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Plenty at stake in weekend’s main event

Mixed Martial Arts is one of the fastest growing sports, and this weekend the world’s biggest MMA promotion comes to town.

Mixed Martial Arts is one of the fastest growing sports, and this weekend the world’s biggest MMA promotion comes to town. UFC 115 — the quickest UFC sellout ever — puts Vancouver on the MMA map.

This weekend’s main event pits two UFC legends against one another. Both Chuck (The Iceman) Liddell and Rich (Ace) Franklin have been on both ends of brain-jarring shots. But make no mistake, while both might have chins of steel, their heads are for numbers.

Franklin taught high school math before getting into MMA full time. Liddell graduated in 1995 with an accounting degree. Besides being able to do their taxes, both have acting talents — Liddell even did a turn on Dancing with the Stars. Perhaps most telling is that both come off as mild mannered, thoughtful men.

Similarities aside, this is a must-win fight for both. Liddell and Franklin are on the “downside” of their careers and the loser will likely ponder retirement. It makes for an exciting fight for a city that often leads the way in per-capita UFC pay-per-view buys.

That popularity is due largely to the promotion’s openness to regulation. The rules of UFC allow for excitement and safety. That way neither Liddell or Franklin have anything to fear — except losing.

But don’t worry. Should he want to, the man who takes the fall Saturday will have a good career to fall back on.

Where the action is
UFC headliner Chuck (The Iceman) Liddell has been spotted in Vancouver. If you don’t want to leave UFC star spotting to chance, here is the schedule for UFC fighters today and tomorrow.

• Today, noon: Liddell along with the other UFC 115 headliners will be holding open workouts at the Sheraton Wall Centre.

• Tomorrow, noon: UFC President Dana White holds his pre-fight press conference at GM Place. Fighters will attend.

– Craig Nielsen is the host of the MMA Report on the TEAM 1410.

 
 
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