The Ultimate Fighting Championship's long-awaited Alberta debut ended on a sour note in Calgary on Saturday, with fans booing the main event.
The Calgary crowd was unhappy with three of the five main events, which culminated in a bout between Urijah Faber and Renan Barao.
It was the first time UFC came to Alberta; when the event was originally announced in the spring it sold out in minutes.
But after nine high-profile fighters dropped out because of injuries — changing five of the major bouts — many fans tried to ditch their tickets.
Last week thousands of tickets could be found online for face value or less.
After the fight, UFC president Dana White said he would have been unhappy if he was a paying fan.
“I think there were a lot of things that went wrong. It felt like I was at UFC 33 again,” said White, referring to what is commonly considered the worst event the organization has hosted.
“I mean, this isn’t the ultimate clinching championship. It’s the fighting championship, and when you see two guys just clinching for three rounds and then in the third round they just clinched for an entire five minutes, and this city is standing around looking at 'em.”
White blamed officiating for the slow show.
“As a referee, your job is to enforce the rules and make sure that these guys fight.”
The UFC president then said he would bring the mixed martial arts sport back to the city and promised to make it up to Calgary fans.
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