Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Ultimate thrill

TAKE the best of the gladiator era -- minus the lions and the fighting-to-the-death stuff -- mix in a little Bruce Lee and a touch of Muhammad Ali and many combat sports fans call the finished product pure heaven.

It's vicious and violent, to be sure, but to fight fanatics it's also highly entertaining. And don't look now but ultimate fighting/mixed martial arts might just be the fastest-growing sport in North America and across the entire planet -- even though it's still banned in some areas of the United States and in Ontario.

Case in point: this Friday's 'Colosseum IV' mixed martial arts card at the Winnipeg Convention Centre has already sold 2,000 tickets and will be shown on pay-per-view next month on Shaw and Viewer's Choice.

"Boxing's just not as big right now, but this Ultimate Fighting is crazy. People love it," said Winnipeg promoter (King) John Vernaus. "With the boxing, if I get 1,500 I'm doing good.

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