Tom Aspinall shut down by UFC officials ahead of UFC 304

Tom Aspinall tried to get the UFC 304 start time changed to accommodate the British fans.
Tom Aspinall
Tom Aspinall / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

UFC interim heavyweight champion Tom Aspinall has been campaigning hard for the UFC to change the start time for UFC 304 in order to accommodate the in-person fans. When the event was announced for Manchester, England it was clear pretty quickly that fans in Manchester would be up all night for a main card that would not start until 3 a.m. local time.

After doing several interviews about how upset he was by the news, he says he actually reached out to try to convince the higher-ups to rethink the broadcast time. It did not go well.

“No apologies,” Aspinall said in a recent interview. “I don’t expect an apology either, this is the UFC we’re dealing with. I just kind of put the feelers out there a little bit, to see like, this is a bit of a sh**ter for me and the other fighters and the U.K. fans who want to come watch it live. The thing is, I’ve got all kinds of friends coming. I was with my friend today and he was saying, he’s got childcare for the night, but obviously the show is going to finish at 6 a.m. So he’s essentially going to have to stay up all night and then he’s only got childcare until, like, 9 a.m., so he’s going to get literally an hour or two of sleep in there. Just stuff like that."

Tom Aspinall says the UFC 'just straight-up ' said no about UFC 304 time change

He continued, “I was putting the feelers out, ‘Listen, is there any chance we can switch that?’ And they were just like, ‘Nope. Absolutely not.’ ... There was no play on that at all. Just straight-up, no, that was it.”

According to Leon Edwards, who is headlining the card, the reason for the timing is due to the card initially being scheduled for Salt Lake City, Utah and the broadcast schedule already being set.

"I think they said the PPV was already booked for Utah, right? And then they ... so the slot was already booked in, so when they changed it to Manchester they couldn't change also the time with the TV station and that's the reason why it's staying on that time I think. It is what it is," he said.

The UFC 304 card is still getting made, but here's what's been announced so far:

  • Welterweight title fight: Leon Edwards vs. Belal Muhammad 2
  • Interim heavyweight title fight: Tom Aspinall vs. Curtis Blaydes 2
  • Arnold Allen vs. Giga Chikadze
  • Muhammad Mokaev vs. Manel Kape
  • Bobby Green vs. Paddy Pimblett
  • Nathaniel Wood vs. Daniel Pineda
  • Oban Elliott vs. Preston Parsons
  • Shauna Bannon vs. Ravena Oliveira
  • Bruna Brasil vs. Molly McCann
  • Caolan Loughran vs. Ramon Taveras
  • Lukasz Brzeski vs. Mick Parkin
  • Christian Leroy Duncan vs. Robert Bryczek

UFC 304 takes place on Saturday, July 27 at the new Co-op Live. The first fight kicks off at 6 p.m. ET, which is the normal time for a UFC PPV in the United States.

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