UFC makes return trip to Montreal

The UFC’s debut in Canada was a record success last April. And fighters are expecting a repeat Saturday night at UFC 97— a loud and proud crowd of 20,000-plus.

Chuck Liddell

MONTREAL — The UFC’s debut in Canada was a record success last April. And fighters are expecting a repeat Saturday night at UFC 97— a loud and proud crowd of 20,000-plus.

“I hear the Bell Centre’s crazy loud,” said former light-heavyweight champion Chuck (The Iceman) Liddell. “Everybody told me to bring my earplugs.”

UFC president Dana White has said Montreal ranks among his top three cities as far as event atmosphere. “The crowd (at UFC 83) was absolutely insane the whole three days we were there, it was crazy,” he said.

The other two at the top of his list were UFC 93 in Dublin in January — a smaller but very vocal crowd — and UFC 68 in Columbus, Ohio, in March 2007, which was a record fan turnout until Montreal came along.

The Canadian show — official attendance was 20,011 — was the UFC’s fastest ever sellout and the biggest MMA show ever in North America. This one sold out even faster and UFC president Dana White plans on coming back.

“To be honest with you, I love the weather here in April,” he said Thursday at the pre-fight news conference. “Last year we came, it was great and it’s working out this year too.”

Canadian middleweight Jason (The Athlete) MacDonald, one of several veterans of UFC 83 returning for UFC 97, remembers being blown away by the fans in Montreal.

“I was getting up to go for breakfast on Saturday morning before the fight and there were already people lined up outside the Bell Centre to get in there,” he recalled. “There was just a crazy vibe in that whole downtown area of Montreal for last year.”

Canadian lightweight Sam (Hands of Stone) Stout recalls the noise inside on fight night.

“What I really remember about it is just the volume of the crowd was just unbelievable, unlike anything I’ve ever heard, just a feeling of electricity in the building,” he said.

“Just so much excitement going around, so much support, so many people that were just so good to me. It really was a nice feeling.”

Just Posted

Red Deer group looking to keep roads safe for cyclists

A Red Deer cycling group is concerned about road safety after multiple… Continue reading

Smoke and pets do not mix

Take care of your pets during the smoky weather

Former Red Deer lawyer sentenced

Charges included possession of stolen property

Man causes mischief with axe in Ponoka

Arson and attempted break and enter charges laid

WATCH: Raising money for kids at the Gord Bamford Charity Golf Classic

Former NHL players, Olympians, pro rodeo circuit members and musicians teed off… Continue reading

Oilpatch fears delays as U.S. judge orders further review of KXL pipeline route

CALGARY — Potential delays in the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline… Continue reading

‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin dies at 76

NEW YORK — Aretha Franklin, the undisputed “Queen of Soul” who sang… Continue reading

Arrests in Burnaby, B.C., as order against Kinder Morgan protest camp enforced

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters Thursday as officers enforced a… Continue reading

‘Hot and dirty work:’ Commander describes fighting massive Ontario wildfire

BRITT, Ont. — From a helicopter flying over a smouldering swath of… Continue reading

Calgary Fire Department logs record opioid overdose calls in July

CALGARY — The Calgary Fire Department says there were a record number… Continue reading

RCMP in Burnaby, B.C., say Kinder Morgan protest camp to be dismantled

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters when officers enforced a court… Continue reading

Study: Smokers better off quitting, even with weight gain

NEW YORK — If you quit smoking and gain weight, it may… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month