The next major UFC pay-per-view event may still be a ways away, but that doesn’t mean Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta aren’t busy men these days.
According to a report from Kevin Iole, right on the heels of landing a television deal in Germany, Dana White returned from Mexico City yesterday where he was apparently trying to land a television deal in Mexico and negotiate a deal to hold a live event. A subsequent trip to the UK to promote UFC 95, however, is preventing him from making arguably one of the most important meetings the company will have in the short term—the meeting with the RAJC in Montreal to save UFC 97.
Instead, Lorenzo Fertitta and Marc Ratner flew to Canada this morning in hopes of convincing the athletic commission to recognize the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts so they can still hold UFC 97, which is now “sold out” with 22,000+ tickets sold. In case they fail, however, the UFC has a backup plan.
“If they stop this show from coming there, they’ll get murdered,” White said. “Look at what the economy is like now and we’re talking about pumping more than $10 million into the economy from a single night. They won’t have a night like that for the rest of the year.
“They’re going to have all their restaurants, shops, malls, hotels filled. We’ve already been there and we’ve already done a successful event. There were no problems, not fights, no riots in the streets. How can they turn us away? I just don’t see how they can, which is why I’m so positive at the end of the day, the show is going to go off like we planned.”
White said the UFC has an alternate plan in case his confidence is misplaced. The show will remain on April 18, but White said it would come back to Las Vegas and be at the MGM Grand Garden.
So, either way, on April 18, it looks like we still see Anderson Silva defend his UFC Middleweight Championship against Thales Leites, and watch Chuck Liddell and Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua battle it out in a fight they both need an impressive win from. It’s just a question of where?
What’s unclear at this point, however, is if they are forced to move the card to Vegas, what the thousands of UFC 97 ticket holders do with their tickets if they can’t make the trip. If it comes to that, we’ll pass along the information when it’s released.
But, for the sake of those of you who were lucky enough to nab tickets, including our own understandably concerned writer Mike Moffatt, let’s just all hope Lorenzo and Ratner are effective enough at talking some sense into the Quebec athletic commission.