White embarrassed by UFC 97

Despite chants of “boring” and boos that echoed inside the Bell Centre, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champ Anderson Silva entered the record books with a unanimous decision over Thale Leites at UFC 97:Redemption in Montreal on Saturday evening.

Silva posted his ninth-straight victory in the octagon that broke a tie he held with MMA legend Royce Gracie and Jon Finch. This was overshadowed by the lack of action generated in a less-than-stellar main event, as the two fighters avoided contact for the first minute of the fight and they often went for long stretches without exchanging blows.

This didn’t sit well with UFC President Dana White, and he didn’t mince words in the post-fight press conference.

“I can honestly tell you that I’ve never put on an event that I was embarrassed to be at until tonight,” White said. “I want to publicly apologize to all the fans.

“Watching that was hard. That was tough to take. It was embarrassing, honestly. It was really and truly embarrassing.”

The fans booed throughout the match and started a “boring” chant at the beginning of the final round. They also cheered for UFC welterweight champion George St. Pierre, who was sitting at ringside. The Canadian star is rumored to be the next opponent for Silva.

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Is Celine Dion eyeing the Montreal Canadiens?

A group comprised of singer Celine Dion, Seagram heir Steven Bronfman, and Quebec media giant Pierre Karl Peladeau are considering making a bid to purchase the Montreal Canadiens away from current owner George Gillett. The franchise was recently valued at $335 million by Forbes magazine, and Gillett has stated he will only sell the team for the right price.

An investment banker close to the negotiation told the Toronto Globe and Mail that this group has been given full access to all financial data on the Canadiens.

“There is a group bid being discussed, and it’s clear that Gillett is very willing to sell if the price is right,” said the investment banker, who is helping line up financing for potential bidders.

However, the banker and other sources familiar with the possible sale of the team cautioned it will be difficult to strike a partnership that satisfies the strong personalities of Dion and husband René Angelil, Bronfman and Péladeau, the dominant player in Quebec media.

Dion is already considered French royalty in Canada, and her image could move to savior status if she bought the Canadiens back from an American. (Gillett is a Denver-based entertainment promoter.)

Bank of Montreal has signed confidentially agreements with 10 potential suitors who have until Thursday to submit a formal bid on the team. The potential buyer will also acquire the Bell Centre in Montreal as well.

Martin Brodeur is hockey’s man behind the mask

The Prudential Center crowd chanted, “Marr-tty…Marr-tty,” in the closing moments of yet another New Jersey Devils’ victory on Tuesday night. But this night was special; Martin Brodeur recorded his record-breaking 552nd win, eclipsing Patrick Roy’s NHL record for career victories by a goaltender. He finished his historic chase in typical Marty fashion by winning eight of his last nine starts since returning to the lineup on February 26th.

Major elbow surgery in November kept him out of the lineup for 50 games. Brodeur didn’t think he would even play again this season, as he never sustained a major injury in his 15-year career. Doctors reassured him that he would be back between the pipes for the Devils in 16 weeks if there were no setbacks in his rehabilitation process.

Early on, skeptics questioned if Brodeur could play in consecutive games. Hey, this is Martin Brodeur, a man who started in a record 78 games in the 2006-07 season and averaged 70 starts for 10-straight years. There’s no question that he is durable enough to handle the physical rigors of playing back-to-back games especially considering how fresh he was by being away from competition for four months.

Brodeur’s run to the record was virtually uncovered by the press until he headed back to his hometown last weekend. The Montreal radio airwaves were buzzing with “Marty talk” leading up to Saturday night’s contest at the Bell Centre. And he didn’t disappoint his hometown fans, stopping 22 of the 23 shots attempted for a 3-1 victory over the struggling Montreal Canadiens. Afterward, he received a hero’s welcome with a standing O from the Montreal fans.

Eight wins seemed like an eternity for Brodeur after sustaining a major elbow injury. It was a remarkable feat achieving history in a mere nine games since his return to the lineup. But the milestones do not stop there; he is three shutouts away from breaking Terry Sawchuk’s league record of 103 shutouts in a career. This could be another amazing ride towards history, but the way he is playing, it could be a short one.

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