|UFC heading to Calgary in April||| Print ||
|Written by Tyler Hunt|
|Thursday, 22 March 2012 11:10|
The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced plans for UFC 149 to be held for the first time in Calgary, Alberta on July 21.
The event was announced Wednesday at a press conference in Calgary by UFC President Dana White, along with Director of Canadian Operations Tom Wright, and Albertan fighters Nick Ring, Mitch Clarke, and Jason MacDonald.
Wright opened the press conference speaking of the UFC’s presence in Canada and the history of the city of Calgary.
White recounted Canada’s rich passion for the UFC, and announced some of the Canadian statistics from the previous eight events that have been held north of the border.
While the Calgary event was the main announcement, White also revealed that the UFC would be travelling to Canada three times in 2012, and allowed three hometown fighters to introduce the upcoming events.
Steve Keogh, UFC Canada's director of media and public relations, told thedailyplanet.com that even though the UFC has already been to Toronto and Montreal, there is still much to be accomplished for the organization.
“We had a major response yesterday and we’re confident we’ll have a major response, but we don’t take anything for granted,” Keogh told thedailyplanet.com.
“Toronto and Montreal have been great cities, we’ve set records in both. But we always try to take it to another level. Whether it’s through educating the media and getting more fans, or just taking it to the next level in terms of community involvement.”
MacDonald spoke of the support Calgary has shown all over the world.
Mark Hominick, a London, Ontario-native, who joined the press conference via satellite to announce the next event in Toronto.
Hominick said that 2011 was a huge year for the UFC in Canada, and announced that the UFC will be returning to Toronto on Sept. 22.
White said the Toronto event will likely be held in either the Rogers Centre or the Air Canada Centre.
The last UFC event held in Toronto was at the ACC and drew over 18,000 fans - nowhere close to the 55,000 fans that showed up at the Rogers Centre on April 30 for UFC 129: St-Pierre vs. Shields.
Following Hominick, UFC welterweight champion and fan favorite Georges St. Pierre received a large ovation as he appeared on the screen, outlining the details of the third Canadian event, set to be held in Montreal.
As St. Pierre noted, the UFC plans to hold three events in each of the next two years in Canada, as it continues to expand into new territories all over the world.
Despite the UFC’s global presence, White spoke of the importance of Canada to the UFC and mixed martial arts as a sport.
White finished off the press conference by taking questions, touching on the economic impact that an event in Calgary could potentially have.
With the Calgary event nearly four months away, the UFC have their hands full with upcoming events in Georgia, New Jersey, Virginia, as well as Stockholm, Sweden in the second week of April.
Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites