BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s one of the fastest growing sports, but it’s never been in Baltimore–until now. It’s called Ultimate Fighting, and the men and women involved are some of the world’s toughest athletes.
Jessica Kartalija explains one of the fighters in this weekend’s UFC title match has a unique tie to Baltimore.
At 26, Jon Jones is a light heavyweight champion. When he climbs into the octagon at the Baltimore Arena this weekend, it will be a night of many firsts.
“He said, ‘Hey, how about Baltimore?’ And I jumped all over the opportunity,” Jones said.
For the first time ever, the Ultimate Fighting Championship comes to the Baltimore Arena. It’s expected to be one of the mixed martial arts promotion’s biggest Pay Per View events of the year.
“When you look back on the history of Baltimore, this is a blue collar town, this is a fight town. We knew that if we could get a date here, it would be a tremendous success,” said Dave Sholler, UFC.
For Jones, there’s a special Charm City connection. His brother is former Raven, Arthur Jones.
“It feels great to be here in Baltimore. I’ve met so many of the great Baltimore football fans and now to be here in the center is going to be awesome,” he said. “Arthur’s won a Super Bowl here in Baltimore and now I’ll get to win my world title here in Baltimore.”
Jones will defend his title against Brazilian contender Glover Teixeira, who has won 20 straight fights.
“I’m excited. And I like this area, too, especially this time of the year,” Teixeira said.
The high-profile match-up is a hard-hitting way to showcase Baltimore around the globe.
“You’re going to see people all over the world–175 countries, 23 different languages–are going to see it. And it’s all emanating from here in Baltimore,” Sholler said.
Saturday night’s event is sold out, but Jones says his brother, Arthur, and several of the current Ravens players will be there to cheer him on.
Baltimore has hosted smaller mixed martial arts shows since 2009, but nothing of this scale.
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