By Oliver Farrimond
A HISTORIC cage fighting showcase pitting Scotland against England has been put on hold – because of a bout of “man flu”.
The Ultimate Fighting event – dubbed “The Auld Enemy” – was billed as a brutal contest for bragging rights between the nations’ top 12 mixed martial arts fighters.
But according to the Scottish company promoting the battle, Team Munro, “man-flu” in the ranks of the hard-as-nails combatants has seen the event postponed until at least December.
Scottish promoter Bob Munro said: “The fight has been held back because of a flu epidemic in the team camp.
“They’re battling through it, but one of the fighters has a serious bout of ‘man flu’, which is amusing considering they’re supposed to be tough fighters.
“Four of them train in the same gym so they must have infected each other.”
The Auld Enemy, also dubbed “Bannockburn: Part II”, was set to feature a stirring rendition of “Flower of Scotland” by Corries star Ronnie Browne.
The event was planned to take place this Saturday at Meadowbank Stadium in Edinburgh, but organisers are now aiming to stage the face-off in December.
However English promoter Barry Ahmed denied that “man-flu” was to blame for the setback, instead citing “missed deadlines” as the reason for the delay.
Mr Ahmed, who runs the Wearside-based fighting company Kudegra, said: “I really wish it was that simple.
“If that was the case we would have just replaced the ill fighters and put someone else on the card.
“The fight was cancelled due to internal stuff which I can’t comment on – it’s a delicate situation and I don’t want to fuel any flames.
“We hope to return to Scotland in December as we were scuppered by quite a unique set of circumstances.
“The people who have got tickets have been given a range of options, including a full refund, and they are of course transferable to our next fight.
“I don’t know how many tickets were sold – it wasn’t a sell-out but it was looking good.”
The “man-flu” claim has also been refuted by cage fighter James “The Nightmare” Mair, from Woodburn in Dalkeith, who claims that he has heard nothing of the illness despite being in touch with many of the fighters.
He said: “I know most of the guys on the card.
“Everybody was prepared and ready to fight for the fans who have bought their tickets.
“The message I received was that they had outsourced part of the business to other companies which failed to meet their deadlines.
“I don’t know anything more beyond that.
“I feel sorry for the other fighters who have trained really hard and won’t have anything to show for it.
“I’m sure they will console themselves with a drink, a decent dinner and all of the other things you miss out on when you’re training for a big match like this.”