Two charity cage fighting events are taking place in the North West this weekend to raise money for charity.
One of which will be hosted by Charity Cage Wars at Salford’s AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday 23 November 2019.
The company is known for putting on MMA events across the country with the aim of promoting the sport whilst raising money for local charities.
Described as a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’, they provide participants with eight weeks of free cage fighting training before they feature on a packed card of fights at a nearby venue.
Sam Smith, the Owner of Charity Cage Wars, believes that the company’s work in charity cage fighting provides a pathway into the sport for many and attempts to shift the negatively held perceptions around MMA.
“We run mixed martial arts events where we try to promote the sport and give people the experience of getting into the sport, to hopefully carry on their training”, she said.
“We find that MMA has a bit of a bad representation with the UFC, although it’s been around a while, I think that it’s quite new to the UK.
“I think a lot of people think that they’re just going to get beat up. It’s not really about that, a lot of people that do it, do it for fitness, self-defence and confidence.
“Another reason we do it is to raise money for local charities in the UK and it gives the fighters an aim to raise some money for a charity that is close to the heart.”
Saturday’s event will see Charity Cage Wars in Manchester for the first time to host a packed evening of mixed martial arts fighting at Salford’s AJ Bell Stadium.
It’s an opportunity that Smith and everyone is involved is looking forward to this weekend.
“We secured the AJ Bell Stadium, which is a fantastic venue, we’re really excited to be going there and coming to Manchester. It’s our first event there so I think it’s going to be really good.
“We run these events across the country and whether the people coming down are interested in mixed martial arts or just coming to support a family member, a lot of people just have a good experience.”
Another company that do similar work is Ultra MMA. They are also hosting an event in the Manchester area on Saturday evening to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
One fighter taking part in their line-up at Bowlers Exhibition Centre is University of Salford student Will Norris. He signed up for a variety of reasons, with the charity also being close to his heart.
“It’s a great cause, it benefits so many people. It has a personal reminiscence for me as my grandad died of Lung Cancer a few years ago”, he explained.
“I’ve always wanted to get into the sport too, I’ve always had a thing for mixed martial arts, and this just popped up on my Facebook and I thought ‘I really want to do this.’
“I want to do it for confidence too. I suffer from severe anxiety and depression and I feel like it’s something that will really boost my confidence.”
Having never stepped into an MMA cage before, Norris has nearly completed eight weeks of training and it’s an experience that he has relished throughout.
“During the preparation, I’ve met some amazing people. The trainers have been amazing with us, everyone’s so nice and it’s made me feel more confident in my own ability with the feedback I’ve been receiving.
“It’s helped me stay active instead of sitting in my flat doing nothing. I’ve realised things that I’ve never really known. I’m eating healthy, I find out my opponent in the next few days and then I just need to buckle down and just chill out ahead of the night.”
Will’s fundraising page ahead of the fight can be found via https://justgiving.com/fundraising/william-norris84.
Tickets for both events are still available and can be purchased by visiting http://www.charitycagewars.co.uk/shop/?orderby=menu_order&category-layout=&category-layout=grid and https://www.ultratickets.co.uk/events/ultra-mma-manchester-23-11-2019/https://www.ultratickets.co.uk/events/ultra-mma-manchester-23-11-2019/.
(AJ Bell Stadium image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Salford_City_Stadium_-_geograph.org.uk_-_2865260.jpg)