On Jan. 29, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC, announced its Canadian event dates for 2014, but one city left off the list of five cities was Calgary.
Fans are upset with the news because two years after a disastrous debut in the summer of 2012, the UFC will not be returning to Calgary within the coming year.
“I was kind of annoyed to hear that the UFC would be making five stops in Canada, with none being in Calgary,” says long-time UFC fan and Mount Royal University student Jordan Ludlow.
“Dana [White] essentially promised us an event a year over the next couple of years after UFC 149, and that has not come to fruition yet.”
“Dana said the UFC would come back to Calgary, yet here we sit two years later, still waiting,” says UFC 149 attendee, Dan Pederson.
Among the cities hosting UFC events this year are constants Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. Quebec City and Halifax will both be hosting their first UFC events.
“I realize that the UFC has implemented an aggressive expansion and marketing plan over the past few years,” says Ludlow.
“This is probably the reason for not coming to Calgary this year. They clearly felt it would be better for the UFC brand to have events in new markets.”
“As a fan it’s irritating, but from a business standpoint, I see why the UFC decided not to come to Calgary.”
“Dana said the UFC would come back to Calgary, yet here we sit two years later, still waiting, – Dan Pederson
UFC 149 was the first event held in Calgary by the UFC on July 21, 2012, which was also the first UFC event held in the province of Alberta.
“Having been to a UFC event before, I knew what to expect with the whole thing,” says Ludlow.
Tickets for the event sold out quickly because of a strong initial card which included Jose Aldo defending his Featherweight Championship, former Light Heavyweight Champion Maricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and Middleweight contender, Michael Bisping.
“It was truly a rollercoaster of emotions,” says Pederson.
“I was possibly the most excited I had been in a while.”
A string of injuries would force most of the major draws off of the card, which gave the fans a reason to worry if their approaching show would live up to the hype.