Irish pushing UFC growth

Upwards of 3,000 Irish disciples are descending on Las Vegas for Saturday night's reshuffled UFC 189 show, where Conor McGregor (pictured) will fight Chad Mendes for the interim featherweight title. Gate records and pay-per-view numbers will likely fall in the Dubliner's wake.

The frenzied seven-day carnival of cage-fighting has been billed as the organisation's international fight week and Gary Cook, former Manchester City chairman who is now one of the key executives at the UFC, explained why one nation, more than the rest, is guiding the UFC's way forward.

"When it comes to Ireland, it's almost built into the culture," Cook said. "They're historically renowned for it in boxing, or wherever you go along the landscape of combat - and the diaspora is 80-90 million."