DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines is making way for more and more events as COVID restrictions finally ease up across the country.
This Friday, mixed martial arts, or MMA, fighting is coming to Wells Fargo Arena. Xtreme Fighting Championships fighters will take the hectogon at 6 p.m. Friday.
Iowa City-native Ali Omar is one of the fighters and told Local 5's Lakyn McGee that MMA is starting to gain a lot of traction in the state.
"You know, MMA is a growing sport. It’s the fastest-growing sport in the world. It’s just hit globally. I think it’s growing and it’s growing out here in Iowa," he said.
XFC President Myron Molotky said the roster consists of 185 fighters from 35 countries.
“We’re starting to see more and more athletes from Iowa show up in the MMA scene," said Molotky. "And they’ve had some great ones in the past. Jeremy Stephens, Iowa. Josh Neer, Iowa. And, of course, the great Pat Miletich, Iowa.”
XFC has been around since 2006.
Andre Soukhmathath, the main event fighter, told Local 5 Des Moines is a great place to host fights.
"Iowa is a big state for wrestling. I already know Iowa will produce a lot of MMA fighters if those wrestlers decide to transition to MMA," said Soukhmathath.