UFC “has shelved” the UFC 145 event scheduled for March 24 at Bell Centre “for the time being, citing complications in scheduling,” according to Neil Davidson of the CP. UFC Dir of Canadian Operations Tom Wright said that he expects Montreal “will still stage a show later this year.” UFC had “already announced eight fights for the card, but there were no main event or co-main events.” A serious knee injury to welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre “removed one obvious main event possibility.” Montreal hosted “the first ever UFC show in Canada -- UFC 83 in April 2008.” At the time it was the organization's “fastest sellout and biggest attendance.” Wright said that the decision to postpone “had nothing to do with the local commission or venue.” He added, "Montreal has always been a great UFC city for us" (CP, 1/17). Scheduling complications “are being cited as the reason for cancelling UFC 145 but the reality is, the company couldn't come up with a main event -- or co-main event -- that had enough star quality to make it work.” It would have been the fifth time UFC held an event at Bell Centre. Wright on UFC's website said, “We're looking at other dates for Montreal and want to be back there as soon as we possibly can” (QMI AGENCY, 1/17). UFC President Dana White said, “We're still doing Montreal. We're just not going to do it when we were originally planning to" (MMAJUNKIE.com, 1/17).
Events and Attractions
Democrats yesterday announced that they are “shortening their national convention and moving events to the Charlotte area's two largest outdoor venues,” according to Harrison & Morrill of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. President Barack Obama will “deliver his acceptance speech at Bank of America Stadium,” and instead of the traditional Monday opening, organizers will “entertain tens of thousands that day at Charlotte Motor Speedway.” NFL Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson said that the team “is not charging the convention” to use the stadium. He declined to say "how much it would rent for, but the team is believed to have charged some takers around $400,000.” A speedway official said that the track “is still negotiating terms of the Labor Day event, which could draw more than 75,000 people.” Details of the event “are sketchy,” but it “will be sponsored by the convention host committee.” It has “no fundraising restrictions” and is expected to “raise up to $15 million, in part with corporate money” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/18). In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg noted, "For the Panthers, hosting the president does create one inconvenience: a season opener on the road." Richardson said, "We want the city to be presented in the best light possible, and we think it was just obvious that they would want to be at a larger venue. And we were happy to do this. To accommodate this, we’re going to have to have our first regular-season game away, which is something you don’t necessarily want to give up. In this case, we were willing to do it." The first two days of the convention will be held at Time Warner Cable Arena (BIZJOURNALS.com, 1/17).