Why this UFC Fight Night matters

boston strong
UFC's Kenny Florian: Why Saturday is important for Beantown and sports fans worldwide.
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Kenny Florian

Kenny Florian is the only UFC fighter to compete in four divisions (Featherweight, Lightweight, Welterweight and Middleweight). After graduating from Boston College, Kenny focused on jiu-jitsu training at BJJ/Gracie Barra in Watertown, Mass. He finished as runner-up on "The Ultimate Fighter Season 1" and ending his fighting career with a 16-6-0 record. Kenny's MMA work can also be found outside of the Octagon as a commentator and co-host for "UFC Tonight."


Boston is a fighting town.

Going back to the 1880s, Boston's own John L. Sullivan was ruling the world as the heavyweight champion of bare-knuckle boxing. On Saturday, this rich tradition of fighting continues as the UFC hits Boston with UFC Fight Night on FOX Sports 1.

The UFC itself has roots in Boston. More than a few fighters—past and present—hail from the area (myself included). You can even argue that if there was no Boston, the UFC as we know it never would've existed. President Dana White spent much of his early life in the city of Boston and still has strong ties to the city. It was in Boston where Dana White's passion for the fight game was cultivated. Dana spent many years boxing, coaching and being around the boxing gyms. Along with the Fertitta family, Dana White has made the UFC the fastest growing sport in the world. Not a lot of people believed that the UFC would ever take off. You could call the UFC the underdog of the sports world. Boston loves fights, sports and they definitely love the underdogs.

Saturday brings one of the UFC's strongest cards of the year to a city that is fanatical about its sports. I won't get a chance to be back home in Boston for this one, but I'll be proudly watching and analyzing the fights for FOX Sports 1 in Los Angeles as the network makes its historical launch.

Before the fighters perform on Saturday, they should be ready to fight for a very loud and passionate Boston crowd. I didn't make the most of my UFC Boston experience the first time around in 2010, so let me advise the fighters as to what they are getting into when they step into the TD Boston Garden Arena.

Boston is a passionate sports town with an amazing sports history. It has produced boxing champions like Marvin Hagler and Rocky Marciano. The Celtics have won countless NBA World championships. The Patriots have been one of the strongest teams in the NFL for more than a decade. The Bruins have held the Stanley Cup recently and have been a top team for the last five years now. And even the Red Sox beat the "Curse of the Bambino" when they finally won the pennant in 2004 for the first time in 86 years. They did it again in 2007.

Simply put, Boston loves champions and they fiercely support their own. This was on full display recently when another historic Boston sports event was taking place with the 117th Boston Marathon. A bomb was detonated by suspected terrorists at the finish line of the race on Boston's Boylston street. They were hoping for a knockout blow to the city.

What they got in return was a city that could take a blow, get off the canvas and come back with a real knockout shot. The whole city responded. The police department, the fire department, the hospitals, regular citizens and the marathoners themselves responded with courage, compassion and appropriate immediacy. It was another stark reminder that you don't mess with Boston. It is a proud and determined city that showed its true colors in tough times. In Boston we love our sports teams to be tough and to find a way despite crazy odds to fight back and win. The city of Boston showed what they can do and they truly are "Boston Strong".

So to all the great fighters who have the opportunity to fight in Boston Saturday night, remember where you are fighting. Show Boston that same fighting spirit that they love and live by and you will have fans for life. Fight with passion, fight with heart and show your skills and you too will be Boston strong.

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