Manchester MMA star Tom Aspinall slams ‘unfair’ start times for UFC 304 at Co-op Live

Much like every other fan in Manchester and the UK as a whole, he's not happy with it.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 1st May 2024

Local MMA star Tom Aspinall has come out to criticise the start times for UFC 304 here in Manchester, calling it ‘unfair’ for fans here in the UK.

In case you missed that rather big announcement, the UFC is returning to Manchester after nearly a decade and will be the very first sporting event held at the brand-new Co-op Live Arena, which is finally set to open this week following multiple delays (touch wood).

However, in an effort to keep broadcasters and the UFC‘s massive audience back in the US, the fight card will be starting until around 3am – and that’s at the very earliest.

Responding to the decision the Atherton-born and Salford-based fighter posted a video on his socials saying, “As a fan who wants to watch it live, I think it is absolutely terrible”.

@tomaspinallofficial My thoughts on UFC Manchester fight times for you UK fans 🤛 #ufc #manchester #foryoupage #viralvideo #fans #tomaspinall ♬ No Loss – Instrumental Version – Canon

He goes on to say that “it’s just not fair on the fans – the UK fans obviously. It’s predominantly 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?


While he admitted it “doesn’t make that much difference” to him as a fighter, the 31-year-old went on to ask, “Why can’t the American watch it in the afternoon and Manchester, the UK and European fans can all fly to the event and sell out this new arena?”

“I mean, it’s going to sell out regardless, mate”, Aspinall reiterated, adding that “we’re very lucky to have a pay-per-view event in Manchester” but that forcing the British audience and Mancs to watch something just down the road at a US-convenient time just doesn’t seem right.


There’s been plenty of backlash amongst MMA fans online too, with many stating that it simply goes to show that the UFC as an organisation “don’t care” about overseas supporters as much as they claim to.

Tom Aspinall isn’t the only one complaining about the UFC 304 start time.
Others have been less negative about it.
Aspinall has been having digs ever since the announcement.

Read more:

As the current interim heavyweight champion, Aspinall will be right up at the top of the billing for UFC 304, which is the first time the event has been in the UK full stop since 2016.

The promotion’s last British fight was here in Manchester too, on a night when local legend and adopted Manc Michael Bisping retained his middleweight championship belt against Dan Henderson.


We can only hope for similarly victorious scenes for the North West this July.

As for the shiny new venue, Co-op Live, after a fair few teething problems it looks like they are now on course to open just a week or so after the initial launch date. Not so bad.

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Featured Images — Tom Aspinall (via TikTok/Instagram)