Florian will boost tourism

When
UFC star Kenny Florian comes here next month for two seminars, it will be with
the full blessing of the Department of Tourism.

Lightweight
king Florian is being brought over from Boston by karate instructor Bob Daigle
in what will be the first of a number of great UFC fighters visiting Cayman to
promote mixed martial arts here and to give sports tourism a boost.

The
seminars are on 12 June and most of the places have already gone, snapped up by
non-fighters who just want to learn the basics about the fastest growing sport
in the world.

“Around
three-quarters of those who have signed up are the general public, people who
love watching mixed martial arts and actually want to get involved,” said
Daigle. “I encourage anyone interested in attending the seminars to come
forward because this is a unique opportunity.” The Depart of Tourism certainly
thinks so too.

Shomari
Scott, acting director of tourism, said: “At a time when some traditional
tourism trends are in decline, sports tourism is flourishing and is set to grow
exponentially in the next decade. Having recently hosted several hugely
successful sporting events, the Cayman Islands are earning a reputation as an
emerging destination for major sporting events. 

“Many
of these events have the potential to deliver much needed direct and indirect
benefits and as such, the department of tourism is always willing to welcome
the visiting sportsmen and women; as well as their families, friends and
supporters to the Island. We are particularly pleased to welcome Kenny Florian
to our shores and look forward to what promises to be an interesting and
successful seminar.”

Florian
will also have a meet and greet session at Aqua Beach restuarant on West Bar
Road. Jason Moir, manager there, said: “Aqua Beach is really excited to have
someone of Kenny’s calibre visiting us. I’m a big MMA fan. He is not just any
UFC fighter but one of the best in the world. If Bob gets him down, then a
bunch of other fighters are likely to come here to enjoy themselves. Hopefully,
coming here will turn into a regular place for them.

“I
hope that people signing up for the seminars realise that they’re getting one
of the top practitioners. He’s also one of the best practitioners of Brazilian
jiu-jitsu in his weight class.

“Aqua
Beach was voted the best place to watch MMA in Cayman by a company in American
but it’s not just fantastic for us. This will open doors. Hopefully, other
athletes will be attracted to coming here and generate more income for sports
tourism.”

Florian,
who challenged BJ Penn for the world title last year, is excited too about
visiting Cayman for the first time and getting away from chilly Boston for a
few days. He will be available for one hour to fans prior to the pay-per-view
event UFC 115 Chuck ‘Iceman’ Liddle against Rich Franklin at Aqua Beach on 12
June.

“It’s
going to be great, very exciting,” Florian said. “I’m really looking forward to
it. I don’t know too much about Cayman but I do know it’s beautiful and I’m
looking forward to the response and sharing my knowledge with MMA fans there.
I’ll be checking out the island, relaxing and going to the beach.

“MMA
has grown a lot but it isn’t completely mainstream yet. The UFC is doing its
part in making the sport progress. Having MMA Live on ESPN has helped it grow
in huge leaps.”

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For more information on the Florian seminars, go to: [email protected] and
www.caymanmma.ning.com or ring: 916-0227.

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