UPDATE: "Rampage" Jackson is back in, Steve Bosse is back out! Read full details here.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will make its long-awaited return to Canadian soil this weekend (Sat., April 25, 2015) to stage the UFC 186 pay-per-view (PPV) event in Montreal, Quebec, Canada (see the full card here).
Unfortunately, a lot of the locals didn't know UFC was coming to their backyard. That's according to George St-Pierre's former manager, Stephane Patry, who told The MMA Hour that UFC marketing and promotion for this event is lacking in a big way.
"I was surprised when they announced a show in April because I thought they would do a show in Montreal with MacDonald fighting for the title. But they decided to do it in July with McGregor and Aldo. So obviously this hurts the card because there is not a marquee fighter on the card that is from here. With GSP on the sidelines, that hurts Montreal. It's very complicated because they didn't really have the time to build the guys like Aubin-Mercier, Cote, who is at the end of his career. It's a complicated situation not to do a big show like that in Montreal without a marquee fighter. They decided to do it anyways. Also, I noticed that there is a lot of people that ever since we signed Bosse to fight on the card, that are like, 'What, there is a UFC event this weekend in Montreal? I didn't know.' So the local promotion right now is not very good here. I don't know what that's all about, but a lot of people are now buying tickets because they know Steve is fighting."
With the late addition of Bosse, who is very popular in Canada thanks to his days as a professional hockey player, the event will see a spike in ticket sales, according to Patry, who now serves as his manager.
"Without Steve Bosse, we would be selling around 5,000 to 6,000 tickets. With Steve Bosse, we will be selling between 8,000 or 9,000. The guy sells 2-3,000 tickets on a card, guaranteed. That's another thing, people that know Steve is fighting, they know because we are telling them. There is no advertising that Bosse is fighting. So I don't know what their strategy is or what they're doing with that. Honestly, the local promotion that is going on in town right now is not as good as it used to be"
In fairness, UFC 186 was originally lined up to be one of the biggest cards of the year, as the event included a bantamweight and flyweight title fight. As far as adding hometown flavor, Rory MacDonald was geared up to face Hector Lombard while Fabio Maldonado was all set to welcome Quinton Jackson back to the Octagon.
After numerous setbacks, the PPV event will be headlined by Demetrious Johnson as he defends his 125-pound title against Kyoji Horiguchi. In the co-main event, Michael Bisping will take on C.B. Dolloway and of course, Steve Bosse will fill Jackson's vacant slot against Maldonado.
And should the PPV numbers come back looking ugly, you can't put the whole blame on "Mighty Mouse" this time around.