UFC Announces Return to Montreal; UFC 145 Hits Bell Centre in March

Rory MacDonald

Rory MacDonald-Che Mills official for card

A rumored March card in Montreal was confirmed by the UFC on Tuesday when it made official a fight between Che Mills and Rory MacDonald.

UFC 145 is expected to take place at the Bell Centre in Montreal on March 24, though the UFC has not yet made the date and venue official. It will be the promotion’s first trip to the Canadian city in Quebec since UFC 124 in December 2010.

Earlier this month, HeavyMMA.com confirmed with UFC vice president of regulatory affairs Marc Ratner that the promotion was planning a return to Montreal, though Ratner was unsure if the event would be a pay-per-view.

“We’re looking at Montreal maybe in the second quarter (of 2012),” Ratner told Heavy. “We have to see who’s fighting, see if there’s anybody local. There’s just a lot of factors that come into play.”

March 24 is the only open Saturday on the Bell Centre’s calendar in March. The UFC did shows at the arena in 2008, 2009 and twice in 2010, but Montreal was left off the promotion’s calendar in 2011. Instead, the UFC made stops in Toronto twice, for the record-setting UFC 129 in April and UFC 140 earlier this month.

The first two times the UFC had paid attendance in excess of 20,000 fans, the events took place in Montreal. UFC 83, featuring Montreal favorite Georges St-Pierre reclaiming the welterweight title from Matt Serra, drew 21,390 fans in April 2008. UFC 97, in April 2009, drew 21,451, setting the company’s new standard. And UFC 124 a year ago, again featuring St-Pierre, set a new mark with 23,152. Those three were eclipsed by the 55,724 at UFC 129, but the three Bell Centre shows remain the current standard for arena shows for the UFC.