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UFC 118 has grand appeal in Boston

Local ties create large fan base for mixed martial arts

Updated: August 27, 2010, 1:51 PM ET
By Jeff Wagenheim | Special to ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- He grew up a boxing fan, and as a young man spent many a sweaty hour training to be a fighter.

When he wasn't throwing leather in the gym, he worked a straight job at the Boston Harbor Hotel. Over time he became a fan of a different form of hand-to-hand combat, one seen on the occasional pay-per-view cable telecast but little known to mainstream sports followers. His burgeoning interest led him to meet several of these mixed martial artists, and he began managing some. Eventually ...

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