MMA: Question marks linger on global tour of top superstars

ORGANISERS of a purported global tour involving three mixed martial arts superstars have declined to address allegations by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) that the entire event was "false advertising".

After news broke last week that Jon Jones, Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre would showcase their talents in 11 cities worldwide, the UFC clarified that the trio - who are under contract to them - were not involved in the tour and advised fans against buying tickets.

The Fighters World Tour, which was due to include a stopover in Singapore on May 31, is sponsored by Nike and promoted in Asia by LAMC Productions, Ch'i Life Studio Asia and Rockstar Touring.

In a statement on Friday evening to The Straits Times, organisers of the Singapore leg said: "Out of respect for all involved parties, we are not going to make any further comment at this time. We want to strongly reassure everyone that LAMC Productions, Rockstar Touring and Ch'i Life Studio Asia have stellar reputations in creating memorable events for our fans and followers. We thank you for your patience and understanding."

They declined to comment on the status of the Singapore leg, slated to be held at the Marina Bay Sands' ArtScience Museum. Fans were expected to fork out $888 for a two-hour, hands-on training clinic or $128 for a meet-and-greet session.

The tickets did not go on sale on Wednesday as was announced, even as online sale already commenced for the Hong Kong leg on May 17.

In an e-mail reply to The Straits Times on Friday, Silva's manager Ed Soares confirmed UFC's position: "Anderson will not be a part of this (tour)."

St-Pierre also retweeted a UFC post reiterating that the fighters were unaware of the tour, which was scheduled to start in Paris on May 5 and end in Manila on June 7.

LAMC is well-known in the regional concert circuit, bringing top musical acts like Justin Bieber, Metallica and Stereophonics, as well as comedians Chris Tucker and Russell Peters to Singapore, Jakarta and Hong Kong.

Nike and UFC have previously been at loggerheads, as the MMA organisation has reportedly insisted on charging a fee to businesses who want to sponsor their fighters.

Brazil's Silva and New York native Jones are both sponsored by Nike, while Canadian St-Pierre is inked to rival brand Under Armour.