UFC 221 in Perth performed

UFC 221 Romero vs Rockhold

UFC 221 held last Sunday (Feb. 11) is done and dusted. It is in history. In fact, it was indeed historic, since it was the first Ultimate Fighting Championship event accommodated here in Perth, Western Australia.

The promotion of UFC 221 reminded me our Total Carnage Fight Night held on the Gold Coast in 2012. Starting with the press conference held on Wednesday, followed by the media day and open workouts, we’ve gathered at the official weigh-in ceremony conducted before the fans, with the culmination Gala happening the day after.

The promotion certainly strives to elevate the name of fighters to the best of its ability, understanding that the athletes are those who generate the audience and Pay-Per-View sales. In simple words: the more popular the fighter is – the more people will come and pay to attend the event and watch it on PPV.

Therefore, there is a storytelling behind basically every athlete appearing on the card. This is something the local Muay Thai promoters should learn from in order to help popularize the “Art of Eight Limbs”. There is a must to involve public media, other than just making a few ticket sales through gyms, friends and family of participating fighter, furthermore paying fighter’s purse in tickets. This makes a little bit of cash, but it doesn’t really promote the Sport.

There was no local talent on the card. To date, to my knowledge, there have been only two athletes fighting out of Perth, WA. Steve Kennedy had two fights in the promotion and was released following two defeats. Soa Palelei retired in 2015, after a six-fight UFC run, in which he scored four victories.

Nevertheless, we’ve seen the fighters from Eastern States: Tyson Pedro, Jake Matthews, Tai Tuivasa, Mark Hunt, among others. The lift of “cage ban” will hopefully increase the popularity, and the most importantly understanding of Mixed Martial Arts in Western Australia, as well as help develop a new generation of top athletes.

As for the bouts, being a Muay Thai fighter I did enjoy watching Tai Tuivasa who “elbowed him [Cyril Asker] back to France”, as well as the stand up striking performance by Israel Adesanya. I cheered for Jake Matthews, who, two years back, appeared as a special guest and commentator at our Muay Thai event “Nemesis 11” also here in Perth.

Perth crowd appeared appreciative enough. However “booing” and some other “terrific” noise was made, when the fighters didn’t engage in a “brawl”. That wasn’t nice at all, since the athletes trained hard during 6-8 weeks ahead of the event, furthermore fought early Sunday morning striving to show their best.

The event ended with Yoel Romero crushing Luke Rockhold’s title dreams and Danza Kuduro. The fight results can be found here.