UFC 304 in Manchester is finally announced – but fans hit out at ‘ridiculous’ start time

The UFC will return to the UK on 27 July, at the new Co-op Live arena

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Wednesday 24 April 2024 13:44 BST
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The UFC’s return to the UK is finally official, with UFC 304 taking place at Manchester’s new Co-op Live arena on 27 July.

UFC president Dana White confirmed this month that the promotion’s next UK event would take place in Manchester, and that the fight card would be on pay-per-view. The event has now been confirmed as UFC 304, though no fights have yet been announced.

However, timings for the event have been listed as 11pm BST for the prelims and 3am BST for the main card. It is a move that will cater for US viewers, and it has already drawn criticism from British fans.

“3am main card IN ENGLAND is f***ing ridiculous! What’s the point??” wrote one Instagram user on an official UFC post. “The main card starts at 3am uk time. embarrasing [sic],” wrote another.

“Has to be a joke right?? We wait up till that time or even later when it’s in the USA,” added another user. Meanwhile, one comment read: “Main card starts 3am uk time, that’s so poor man.”

When White discussed the event in March, he referenced Tom Aspinall and Leon Edwards as potential combatants in Manchester, saying: “I have an English heavyweight champion and lots of other European stars, but two champs now out of England.”

Wigan heavyweight Aspinall holds the interim title and is expected to defend that belt – in a rare move in the UFC – in his next fight, likely at UFC 304.

The 31-year-old won the belt by knocking out Sergei Pavlovich in November, after regular champion Jon Jones suffered an injury that derailed his planned defence against Stipe Miocic. Winning an interim title would typically set up the fighter in question to challenge for undisputed gold, but the UFC has insisted that Jones vs Miocic will go ahead first.

Meanwhile, Jamaican-born Edwards – who fights out of Birmingham – holds the welterweight title and is expected to defend the belt against Belal Muhammad next, possibly at UFC 304.

Edwards, 32, last fought in December, outpointing Colby Covington to retain the 170lbs title that he won in 2022.

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