UFC returns to Winnipeg in December for mega fight

July 31, 2017

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UFC returns to Winnipeg in December for mega fight



The Ultimate Fighting Championship is returning to Winnipeg just in time for the holidays.

The world’s largest mixed martial arts organization will make its second appearance at Bell MTS Place on Dec. 16 for UFC on FOX in an announcement made during UFC 214: Cormier vs. Jones on Saturday.

“High-level athletes coming to our city to compete here is great for the fans and great for the city,” said Manitoba Combative Sports Commission executive director Joel Fingard. “It’s exciting. Our officials are excited.”

The UFC’s FOX cards are generally not as star-studded as their pay-per-view counterparts, but are usually stronger than UFC Fight Night lineups.

The UFC, which sold for $4 billion last July, first held an event in Winnipeg at UFC 161 in June 2013, which was headlined by a light heavyweight bout between former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans and former two-division Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson, with Evans winning by a narrow split decision.

The card also featured current heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, who defeated Roy Nelson by a unanimous decision and current welterweight title holder Tyron Woodley, who lost to Jake Shields.

The card was initially slated to be headlined by a bantamweight title fight between then-champion Renan Barao and top contender Eddie Wineland, but Barao pulled out of the fight due to torn ligaments in his foot and the bout was cancelled.

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and former light heavyweight champ Mauricio Rua were supposed to re-match in the card’s co-main event but Nogueira pulled out with a back injury two weeks before the fight.

Despite the cancelled bouts, the UFC’s first foray to Winnipeg was regarded as an instant success, with the show selling out all 13,000 tickets on the same weekend they went on sale, culminating in a gate of over $3 million.

“True North is thrilled to bring UFC back to Winnipeg December 16 at Bell MTS Place,” said True North Sports and Entertainment’s Kevin Donnelly in a statement. “We heard the fans at UFC 161 in 2013, there is a strong ultimate fighting fan base in Winnipeg and this will be another popular draw. Ticket information is to be announced and we will wait with all the excited fans to see who December 16th’s fight card will bring out.”

Fingard said the MCSC have experience on their side.

“The fact we’ve already done a UFC event, it makes it a lot easier for us,” he said.

December’s fight card has yet to be announced and no information was given as to when tickets would go on sale.

The MCSC has adopted most of the new unified rules for MMA, but still don’t allow heel kicks to the liver and still say that a grounded fighter is a fighter with anything but their two feet on the canvas.

“We’ll review those rules and the new rules that came out a week ago,” Fingard said. “Whether they are accepted and in place by December is hard to say.”

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