FORMER undisputed UFC heavyweight champion of the world Frank Mir, who made Brock Lesnar submit on his MMA debut, will appear at FightCon in Cork later this month.
The fan-based convention, which will also see household MMA names such as Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson and Ben Askren meet with fans, announced Frank Mir as its latest guest this week.
Mir said: “I’m excited about coming to Ireland, where the fans are among the most knowledgeable in the world. Ireland has a proud history when it comes to prizefighting, amateur boxing and now mixed martial arts. Events like FightCon help our sport to grow, and I’m delighted to be a part of it all.”
Having enjoyed a stellar 16-year career with UFC, FightCon founders Jason Woodard and Cian O’Leary said Frank Mir was a huge addition to the already stacked event on February 29.
“What Frank Mir hasn’t experienced in the world of MMA isn’t worth knowing. He is a genuine legend of the sport, and has been in some of the most memorable fights in the octagon,” said Jason Woodard.
Frank Mir spoiled the party during the highly-anticipated MMA debut of former standout amateur wrestler and WWE superstar Brock Lesnar in February 2008, making the Beast tapout in just 90 seconds, earning the submission of the night prize.
Cian O’Leary said: “The fans at the Silversprings Convention Centre on Saturday, February 29 will have access to some of the biggest names ever to grace MMA rings, and Frank Mir is a world-class addition to the event. We’re thrilled to be able to bring such names as Frank, Wonderboy and Ben Askren to MMA supporters in Ireland.”
FightCon is the biggest expo event of its kind ever to occur in Europe, where the burgeoning combat sport scene is now rivalling its US fanbase in popularity.
Bellator’s James Gallagher and Michael Venom Page ; and Fight Connect TV creator Lydia Des Dolles are among MMA figures who will participate in panel discussions spotlighting different areas of the sport, as well as question and answer sessions and meet and greets for fans.
Cork’s own professional boxing star Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan will be on hand to discuss his career, just weeks after a gruelling fight with unbeaten Mexican superstar Jaime Munguia in Texas.
FightCon is the brainchild of combat sports enthusiasts Jason Woodard and Cian O’Leary, who said bringing an event of its magnitude to Cork was to cater for the exponential Irish interest in MMA in recent years.
Woodard said: “The interest in MMA and combat sports has exploded in Ireland and beyond over the last decade, and we thought it was about time we brought an event of this magnitude to these shores. MMA has received negative attention at times in recent months, and rightly so.
"However, strip away the outlandish stunts you sometimes see, and there is a community of fans who simply want to see combat sports played out in a safe and honourable fashion. We are of that mindset in FightCon, and the conference will reflect that.”
Fellow FightCon founder Cian O’Leary said selecting Cork for the inaugural event was deliberate, considering the appetite for MMA in the region.
"Our first and only choice for an event of this size. Fight fans would normally have to travel to Dublin or Belfast for an event like this but we wanted to bring the world’s biggest combat sports stars to Leeside."
See www.fightconireland.com for more.