Sportsnet’s Perry Lefko used to work with UFC Canada head Tom Wright at the Canadian Football League, and gives us a glimpse into Wright’s time there:
Frankly, Tom’s tenure had been checkered before it even began because of some contractual issues that delayed his hiring by a day. Instead of a grand ceremony in a big ballroom on a Friday, it was delayed to the next day and held in the equivalent of a sardine can. Anyone who knows anything about the CFL found it quite within the norm. The CFL doesn’t do things according to logic. This may have been a sign for Tom, who was holed up in a hotel room while his contract went through lawyers, to bail during the delay. But Tom had passion and desire and wouldn’t be bothered by such hiccups.
Only a few months into his first year, two of the nine franchises hit rock bottom, requiring the CFL to oversee the day-to-day operations while new owners were sourced, which happened after the season. After the 2005 season, the Ottawa Renegades franchise folded and didn’t return, and Wright received the brunt of the criticism, even if it wasn’t really his fault.
After four years, he walked away, refusing to publicly badmouth the people who made it difficult to do his job by constantly questioning his every move. Short of having to raise his hand to go to the bathroom, Tom needed permission for just about everything and often it appeared his detractors were trying to make him quit.
He may be as dry as a 90 year old’s vagina during press conferences, but I measure Tom Wright’s success via the progress he’s made pushing the sport forward in Canada. Ontario, once considered a tougher nut than New York to crack, fell in line quickly. BC is finally on it’s way. And federally, the UFC is about to remedy the dumb criminal code statute that technically made ultimate fighting illegal across the country. Not too shabby for a guy who got drummed out of a two bit football league.