Georges St. Pierre. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
TORONTO – All eyes will be on the Bell Centre in Montreal on Saturday, April 19 at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT when UFC 83: Countdown Canada previews the first ever Ultimate Fighting card held north of the border on Rogers Sportsnet.
Starting on Wednesday, April 16, R.J. Broadhead and “Showdown” Joe Ferraro will file reports on Sportsnet Connected with the latest updates from Montreal. On fight night, they will be reporting live from the Bell Centre offering exclusive analysis, features and special guests.
Sportsnet’s coverage of the biggest event in UFC history will set-up the rematch between current champion Matt “The Terror” Serra and interim champion and Quebec native Georges “Rush” St-Pierre, who will battle for the unified Welterweight championship.
UFC 83: Countdown Canada will take viewers behind-the-scenes and into the lives of Ultimate Fighters, featuring a sit-down interview with St-Pierre in which he breaks down his defeat at the hands of Serra at UFC 69. St-Pierre is only the second Canadian to ever hold a UFC championship. Newmarket, Ontario’s Carlos “The Ronin” Newton was Canada’s first and he warns viewers that Serra will pose a significant challenge for GSP.
UFC President Dana White has stated that the UFC is planning on holding their January event at the Bell Centre in Montreal according to R.J. Broadhead and Rogers Sportsnet.
The most interesting thing to come out of the interview between White and Broadhead was that Montreal native Georges St. Pierre most likely wouldn’t be on the card. With St. Pierre set to get a title shot against of the Matt Serra-Matt Hughes title bout taking place in December, St. Pierre will most likely have to wait until at least the early spring before either Hughes or Serra would be ready to fight.
However White did say that the UFC was also planning on holding an event later next year with St. Pierre in the main event:
“We’re planning to come to Canada a lot,” said White.
I’m surprised that White was able to find an empty weekend at the Bell Centre, especially in January. Hopefully everything works out and we see the UFC heading north early next year.
The UFC has been trying to hold an event in Canada for most likely about a year now. However each time they are close to finalizing a deal, it always seems that something is standing in their way and the deal falls apart.
UFC President Dana White seemed confident when he stated that the UFC was finally going to make it up to Montreal in late 2007 during a June interview with the Canadian Press. A projected October event probably wouldn’t include Georges St. Pierre but at least the UFC would have made it to Canada.
Now let’s fast forward one month…
Rogers Sportsnet’s RJ Broadhead talked to White yesterday about the prospect of the UFC holding an event in the Bell Centre later this year. It seems that the Montreal Canadiens’ schedule is going to be quite the problem for White and company.
Video of Broadhead’s interview with White can be found here. White also discusses the debut of Canadian Mark Boeck at tonight’s UFC 73 and the amount of talent that is coming out of the country these days.