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UFC 80 Hits England, But Will It Catch On?

UFC 80 will take place Saturday afternoon in Newcastle, England, and top British UFC fighter Michael Bisping tells the local press that there's growing enthusiasm among fans for the sport:

"Everybody I know who goes to the UFC for the first time leaves spellbound - they are guaranteed a fantastic night."
But given the way the sport is described in the British press -- when I read stories online, I still see the phrase "human cockfighting," which mercifully seems to be leaving the American lexicon -- I have my doubts about just how much it's catching on across the pond.

So does UFC President Dana White, who says this:
"We're getting our (butt) kicked over there. ... I don't think there is anything profitable about the European market," White admits. "But I think it (mixed martial arts) can be the biggest sport in the world."
So why go to England if it's not profitable? Basically, for the same reason that the NFL played a game in London last year and will return to the UK this year. They're laying the groundwork for what they hope is, eventually, a sport with a real presence in Europe. But it's going to take a long time.

We'll live blog UFC 80 at 3 p.m. Eastern Saturday here at FanHouse.

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