BBC decision proves just how big this weekend is for British mixed martial arts 3 years ago

BBC decision proves just how big this weekend is for British mixed martial arts

There's no doubt about it. This is the biggest weekend in British MMA history.

Two of mixed martial arts' powerhouses will set up shop in England this weekend, with Bellator 200 taking place in London on Friday evening before the UFC's Octagon touches down in Liverpool for the first time on Sunday.

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Arguably the most promising British fighter since Michael Bisping will close out an amazing weekend for UK mixed martial arts when unbeaten UFC welterweight Darren Till headlines in his hometown against former 170lbs challenger Stephen 'Wonderboy' Thompson.

Till's meteoric rise to the pinnacle of the UFC's welterweight division has seen him rewarded with a fight against one of the top contenders and it's a big deal.

Having been branded 'The Future' by UFC President Dana White after his demolition of Donald Cerrone last October, Till could well earn a title shot with a victory over 'Wonderboy' on Sunday night at Liverpool's Echo Arena.

The significance of the UFC's debut event on Merseyside is made abundantly clear by the decision to broadcast live commentary of a UFC event for the first time on national BBC airwaves.

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BBC Radio 5 live sports extra will cover UFC Fight Night 130 this weekend, with OJ Borg and Nick Peet hosting the programme with help from commentator Malcolm Martin and former UFC fighter Brad Pickett.

David Shaw, a senior vice president for the UFC, said: "The appeal of UFC continues to reach new heights in the UK and it's fitting that this broadcast will cover such a historic and highly anticipated event in Liverpool."

Ben Gallop, head of BBC radio and digital sport, said: "Broadcasting a UFC event live on BBC 5 live sports extra is a landmark moment for us.

"The growing popularity of UFC in the UK, particularly amongst younger audiences, makes it the ideal sport for us to broadcast live, offering comprehensive coverage to our millions of listeners.

"Our coverage on BBC 5 live sports extra and the BBC Sport website will ensure fans won't miss a moment of the action in Liverpool."

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