Show of force ahead of UFC 149

UFC bantamweight contenders Urijah Faber, left, squares off against Renan Barao, right, with UFC...

UFC bantamweight contenders Urijah Faber, left, squares off against Renan Barao, right, with UFC president Dana White looking on during a UFC 149 news conference at Flames Central on Thursday. (Stuart Dryden/QMI Agency)

SCOTT MITCHELL, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:28 PM ET

CALGARY - Dana White doesn’t dance.

Especially at a pre-fight rendezvous with the media.

Even though the UFC 149 card slated for Saturday night at the Saddledome has come under fire over the past two months for all the injuries and subsequent changes — in addition to what fight fans thought was the lack of a true headline bout — White wasn’t having any of it.

“If you have never been to the UFC live, believe me when I tell you it is nothing like what you’ve seen on television. We’re going to blow you away,” White said Thursday at Flames Central.

“We’re going to blow the doors off this place on Saturday night.”

Lack of a headliner? Nonsense.

“If you know anything about fights, not only are these good fights, but these fights mean something,” White said. “These fights are very important. The two guys fighting in the main event (Urijah Faber and Renan Barao) are fighting for the title to see who fights Dominick Cruz for the undisputed championship.”

He suggested the moaning and groaning was from those trying to make a quick buck and get more tickets into the market.

“This place is going to be crazy Saturday night,” White said.

“You shouldn’t get rid of your tickets. The only ones bitching online are the scalpers. Guess what? You’re in the business of buying tickets and trying to sell them for more money. Sometimes, you win. Sometimes, you lose. You lose this time.”

While the scalper story may be a bit far-fetched, White does have a point.

Cruz is the bantamweight champ, who was supposed to take on Faber for the belt at UFC 148 a couple weeks ago.

But after Cruz tore his ACL in May — along with featherweight title-holder Jose Aldo’s injury that knocked him off the original headline bout in Calgary — there was a trickle-down effect that was felt on a number of cards.

It left UFC 149 with Faber vs. Barao.

If Faber wins, he’s the undisputed top bantamweight contender. If Barao wins, things get interesting.

Aldo, Erik Koch, Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, Thiago Silva, Michael Bisping, Antonio Rodrigo ‘Big Nog’ Nogueira, Thiago Alves and Yoshihiro Akiyama were all removed from the main card due to injury.

If you don’t feel like counting them, that’s eight of 10 fighters on the original card changed. Only Tim Boetsch and Cheick Kongo remain.

Asked if there was any thought of cancelling or postponing the show, White laughed.

“The day that we can’t put on more fights, we might as well pack it up and call it a day,” White said.

He did, however, find the Calgary card challenging.

“The injury level has just been insane,” White said. “We went on a streak for nine years where we didn’t see that happen.

“This was definitely a card that was plagued by injuries.”

Hopefully, it won’t be a problem next time. Yes, next time. Calgary isn’t a one-and-done event, as White gushed over the city and Canada in general.

“We’re coming back to Calgary again — yes we are,” White said.

“We will be back.”

scott.mitchell@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNMitchell


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