Monday, February 26, 2007

Ultimate fighters to clash at Arena

By Adam Moss

THE no-holds-barred Ultimate Fighting Championship is coming to Manchester. And promoters are promising the 'most exciting sporting event ever seen' at the M.E.N. Arena. The fast-growing mixed martial arts sport now outranks boxing in the US in pay-per-view sales and TV audience figures.

It is also growing in Britain, thanks to US bouts being shown on satellite TV, with pre-sales for the M.E.N. Arena show on April 21 as strong as any staged in America.

UFC president Dana White said: "The M.E.N. Arena is the premier venue in Europe and we wanted somewhere special to stage this event.

"I can't tell you how excited and thrilled we are to be back in Britain."


The UFC brand was bought by White and his partners in 2001, when bans on the sport meant it was about to close forever.

But with strict new rules and safety laws, the competition has been resurrected in the US with regular audiences of 10 million for pay-per-view bouts.

So far, 13,700 seats will be available for the Arena event, which features UFC stars Mirko 'Cro Cop' and Andrei Arlovski on a card also starring Lancashire-based UFC light-heavyweight champion Michael 'The Count' Bisping.

The Manchester show will be the first in a series of high-profile UFC events to hit Britain this year, following the announcement that the organisation now has a London base.

Bisping, from Clitheroe, said: "It really is the most incredible sport to watch. "It has been crazy for me since winning the Ultimate Fighter 3 competition last year."

The Ultimate Fighting Championship takes place at the M.E.N. Arena on Saturday, April 21. £25 - £250. Click here to buy tickets.


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