UFC 145 was scheduled for March 24 at the Bell Centre. But the UFC has shelved it for the time being, citing complications in scheduling.
"In the end it was all about making sure that we had a championship-calibre card for a championship-calibre city," Tom Wright, the UFC's director of Canadian operations, told The Canadian Press on Tuesday.
Wright said he expects Montreal will still stage a show later this year.
Most of the fights announced for the March show will be shifted to a card slated for April in Atlanta.
The 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. St-Pierre is a Montreal native who has already headlined two shows at the Bell Centre and one in Toronto.
The 30-year-old champion underwent knee surgery last month after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a small tear to his internal meniscus during a wrestling training session. He is expected to be out most of 2012.
The UFC has also expanded, looking to schedule 38 cards around the world a year.
"It's a complicated process," said Wright.
Anderson Silva is one example. The middleweight champion has also been injured and the UFC is looking to save him for a big splash in his native Brazil.
Light-heavyweight title-holder Jon (Bones) Jones is taking some time off after a busy 2011, featherweight champion Jose Aldo just fought in Brazil and lightweight champ Frankie Edgar is in action in Japan next month.
Alistair Overeem is next up to challenge heavyweight title-holder Junior Dos Santos but the big Dutchman fought Dec. 30. And bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz is tied up as coach of "The Ultimate Fighter" reality TV show.
Add it all up and Montreal is out of luck for the time being, despite its admirable record as a UFC fight town.
Canadians slated to fight in March at the Bell Centre were featherweight Mark (The Machine) Hominick, lightweight Mark Bocek and John (The Bull) Makdessi, and welterweights Rory (Ares) MacDonald and Chris (The Menace) Clements.
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.
The UFC subsequently held shows in Vancouver and Toronto with the March show in Montreal slated to be its ninth in Canada (there have been four in Montreal, two in Vancouver and two in Toronto).
Wright said the decision to postpone had nothing to do with the local commission (they have bumped heads in the past but not recently) or venue, adding "Montreal has always been a great UFC city for us."
"Bell Centre is one of our best venues across the whole UFC circuit," he added.
Vancouver has been out of favour in recent months because of UFC concerns with the demands of city officials. Wright is lobbying for a provincial athletic commission to sidestep that problem.
Toronto remains another favourite Canadian city but just hosted an event in December. The UFC has also been scouting other venues north of the border, looking to expand its options.
Notes: The Mark Munoz-Chael Sonnen fight scheduled to air on FOX on Jan. 28 has been cancelled. UFC president Dana White tweeted that Munoz is injured and will be replaced on the card by Michael Bisping. The winner will fight middleweight champion Anderson Silva.