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Odette building
Odette Building

Tom Wright says "Do not be that which you are not?"

This was Tom Wright’s advice to a group of students, faculty and Windsor residents at the Breakfast with Champions event at the Caboto Club on October 11.  Wright, the Director of Canadian Operations for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) said that an organization’s identity should be the guiding principal.  “Understand what your brand is all about and stick to the core,” Wright said, pointing out that there are numerous examples proving that when an organization mores away from its core, its brand value diminishes. 

Wright traced the success of the UFC from its first fight in 1993 to the success it enjoys today as a billion dollar global brand.  He pointed out that the sport had to be explained before the brand could be developed around its core concepts: authenticity, high energy, accessibility and relevance. “Every strategic decision had to relate to these four concepts,” Wright said.

Since opening the office in 2010, Wright and his team have been successful in securing the sanctioning of the sport of mixed martial arts in Ontario, while also establishing long term broadcast agreements with Rogers Sportsnet and TVA Sports.  This year, Wright further entrenched the UFC’s strong presence with the announcement of three annual global premier events in Canada for the next three years.

Wright believes that the key to the long term success of the UFC is to recognize that the fans are the most important factor and that the fighters and the league must demonstrate honour, respect and discipline if it is to achieve the ultimate goal of recognition from the International Olympic Committee as an Olympic sport.

The Breakfast with Champions events are free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required.  Contact Barbara Barone at bbarone@uwindsor.ca.