By Sam Curtin
Cork is set host Fight Con, an MMA/combat sports event attracting UFC stars like Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson and former World Heavyweight champion Frank Mir on February 29th at the Clayton Silversprings Hotel.
The event is the first of its kind to land in Ireland, nevermind Cork. It is the brain-child of local entrepreneur and MMA enthusiast Jason Woodward along with Combat Offensive Charm co-host Cian O’Leary. It is the biggest expo event of its kind in Europe which will attract other big names such as Ben Askren, Michael Venom Paige and local interest in boxer Gary Spike O’Sullivan and Bellator prospect, James Gallagher.
Irish MMA has grown exponentially in past few years since Conor McGregor first stepped into the UFC octagon in April 2013. Since then numerous fighters from the Emerald Isle have taken to the world stage and some of those along with James Gallagher (Bellator pair Will Fleury and Kiefer Crosbie will be present at the event.
What can be expected from the event? There will be multiple Q&A sessions, panel discussions and meet and greets where fans will get a real up close and personal experience on the day.
The question is, with few high-profile fighters from Cork, why was this an appropriate venue? According to Cian “Fight fans would normally have to travel to Dublin or Belfast for an event like this but we wanted to bring the world’s biggest combat sports stars to Leeside.”
MMA in particular, has its critics due to its often bloody and violent spectacle with countries such as France making the sport illegal. However Jason who was the former owner of popular doughnut shop Huckleberry’s said “ There is a community of fans who simply want to see combat sports played out in a safe and honourable fashion. We are of that mindset in Fight-Con, and the conference will reflect that.” It certainly is case of turning doughnuts into diamonds for the Republic Of Work man.
Tickets are still on sale at fightconireland.com but are 80% sold for what promises to be a unique and exciting event on Leeside.
Finally, in other MMA news, UFC is set to return to Dublin on August 15th at the 3 Arena. However, it appears unlikely that Conor McGregor will be fighting on the night as it is a non Pay Per View card and combined with the early start American time, it will not make the revenue that would be associated with a McGregor fight, who, is rumoured to be fighting American Justin Gaethje next on his quest for a third UFC belt. Fellow Lightweight Joseph Duffy is the only other Irish fighter on the UFC roster but has not fought since losing to Marc Diakiese at UFC London in March 2019.
Tickets for UFC Fight Night Dublin go on sale Friday June 26th.