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28th May 2018

Darren Till explains choice of walkout music in deafening Echo Arena

That could well have been a first at a UFC event

Darragh Murphy

I’ve been in Manchester for Michael Bisping and I’ve been in Las Vegas and Dublin for Conor McGregor.

The noise that greeted Liverpool’s Darren Till when he made the walk to the Octagon in the Echo Arena on Sunday night is up there with the loudest reactions I’ve ever heard to a fighter’s entrance.

Till previously used Phil Collins’ In the Air Tonight as his walkout song but he decided to change things up this weekend, as the opening bars of Sweet Caroline brought the 8,500 in attendance to their feet.

It will go down as one of the most iconic entrances in UFC history, with Till not only fighting on home soil for the first time but also due to the fact that it was the organisation’s first ever event on Merseyside, and there was a specific reason for Till’s decision to switch his music up.

In his post-fight press conference, Till revealed that he wanted to create a party atmosphere in the arena so opted for the sing-song classic courtesy of Neil Diamond.

“I might not change it, I don’t know. I’m not a superstitious guy. I know some fighters think everything has to be the same for their fights but I just knew that, for that type of crowd, that type of tune would work,” Till explained.

“Scenes like that have only been seen before in Dublin, I suppose.

“I looked over at one point and Dana White had a big smile on his face so I feel like I was very intelligent with my walkout music and I wanted to be.

“I wanted to have a good moment, it’s never been to Liverpool before.”

It was supposed to be a dream weekend for Till but complications with his weight cut undoubtedly put a dampener on the fight.

Till was forced to re-weigh on fight day at no more than 188lbs for the fight to go ahead after missing weight by over 3lbs at the official weigh-ins a day earlier and he also had to forfeit 30 per cent of his fight purse to Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson.

The fight itself was a technical striking battle akin to a chess match and while the unanimous decision that was awarded to Till has been fiercely debated on social media, the whole experience made the still-undefeated Scouser a very happy man.

“I think tonight, with how I picked my walkout, it exceeded my expectations,” Till continued.

“As I say, there was a downer on it with me missing weight but, apart from that, tonight’s fight night!

“I was just looking at the screen at everybody walking out and they were getting cheers. And I was thinking: ‘What’s it going to be like when I walk out?’

“Everything from my tune to the right time that I walked out, I just saw flashlights and I saw Scousers. It was just incredible and they were screaming and chanting.

“All the way through the fight, I could hear Darren Till chants. That’s what you get at a football match. At a football match, they chant for Steven Gerrard, but they were chanting for Darren Till.

“It’s crazy. Honest to God, it’s unbelievable.”