|Industry||Mixed Martial Arts promotion|
John Ferguson (Founder & CEO)Tom Murphy
|Parent||Ferguson Sports Group LTD|
The creation of Irish sports promoter John Ferguson, Cage Contender began as a knockout style tournament to be fought at a weight of 70–80 kg in The Cricket Club, Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland. The six men were drawn by way of raffle to make up three first-round fights. The winners of these three fights progressed to the next round along with one of the losers who would be granted a golden ticket again by way of raffle. The winners of the two second-round fights would progress to the final and a winner crowned.
The fight card was made up of a mix of amateur undercard fights and the professional six-man tournament which was the main event. The main event was won by English fighter Aaron Lambourne who returned via the golden ticket system following a first round loss after a battle with local man Mervyn Mullholland.
From the outset of the Cage Contender project Ferguson stated that he would first achieve a broadcast deal then go on to become the Irish market leader. Many thought that this was a nonesense given that he had zero experience within either the television or MMA industries. The first part of his claim became reality at Cage Contender 4 in May 2010 when Cage Contender was broadcast for the first time in Ireland and the UK.
Status as Irish market leader was confirmed on July 24th 2010 when Cage Contender 5 became the biggest non UFC event ever in Ireland being broadcast in 56 countries while 3500 fans packed Dublins National Basketball Arena to witness the biggest Bantamweight fight in European MMA history between Paul McVeigh and Artemij Sitenkov.
Cage Contender was the first MMA promotion in Europe where fans where able to bet on the outcome of the fights in a historic team up with Irish bookmaking chain Boyle Sports. This historic event lead the way to more mainstream betting on MMA promotions in Europe.
Cage Contender features a mix of Irish talent combined with many UFC veterans to give wider commercial appeal.
In December 2012 Cage Contender returned to its tournament style roots with the £10,000 Cage Contender Fight Stars event in Liverpool, England. This tournament was won by The Ultimate Fighter veteran and former Royal Marine Commando Martin Stapleton
2013 seen Cage Contender sign international legend Paul Daley to compete at Cage Contender 16 in Dublin, Ireland. Daley faced Frenchman Patrick Vallee and finished the fight by flying knee in the second round
- Paul Daley
- Conor McGregor
- Gunnar Nelson
- Dean Lister
- Norman Parke
- Ivan Salaverry
- Paul McVeigh
- Shannon Gugerty
- Jeff Monson
- Paddy Holohan
- Neil Wain
- Martin Stapleton
- Neil Seery
- Fraser Opie
- Greg Loughran
- Danny Mitchell
- Cathal Pendred
|Heavyweight||265 lbs||Neil Wain|
|Light Heavyweight||205 lbs||Fraser Opie|
|Middleweight||185 lbs||Chris Fields|
|Welterweight||170 lbs||Ali Arish|
|Lightweight||155 lbs||Greg Loughran|
Cage Contender bouts are held under the Unified Rules of MMA
All Cage Contender bouts are competed over 3 x 5 minute rounds
Cage Contender Results from Sherdog.com
Cage Contender events are currently broadcast in over 100 territories globally through television partners including Sky Sports, Setanta Sports, Premier Sports UK, The Fight Network, Fight Now TV, Black Belt TV and 365 Network (Stod2) reaching an audience of around 180 million homes.
In May 2013 Cage Contender agreed terms with global content distributor SPI International Polska which will see the brand available on airlines, cruise ships and in hotel chains world wide across 5 continents.