Tom Aspinall Frustrated By UFC 304 Start Time – Is He Right?

Tom Aspinall is frustrated with the timing of the UFC 304 card. 

The card takes place on July 27 from the Co-Op Live Arena in Manchester, England. Aspinall is expected to defend his UFC Interim Heavyweight Title. The PPV event will begin at 10 pm E.T., which is 3 am in England. While the timing has been done to market the event to a US audience, Aspinall has been left disappointed. 

Aspinall is close to getting a world title shot against Jon Jones. A large part of his fanbase is the British public. Although the event will likely sell out, Aspinall wanted a compromise. He hoped the event would begin in the afternoon for US fight fans, allowing UK fans to see the live event at an earlier time. That has left the UFC with a decision to make, as it could impact the ratings. 

“As an athlete, as a fighter, it honestly doesn’t make that much difference. For a couple of weeks before, I’ll have to wake up and train at that time or stay up or whatever. I’ve flown across the world multiple times and fought in different time zones, so it’s not as bad as that.

“As a fan who wants to watch it live? I think it’s absolutely terrible. I think it’s just not fair on the fans, not fair on the UK fans. Obviously predominantly it’s an American audience so I understand that, they want to sell to them. But why can’t they sell to them in the afternoon which is our evening time? Why can’t Americans watch it in the afternoon and the UK fans, the Manchester fans, the European fans can all fly to the event, sell out this new arena. It’s going to sell out regardless. We’re very lucky to have a PPV in Manchester. But it’s UK MMA, let’s put it on UK time,” Aspinall said 

However, the UFC is coming off one of its best cards. The UFC 300 event set several records. It was the biggest UFC attendance in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the T Mobile arena. The card also produced the third-highest UFC gate at approximately $16.5 million. The prelims were the most watched on ESPN. In addition, the UFC’s social media following increased by 3.2 million followers. Finally, Max Holloway’s stoppage of Justin Gaethje was the most-liked UFC video on Instagram. That shows the UFC’s success in holding big events, which they will aim to replicate at UFC 304. 

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