Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Cowtown lines up to lasso pricey UFC 149 tickets

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THE expected sellout for Ultimate Fighting Championship's debut in Calgary is all but assured.

Tickets for UFC 149, the July 21 card at the Scotiabank Saddledome, were available via Internet pre-sale Thursday morning at 10 a.m. for members of UFC Fight Club. Within approximately one hour, fans were unable to purchase two or more seats together, as only scattered single tickets were left.

UFC director of Canadian operations Tom Wright said the promotion won't have numbers until today, but based on preliminary estimates available, he was pleased with sales.

It appears an official sellout will take mere moments once the box office opens to the public on Saturday at 10 a.m. The Saddledome will be configured to seat around 18,000-19,000 fans for UFC 149.

Jays sign Guerrero, 37

The Blue Jays are taking a chance on Vladimir Guerrero, but that's no guarantee the former MVP will ever pull on a Toronto uniform.

That was the message from Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos, who tried to downplay signing Guerrero to a minor league contract Thursday.

"This isn't someone right now that we're prepared to say is going to be up in Toronto," Anthopoulos said on a conference call. "I have no idea how he's going to look, how he's going to perform, how he's going to play."

The 37-year-old Dominican, who will start an extended spring training program in Dunedin, Fla., hit .290 with 13 home runs and 63 RBIs in 145 games with the Baltimore Orioles last season.

If Guerrero eventually cracks Toronto's lineup, the six-foot-three, 235-pound designated hitter could bring some power to the Jays.

If he doesn't, Anthopoulos can walk away from what is essentially a low-risk signing worth a pro-rated US$1.3 million with no timeline for a callup, no out clauses, no guaranteed dollars.

Vikings ready to build

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings moved to within a governor's signature of getting a new $975 million stadium on Thursday after the state Senate approved a plan that relies heavily on public financing.

Gov. Mark Dayton has said he'll sign the measure, meaning the Senate's 36-30 vote was effectively the final barrier for the stadium. The House passed it overnight.

After the vote, jubilant Vikings vice-president Lester Bagley hugged another team official and shouted, "Let's build it!" Vikings fans broke out singing the Skol Vikings fight song and the Senate president admonished them to take it outside the chamber.

The team chased a new stadium for more than a decade but had little leverage until its lease expired this past year on the 30-year-old Metrodome.

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 11, 2012 C5

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