UFC interim champ Tom Aspinall calls UFC Manchester start time unfair

UFC heavyweight interim champ Tom Aspinall has spoken out against the start time of the upcoming UFC Manchester event, set to take place in 2024. Aspinall, a native of England, expressed his concerns about the event’s timing, citing unfairness to UK fans who will have to stay up late to watch the action live.

The UFC Manchester event is scheduled to start at 3 am BST, which is 10 pm ET in the United States. Aspinall believes that this start time favors the American audience, leaving UK fans, who will have to adjust their schedules to watch the event, at a disadvantage.

Aspinall, who has competed in various time zones and has experience with adjusting to different schedules, acknowledged that the start time might not significantly impact him as a fighter. However, he empathized with the fans who want to watch the event live. “As a fan who wants to watch it live, I think it is absolutely terrible,” Aspinall said in a recent interview.

The British star suggested an alternative, proposing that the event could take place in the afternoon Eastern Time, which would correspond to the evening in the UK. This, he believes, would allow American fans to watch the event during their afternoon, while UK fans could attend the event in person or watch it at a reasonable hour.

Aspinall emphasized that the UK fans are very lucky to have a pay-per-view event in Manchester, but he urged the UFC to consider the time difference and accommodate the local audience. “Why can’t they sell to them in the afternoon, which is our evening time? Why can’t the Americans watch it in the afternoon and the UK fans, the Manchester fans, the European fans can all fly to the event, sell out this new arena?” he questioned.

Aspinall’s concerns are valid, considering that the UFC has been expanding its global reach, and events like UFC Manchester are crucial for building a strong fan base in the UK. By scheduling the event at a more convenient time for UK fans, the UFC could increase local engagement and ticket sales.

In the past, the UFC has faced criticism for prioritizing its American audience, and Aspinall’s comments highlight the importance of considering the needs of international fans. As the UFC continues to grow globally, it is essential to find a balance between catering to its primary market and accommodating the needs of fans worldwide.

The UFC Manchester event is expected to be a massive success, with a sold-out crowd anticipated at the AO Arena in Manchester. While Aspinall’s concerns may not change the start time of the event, his comments have sparked a crucial conversation about the importance of considering fan needs across different time zones.