“We’re just trying something new,” said Scott Morgan, the manager of Blarney’s. He said he doesn’t get a lot of requests to view UFC fights on the TVs at Blarney’s, but this was something he wanted to try so he could see how it goes over with local sports fans.
Morgan said he hopes bringing Madsen, a Doland native and former South Dakota State University wrestling standout, will increase attendance at tonight’s event.
Madsen won an NCAA Division II national title with the Jackrabbits as a freshman. After college, he was introduced to Dave Martin, a sports agent with Ultimate Pros in Sioux Falls. Martin helped find Madsen a place to train, which eventually led to a slot on The Ultimate Fighter, a reality series on Spike TV.
The premier of the 10th season of the show, which focuses on heavyweights, airs tonight after UFC Fight Night 19. Both will be shown at Blarney’s.
Simpson, who is 6-0 in his mixed martial arts career, picked up his last win against Ed Herman on Aug. 29.
“Jon Madsen is starring in a new TV show and there’s a big fight on Spike TV,” Morgan said. “We’re just trying to bring something a little different to town that hopefully people enjoy.”
An autograph session with the fighters will be from 6 to 6:30 p.m. There will be a question and answer session from 6:30 to 7 p.m. and the UFC Fight Night starts at 7 p.m. There is no cover charge and Blarney’s will offer food and drink specials throughout the night.
“We want people to come out and have a good time,” Morgan said. “Come and meet the fighters.”