UFC President Dana White, alongside director of Canadian operations Tom Wright, hosted a Press Conference today at the Flames Central in Calgary, Alberta, Canada to announce a series of upcoming events. Also present was native MMA stars Jason MacDonald, Nick Ring, and Mitch Clark, as well as Mark Hominick and Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre, who joined the proceedings via satellite.
To get things underway, White took to the podium and announced that three UFC events are now scheduled to take place on Canadian soil.
"This place has been the mecca for mixed martial arts every since we set foot in this country," said White. "So, we've got a pretty big announcement as far as Canada goes. For the first time ever, in 2012, we're going to host three events up here in this country. Obviously, the first one being Calgary - finally, and the other two, we actually have a couple of guest stars that will announce the other two cites."
First up was Middleweight veteran Jason "The Athlete" Macdonald, who took center stage to discuss the UFC 149 event, and revealed plans to make it his last as a UFC fighter.
"I'm thrilled to have the UFC here in Calgary.It's a dream come true for me. Calgary is a great city, it's got the best fans in the world," said MacDonald. "I'm excited on a personal level. I've got a tough fight coming in May, but I really hope to be a part of this show. It will be a storybook ending for me, I will hopefully retire from the UFC at the Calgary show. The show is extra special for me."
UFC 149 will mark the promotion's debut show in Calgary. The event takes place July 21st at the Scotiabank Saddledome, and will seat a capacity crowd of approximately 20,000. Headlining the card will be reigning Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo, who will defend his title against a yet to be determined challenger.
Next was former Featherweight title challenger, Mark Hominick, who announced the promotion's return to Toronto for UFC 152. "2011 was a monumental year for the UFC in Canada, especially in Toronto. I'm very proud to announce that the UFC will be returning to Toronto on September 22nd. I'm very excited to be a part of it and I look forward to the UFC returning to Canada."
Last, but not least, St. Pierre confirmed UFC 154 in Montreal, and discussed the progress of his post ACL surgery rehabilitation. "I'm here to announce to you that the UFC will be in Montreal on November 17th, as well as the following two years."
When asked about a timeline for his return, and impending title unification bout with Carlos Condit, St. Pierre was unable to provide an exact date, but offered an optimistic update on his condition.
"My rehab is going very well. The doctor says it's the fastest rehab they have seen for an ACL surgery," said GSP. "So, even though I am feeling almost 100-percent right now, I am halfway through my rehab and I cannot push too much because my graph is still not fused properly. Even though my muscles feel good, I have to wait the minimum amount of time before I am allowed to start training again. I'll be training full-out around July, so hopefully I'll have a chance to fight in front on my Canadian fans in November."
Stay tuned to LowKick.com for more information on each of these events as it becomes available.
Photo: Francis Specker