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Ontario's wait is over
Posted on Wed, Dec 8, 2010 at 9:09 am
by IDMA Editor

Championship is official.

UFC president Dana White and UFC director of Canadian operations Tom Wright, speaking Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre, announced that UFC 131 will take place April 30 at Rogers Centre, the largest venue at which the world's top mixed-martial-arts promotion will have ever put on an event.

UFC president Dana White predicts that Canada will become the 'Mecca' for mixed martial arts events - Photo by Jenelle Schneider, PNG Files, Postmedia News

"Canadians have repeatedly shown how much they love the UFC," said White.

"Fans in Ontario have patiently waited and it will pay off as this one will go down in the history books come April 30.

"I'm very excited. Toronto is going to break the record and host the biggest mixed martial arts event ever in North America."

Rogers Centre -- formerly known as SkyDome -- can accommodate nearly 70,000 fans depending on the configuration. World Wrestling Entertainment -- using what was likely a similar setup to what UFC will use -- drew around 68,000 for both WrestleMania 6 in 1990 and WrestleMania 18 in 2002.

White, who has repeatedly called Canada "the Mecca" for UFC, has long predicted the Toronto debut would shatter any and all North American attendance and box-office records.

As part of the weekend, UFC will also hold a Fan Expo at the Direct Energy Centre April 29-30. Similar events in Las Vegas, Boston and England have drawn tens of thousands of fans.

UFC has previously held Canadian events in Montreal (UFC 83 in 2008, UFC 97 in 2009 and UFC 113 last April, along with UFC 124 on Saturday night at the Bell Centre), along with Vancouver (UFC 115 last June).

UFC 83, headlined by Georges St-Pierre challenging welterweight champion Matt Serra, was an official sellout just one minute after tickets went on sale to the general public.

The event in April 2008 drew what was then a North American MMArecord crowd of 21,390.

UFC 97, the company's return to Montreal in April 2009, set a new attendance record of 21,451. UFC 113 in May drew 17,647.



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