Boy band star brings brutal sport to Cheltenham
Wednesday, February 17, 2010, 07:11
One of the world’s most brutal sports will take centre stage in Cheltenham.
Cage fighting, in which martial arts experts are locked in a ring and forced to battle until someone is knocked out or gives in, will make its debut at Cheltenham Racecourse on Saturday.
The event has been organised by Knuckleup, a promotions company run by former pop star and Big Brother contestant Dane Bowers.
It has already attracted a celebrity guest list including footballer Ian Wright, pop group Mis-Teeq, former gangster Dave Courtney and glamour model Bianca Gascoigne.
Andy Clifton, spokesman for the racecourse, said Knuckleup: Origin would offer something different for the town.
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“It is new and it will be interesting. What we are always trying to do is make use of the facilities we have here and use them to their best extent,” he said.
“We had more than 1,000 people at a military black tie event here last weekend, so this will be something completely different.
“It’s good to have a broad range of events.”
Cage fighting became popular in the USA in the early 1990s.
The original format pitted martial arts experts against each other with very few rules in an attempt to find out which style of fighting was most effective.
Promoters later added more laws to make the sport safer and broaden its appeal. Mr Clifton dismissed fears the brutality of cage fighting would tarnish Cheltenham’s image.
He said: “It is a professionally organised and professionally run sport.
“Undoubtedly it will not be for everyone, but we are not telling everyone to come and watch it. Anyone who wants to watch it will be doing so by choice.”
The racecourse show, which will be hosted at The Centeur conference centre, will be the second event organised by Mr Bowers and his partners, the first taking place at Celtic Manor Hotel in Newport.
The pop star found fame with boyband Another Level and recently appeared on the last ever series of Celebrity Big Brother.
A spokesman for Knuckleup said: “We hope this move will once again give the potential talent nestling within the UK scene a real chance to shine in the spotlight.
“The event promises not only top-class mixed martial arts action, but also delivers it to the fans via revolutionary production values for a UK-based event.”
For more information visit: www.knuckleup.co.uk