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Georges St-Pierre and UFC 83 Are Big in Montreal, but They're Nothing Like the Habs

This is the front page of today's edition of the Montreal newspaper La Presse.

With the French Canadian mixed martial arts star Georges St-Pierre headlining UFC 83 in Montreal today, the UFC is calling this a major opportunity to expand the sport north of the border. And it does seem to be catching on: The Bell Centre sold out quickly, and that's St-Pierre in the upper right corner of the front page of the paper. How many American papers have ever had an MMA fighter on their front page?

But it's also important to remember that these things are all relative, and that UFC doesn't get anywhere close to the attention of the Montreal Canadiens, as you can see on that front page. (Another major paper in Montreal gives major front-page play to the Canadiens but none at all to UFC.)

My friend Picard, the assistant program director at the Montreal sports radio station The Team 990, tells me, "the UFC up here is quite a huge deal. There's been a great buzz about it amongst the fight crowd and I think that this being the event city that it is, it's even bigger." But he adds, "the hype over the Canadiens is at least 50 times greater than that for the UFC."

We'll be live blogging UFC 83 here at FanHouse.

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