MIXED martial arts (MMA) superstars Jon Jones, Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre are unlikely to be coming to Singapore after all, after organisers LAMC Productions and Ch'i Life Studio Asia announced that they are distancing themselves from the event.
"Due to circumstances beyond our control, we will not be promoting this event," they said in a joint statement to The Straits Times. "Should there be an event taking place, we will no longer be involved."
The statement is the latest in a series of twists concerning the Fighters World Tour, an 11-city global tour of which the Singapore event was to be a part. The three MMA superstars were scheduled to be in town on May 31 for a two-hour, hands-on training clinic, as well as a meet-and-greet fan session at the Marina Bay Sands' ArtScience Museum.
But it seems their latest promotion was no-go from the start, with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the sport's biggest promoter, referring to the event as "false advertising". Nike also responded on Sunday to a Straits Times query, saying that it had neither "been approached nor is even aware of a global, multi-city tour" involving the MMA trio.
In an e-mail reply to The Straits Times last Friday, Silva's manager Ed Soares confirmed UFC's position, stating: "Anderson will not be a part of this (tour). It seems his name was wrongly attached."
St-Pierre also retweeted a UFC post reiterating that the fighters were unaware of the world tour, which was scheduled to start in Paris on May 5 and end in Manila on June 7.
Despite these denials, LAMC stood by its original press release, which said the tour was sponsored by Nike, and insisted that the sports apparel giant would be issuing a statement to address the UFC's allegations.
Nike sponsors Brazil's Silva and New York native Jones, who retained the UFC light-heavyweight title in a decisive win over Glover Teixeira on Saturday. Canadian St-Pierre is inked to rival brand Under Armour.
Fans in Singapore were expected to fork out $888 for the training clinic or $128 for the meet-and-greet session. The tickets did not go on sale last Wednesday as was announced.