UFC returns to Atlantic City

After a seven-year absence, the Ultimate Fighting Championship makes its return to Atlantic City on Friday with UFC on FX 4: Maynard vs. Guida. The event, held at Revel Resort and Casino, will be broadcast live for free on FX. The undercard will be broadcast on Facebook and Fuel TV.

The event’s main event pits lightweights Gray Maynard and Clay Guida against one another and the winner will most likely find himself in line for a shot at the UFC lightweight title.

Maynard’s last two fights saw him take on then-reigning lightweight champ and Toms River, N.J., native Frankie Edgar only to fall short each time; first by way of a draw in the first bout and a TKO in the rematch.

Edgar was on hand at Thursday’s weigh-ins to promote his August rematch against Benson Henderson, to whom he lost the lightweight title in February. He praised the return of UFC to Atlantic City. “I love it,” he joked, “I only had to drive an hour to get here. It’s great.”

A minor controversy arose around Guida this week when Maynard’s camp, not the fighter himself, lodged a complaint with  the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board regarding Guida’s trademark wild hair. Maynard’s trainers alleged that Guida’s hair would be an unfair distraction to his opponent. Guida laughed off the minor controversy and agreed to wear his hair in tight cornrows for the fight.

UFC has plenty of history with Atlantic City and New Jersey. In 2000, the UFC worked with the state’s athletic commission to create the ‘standard rules of combat’ that would eventually allow the sport to become sanctioned and shed its image of a lawless, no-hold-barred cage-match which Senator John McCain once famously likened to ‘human cock fighting’. The first two fights under the UFC’s current ownership group, Zuffa LLC, were held at the Atlantic City Boardwalk in 2001.

UFC on FX 4 represents the first athletic event to be held in the new Revel Resort and Casino’s amphitheater. The venue, which seats a maximum of 5,500 spectators, is considerably smaller than most UFC fights which are typically held in large arenas such as Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center, where UFC 101 and 133 were held.

UFC on FX 4 airs live on FX at 9 PM Friday.

For video of Frankie Edgar, click here.

For video of Shane Victorino on why he is a UFC fan, click here.