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Singapore, Sports

Sanjay Nair
Thursday, May 1, 2014

Singapore, Sports

MMA trio not likely to come to S'pore

The Straits Times | Sanjay Nair | Thursday, May 1, 2014

(From left) MMA superstars Jon Jones, Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva were scheduled to be in Singapore for a training clinic and fan session on May 31, but the Las Vegas-based Ultimate Fighting Championship, the sport's biggest promoter, referred to the event as "false advertising".

SINGAPORE - Mixed martial arts (MMA) superstars Jon Jones, Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre are unlikely to be coming to Singapore after all.

Nine days after organisers LAMC Productions and Ch'i Life Studio Asia first announced a May 31 seminar and fan session with the MMA trio, they were forced to distance themselves from the event, which was purportedly part of an 11-city world tour.

"Due to circumstances beyond our control, we will not be promoting this event," they said in a joint statement to The Straits Times.

"Should there be an event taking place, we will no longer be involved."

The statement is the latest in a series of twists concerning the Fighters World Tour, of which the Singapore event was to be a part.

The three MMA superstars were scheduled to be in town for a two-hour, hands-on training clinic, as well as a meet-and-greet fan session at the Marina Bay Sands' ArtScience Museum, on May 31.

But it seems their latest promotion was no-go from the start.

In a Facebook post last week, the Las Vegasbased Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the sport's biggest promoter, referred to the event as "false advertising". It also advised fans not to buy tickets as none of the three UFC fighters was involved.

In an e-mail reply to The Straits Times last Friday, Silva's manager Ed Soares confirmed UFC's position, stating: "Anderson will not be a part of this (tour). It seems his name was wrongly attached."

St-Pierre also retweeted a UFC post reiterating that the fighters were unaware of the world tour, which was scheduled to start in Paris on May 5 and end in Manila on June 7.

Despite these denials, LAMC stood by its original press release, which said the tour was sponsored by Nike, and insisted that the sports apparel giant would be issuing a statement to address the UFC's allegations.

However, Nike responded on Sunday to a Straits Times query and said that it had neither "been approached nor is even aware of a global, multicity tour" involving the MMA trio.

Nike sponsors Brazil's Silva and New York native Jones, who retained the UFC light-heavyweight title in a decisive win over Glover Teixeira on Saturday. Canadian St-Pierre is inked to rival brand Under Armour.

Fans in Singapore were expected to fork out $888 for the training clinic or $128 for the meet-and-greet session. The tickets did not go on sale last Wednesday as was announced.

Tickets for the Hong Kong leg - scheduled to be on May 17 - have also since been listed as "unavailable" online. Hong Kong organisers Warrior Muay Thai declined comment.

LAMC is well known in the regional concert circuit, bringing in top musical acts such as Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Metallica to Singapore, Jakarta and Hong Kong.

nsanjay@sph.com.sg

This article was published on April 29 in The Straits Times.

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.

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