UFC is set to return to UK after the warm welcome a UFC Fight Night had earlier this year. In order to capitalize on the return the UFC was planning to feature a famous UK fighter – Darren Till besides Tom Aspinall (who also headlined the last time).
Middleweight contender Darren Till is a native of Liverpool and a former welterweight championship contender. According to ESPN on Wednesday evening, Till withdrew from his planned co-main event fight against Jack Hermansson due to an unexplained injury. The match was supposed to take place at UFC Fight Night 208 on July 2.
Till has not fought since falling victim to a rear-naked choke from Derek Brunson in the main event of UFC Fight Night 191 in September of last year. Darren Till will have to wait before making an effort to end his current two fight losing streak.
Chris Curtis is the early favorite to replace Till with the UFC website going so far as to already have a replacement and a graphic in place.
Curtis was a welterweight contender in Professional Fighters League and Bellator MMA who has seen his career take off after upping his weight to 185 pounds. Curtis has made an impression in the UFC, starting his run with three consecutive victories.
Hermansson last lost to Sean Strickland in via split decision.
England will host the UFC Fight Night 208, better known as “UFC London.” The event will be held at the O2 Arena in London on July 23.
But despite that, many are still hoping the promotion will stage another event in Liverpool. UFC currently has a number of Liverpudlians on the roster so it’s only logical.
But apparently, that won’t be happening soon. Former UFC welterweight Dan Hardy shot down the hopes for a Liverpool homecoming.
UFC had previously held events in ‘The World Capital of Pop’ headlined by hometown star Darren Till against Stephen Thompson back in May 2018.
The event took place in Liverpool Arena formerly known as the Echo Arena. Unfortunately, the city hasn’t seen a UFC event held there since.
The Arena has a new sponsor – it got renamed to the Marsks & Spencer’s Bank Arena in 2019.
UFC is a home for several rising stars from Liverpool like Paddy Pimblett and Molly McCann and Darren Till.
During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, former British fighter Dan Hardy explained:
“This is the reason why the UFC aren’t going back to Liverpool, is because they’ve got a different sponsor at the arena. And the sponsor won’t allow combat sports. Yeah, the Echo is no longer the Echo. I think it’s the M&S Arena, Marks & Spencer. It’s a different brand, and they won’t allow combat sports. So, that’s what’s putting the block on Paddy and Molly coming back to Liverpool. Very, Very sad. Really disappointing, and very short-sighted of that brand… It’d be incredible.”
The main event is a 13-fight show that is largely loaded with boxers from the UK and other European countries. There will be a heavyweight match between top contender Curtis Blaydes and rising unbeaten icon Tom Aspinall.