Heard from the folks at the Ultimate Fighting Championship today – confirming what every fight fan in town has been waiting for. The UFC has reserved August 28, 2010 as the date for its first ever card in Massachusetts. The event at the TD Garden won’t be officially announced for a few months, but just the reservation is enough to get mixed martial arts junkies buzzing.
This was all made possible when Governor Patrick signed legislation last month regulating mixed martial arts in Massachusetts. The UFC will not run in any state that does not have a regulatory commission or similar rules. That left smaller groups featuring up and coming fighters, like the WCF (which runs the Shriner’s Auditorium in Wilmington – worth checking out) as the only options for fans.
So who’s going to be on this card? UFC President Dana White is promising a HUGE card. Heavyweight contender Frank Mir (now training with Mark DellaGrotte, who runs SitYodTong in Somerville) should be due to fight around that time, but whether he faces nemesis (and heavyweight champ) Brock Lesnar remains to be seen. Lesnar is still recovering from a serious intestinal illness and may never fight again.
Dover native and lightweight star Kenny Florian will definitely be on that card. We’ve done several features on Kenny in the past (you can watch the interviews here) and he’s made no secret that it would fulfill a lifelong dream to fight in front of the hometown crowd. It would also bring a huge publicity boost to the Florian Martial Arts Center in Brookline, run by Kenny and his brother/coach Keith.
Other local fighters who will likely find their way onto the card: Maine’s Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis, Joe Lauzon of East Bridgewater, Gabriel Gonzaga, a big Brazilian who trains in Ludlow, and Jorge “El Conquistador” Rivera of Milford. With all of the MMA centers popping up all over New England, this list may very well grow by the time August rolls around.