UFC Glasgow: The night Scotland was silenced

Sporting success in Scotland is rare on the international stage, despite many great athletes stemming from up north. Still, they know how to put on a show and it would be a dramatic understatement to suggest that the UFC’s two visits to Glasgow have been good – because they haven’t been, they’ve been outstanding.

Following on from the success of the promotion’s first venture up north in 2015, many fans were left to wonder whether or not they’d ever return. Thankfully it was soon announced that July 2017 would see The SSE Hydro once again host the world’s greatest mixed martial artists, and yet as time went on things began to feel a tad underwhelming.

Many people complained about the lack of star power, especially on the main card, despite several Scottish names being included on the bill. Of course as we now look back on what went down that night, it seems as if people should’ve been more focused on the foreign fighters who were looking to make a statement.

Because at the end of the day, that’s the big story coming out of Fight Night 113: the upsets. Despite Danny Henry’s valiant effort on the prelims it wasn’t enough to turn the tide in what was a desperately disappointing night for Scottish MMA. With Ray, Calderwood and Craig all falling on the main card, the Rest of the World triumphed 3-0 over the Scots in the big time matches.

Special mentions most certainly go to the likes of Khalil Rountree and Paul Felder, who were in many ways the pantomime villains of the evening. The two stars kept their composure, took their time and struck whilst the iron was most certainly hot to score important knockout victories.

Then came the cherry on top of what would’ve been a satisfying night if you enjoy Scottish misery, with heavy favourite Gunnar Nelson losing in astonishing fashion at the hands of Santiago Ponzinibbio. Hard to spell, yes, but after this night nobody will ever forget his name.

But in reality much of what we’ve just said is irrelevant. Sure to some it’ll matter that the gate was $1.2 million, it’ll matter that Henry vs Teymur was Fight of the Night and it’ll matter that Felder/Ponzinibbio received the Performance bonuses.

The most important statistic of them all, in actuality, is the attendance figure of 10,589. To think that so many people attended an event which was deemed to be inferior is mind boggling, and it proves once more that the strength of mixed martial arts in Europe is stronger than ever.

In a literal sense you could argue that the losses hurt the foundation that this great continent is attempting to build, however wins and losses mean nothing if we aren’t attempting to inspire the future generation of fighters. That’s what the end goal should be here: to create long lasting legacies and memories that will remain in the hearts and minds of fight fans around the world.

Bruce Buffer likes to say that “it’s time” whenever he prepares for the main event, and it is. It’s time to appreciate every individual fighter that steps inside the octagon whether they’re a two-weight world champion or have been thrown in at the deep end off of the regional circuit.

Even the prelim fighters on Sunday had dozens of fans spurring them on, and that’s a testament to just how seriously people are starting to treat this sport. We had the privilege of being there cageside to cover the events throughout the week, and from talking to Paul Felder about the death of his father all the way through to Stevie Ray being serenaded by Flower of Scotland it was a mesmerising experience.

So no matter where you are, keep an eye out for a UFC event within a few hundred miles of you – because it just may change your outlook on things.