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UFC looks to be heading to Vancouver

Dana White eyeing June 2010 date for Canada’s third largest metro area

While the UFC is still hours away from hosting its first-ever event in the Pacific Northwest with UFC 102 at the Rose Garden Arena Saturday night, UFC president Dana White was already talking about the promotion’s next foray into the region.

“We're going to Vancouver. We'll be there soon ... Let's just say we got it done," White said during a pre-fight press conference Thursday afternoon for UFC 102 in Portland, while at the same time other UFC officials were up in Canada meeting with local politicians and media members.

"Nothing has been announced yet except me out here shooting my mouth off early as usual that we're going to Vancouver."

The UFC is targeting a June 2010 date for the 19,000-seat General Motors Place in Vancouver, whose 2.2 million residents represent the third largest metro area in the country.

While the Vancouver Athletics Commission hasn't officially sanctioned mixed martial arts yet, UFC vice-president of regulatory affairs Marc Ratner said Thursday it’s only a matter of time.

“We've had positive meetings … we should be able to get approved,” Ratner told The Canadian Press.

White and UFC officials have long talked about hosting an event in Vancouver, especially after the success of the promotions first two events, both held at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

The first show, UFC 83 — which featured popular Canadian Georges St. Pierre regaining his welterweight championship belt with a win over Matt Serra — set a UFC attendance record with 21,390 fans. The gate of $5.1 million was the second largest gate in UFC history.

UFC 97, the second show in Montreal that featured middleweight champ Anderson Silva defeating Thales Leites and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua knocking out Chuck Liddell topped the previous crowd mark with 21,451 fans.

Andy Samuelson can be reached at [email protected] or 702-948-7837.

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