreal). Who could possibly draw that many fans? Well, Lorenzo didn’t name names, but obviously the fighter who has the best chance of doing that in Canada is Georges St. Pierre. If he’s about able to defeat Josh Koscheck in Dec. and Jake Shields wins next weekend, you have to imagine the fight to headline the Toronto show would be a welterweight title fight between GSP and Jake Shields.
That wasn’t the only big news Lorenzo had for fans at yesterday’s Q&A. He also touched on one of the hottest topics amongst hardcore fans — the WEC. Or more specifically, if Zuffa ever plans to integrate the WEC with the UFC.
“We try to promote the best that we can, and now we’re trying to integrate and the help the WEC by using the UFC to promote that,” said Fertitta, who’s blueprinted the UFC’s expansion into 500 million homes across the planet. “In my opinion, the lighter weight guys are the most exciting. They never rest; they just keep going and going. They fight really hard.”
“We’d love to see kind of a ‘champion vs. champion’ type bout with Ben and Frankie Edgar or something like that,” he said. “Ben Henderson is a great fighter, and I think he could do really, really well against some of the top guys in the UFC at 155 (pounds).”
While Lorenzo was still pretty vague on what the future holds for the WEC, it definitely sounds like they something up their sleeve for 2011. Dana White also hinted at some kind of integration between the two promotions.
“There’s some interesting fights with those guys (in the WEC), so we’re working on putting those fights together,” White said. “We’re working on a lot of things right now that we’ll be announcing in the next couple of months.”
No specific names were 100% confirmed for such a crossover, but WEC champions Ben Henderson and Jose Aldo seem to be the two biggest names in the hat. Fights like Henderson-Edgar and Aldo-Edgar are apparently possibilities.
Image via Sherdog