By Andy Cotterill
Unified MMA has plans to expand across Canada and possibly internationally, starting with a show in Toronto, Ontario this Fall/Winter, according to Unified MMA President Sunny Sareen.
Several days ago Sareen posted a photo of himself on Instagram in front of the Toronto skyline with the hashtag #SettingUpShop
“Toronto is a place that needs high level MMA.” Sareen told MM-eh.
He added that he will soon be moving to Toronto and living there for half the year, and that he first thought about bringing his successful Edmonton-based organization to Toronto about a year-and-a-half ago.
“When we come to Ontario we’re coming with mega cards.” He continued, “and we’re going to come in on on a regional level with a very powerful level of show. Bright lights, big shows, big fight cards.”
Unified has put on 45 events since 2009, all of which have taken place thus far in Alberta. Their production values have been excellent, especially since their venue change to the River Cree Resort and Casino in 2018 and their inclusion on UFC Fight Pass, and they are without a doubt the top MMA promotion currently in Canada.
This news is moderately surprising as historically Canadian regional MMA organizations have tended to stick to their established territories.
An exception to this was King of the Cage Canada who held events in six Provinces from 2005-2017. Owner Ken Kupsch told MM-eh that he “probably” won’t be resuming operations.
One of the challenges KOTC faced in several cities was pushback from the local MMA organizations who bridled at the intrusion into their territory and tried to prevent “their” local fighters from competing at KOTC.
However with the recent addition of Rob Veevers to their team as the new Vice President of Talent Relations and Business Development, Unified will likely not face this issue. Veevers is highly respected in Ontario and developed excellent working relationships with numerous MMA gyms and fighters during his tenure as matchmaker for the BTC organization.
“He wants to take the show across the country. He’s dominated the West Coast, specifically Alberta, he’s got his sights set on all the different Provinces within Canada.”
It’s natural that some regional shows may be upset by this move, but that’s an impractical way to look at it. Competition, if channeled properly, can bring out the best in people and organizations and spur them to achieve greater heights. All it takes is the right perspective.
This move should be looked at as a huge win for mixed martial arts as a whole across Canada. Fighters get more opportunities for development and exposure, fans get to see more fights in new locations, and Unified gets to expand their brand.