In 2012, the UFC made its debut in Calgary, Alberta not with a bang but a whimper at UFC 149. Now, six years later, they’re stampeding back into town with a stacked card, ready to make amends.
UFC Calgary is very much about setting things right. Very rarely has UFC President Dana White been as critical of his own company as he was over the UFC’s debut in the Alberta city. At UFC 149 in 2012, the promotion laid an egg in its first visit to Cowtown. Circumstances beyond their control saw a PPV card ravaged. Jose Aldo, Michael Bisping, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Thiago Alves, Shogun Rua, Thiago Silva, Big Nog, George Roop, and ONE star Bibiano Fernandes were all expected to appear on the card at varying points, but were forced off. Most due to injury (Fernandes, meanwhile, opted not to sign with the promotion).
Fans in Calgary were understandably upset, even more so when the card fizzled in the cage. Four of five main card fights went to decision (the lone finish, meanwhile, was overturned to a no contest when Matt Riddle failed a drug test for marijuana).
Chants of “re-fund, re-fund” echoed throughout the Saddledome. White did not mince words afterwards. “We’re at UFC 149. We can count on one hand how many shows actually sucked,” White said. “And tonight is one more finger on the hand.”
Years passed. The UFC headed out to Edmonton, Calgary’s nearby hockey rival. Another year, no return to Calgary. Until now. The UFC returns to Calgary with the stacked UFC on FOX 30, or simply UFC Calgary if you prefer. Three former champions decorate the main card: Eddie Alvarez, Jose Aldo, and Joanna Jedrzejczyk. A host of promising fights pepper the line-up. It’s can’t miss TV (not to mention one of the final FOX events before the UFC jumps over to ESPN).
Check out the latest installment of The Drive In podcast, where we look at the stacked UFC Calgary card, and the precarious position Jose Aldo finds himself in!