Report: UFC Negotiating a Summer Debut in Edmonton; Title Fight, PPV Card Both Possibilities

By Jordan Breen Jan 1, 2017
The city of Calgary will have to keep waiting for the Ultimate Fighting Championship to atone for the ill-fated UFC 149 card back in July 2012. Nonetheless, the UFC looks to be headed back to Alberta for the promotion’s first card in Edmonton.

According to a report by Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun, the UFC will make its debut in the “Oil Capital of Canada” either in the summer or early autumn at the brand new Rogers Place, which opened in September. Speaking with Oilers Entertainment Group CEO and vice chairman Bob Nicholson, the article details the state and progress of negotiations between OEG and new UFC parent company WME-IMG.

“The date hasn’t been confirmed. That’s one of the key things we’re working on,” said Nicholson. “We’re trying to make it a summer to an early fall date. That would be best for our scheduling. But, that’s really controlled by their championship bouts that we have to work through.”

Following UFC 206 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Dec. 10, the company will return to Canada on Feb. 19 for its second UFC Fight Night card at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, headlined by a rematch between former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos and Stefan Struve. However, Nicholson says OEG is keenly interested in a UFC card fit for Toronto or Montreal, negotiating for a championship fight card on pay-per-view or network television with Fox.

“That’s what we’re really going after. There’s never been a UFC title fight in Edmonton. They do about 12 to 14 title fights a year and we’d like to get one of those. When it comes to TV numbers, that would be the biggest we’d get.” Curiously, Nicholson also explained that negotiations between OEG and the UFC came about as a direct result of the promotion’s new ownership, as WME-IMG also owns Professional Bull Riders, which it purchased in April 2015 for an estimated $100 million. Edmonton will be home to PBR events starting next November.

“The key to getting it for us is UFC has been purchased by IMG and the key to me is partnerships and IMG also holds the rights to PBR,” said Nicholson. “Because of PBR, that’s helping us have discussions on UFC.”

The Zuffa-owned World Extreme Cagefighting promoted WEC 49 at Rexall Place in June 2010.

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