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.