While some considered it a non-story that UFC President Dana White would announce that "Fight for the Troops" would be held at U.S. Army base Fort Bragg without getting confirmation from the Army, the plot now thickens. Spike TV has a press release that says the UFC's December 10th event "Fight for the Troops" will not be held on Fort Bragg:
Spike TV will telecast "UFC Fight For The Troops" live from the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, NC on Wednesday, December 10 from 9:00 PM – Midnight, ET. The event will feature a full UFC fight card as well as celebrity appearances and an all-star lineup of UFC fighters. A phone bank in Los Angeles will also be created where donors can interact with the celebrities and UFC fighters answering phones. Further details on appearances and event information will be released soon.
The UFC will not return my emails, so I can't confirm anything until I have word from any of their representative, but it appears awfully strange that the UFC and Spike TV aren't on the same page regarding where this event is to be held (the UFC press release still says the event will be at Fort Bragg).
Stay tuned for updates.
UPDATE: I spoke with David Schwarz, Vice President of Communications at Spike TV this afternoon. He confirms that "Fight for the Troops" will NOT be at Fort Bragg. He confirms the event will be at the Crown Coliseum and that the troops from Bragg will be bused there to fill the stands. Good move on the UFC's part.
Here's where the story gets interesting: Schwarz says the switch from Bragg to the local venue out in town was due to capacity. I'm paraphrasing here, but he claims there wasn't a venue that had enough space for the UFC's tastes. I'm not sure how large a venue has to be for a venture like UFC Fight Night, but Spike's story is that nothing shady went on. They simply decided to switch to a larger venue to make room for a larger show and accomodate everyone.
As for my original reporting, I obviously need to follow up with the officials at Bragg, but the information from Army officials at Bragg that I have is markedly different. I was told that the Department of the Army hadn't signed off on it yet and that while the official request had been made, nothing had been approved. Schwartz contends than the Army signed off on the original release with Fort Bragg mentioned as the location, so needless to say this is all very confusing.
So, I will do my part and follow up with the officials at Bragg, but once again, UFC "Fight for the Troops" will no longer be held at Fort Bragg.