This weekend, Columbus, Ohio will take center stage as the destination for some of the world’s top bodybuilders, athletes, and combat sports competitors, and Pro MMA Now will be there to cover the action.  In 1989, The Arnold Classic began as strictly a professional men’s bodybuilding competition lasting one day.  It has since expanded to become known as The Arnold Sports Festival, lasting four days and featuring numerous events from bodybuilding, fitness competitions, various martial arts competitions, and weightlifting, to name a few. Starting in 2007, the Arnold Sports Festival added a UFC event to the weekend’s festivities, and among the new offerings in 2010 – an amateur MMA festival.

The first amateur MMA event offered by The Arnold Sports Festival will feature nineteen fights showcasing some of the area’s best amateur talent. While the UFC is not returning to Columbus this year, Zuffa still has a defined presence with WEC 47: Bowles vs. Cruz. Weigh-ins for the WEC event will take place Friday night at 5:00 PM, followed by the amateur MMA festival at 7:30 PM.

From the Festival’s website:

With 44 sports and events, including 12 Olympic sports, the 2010 Arnold Sports Festival presents fitness and fun for all ages March 4-7. The festival has expanded into the world’s largest multi-sport fitness weekend since its 1989 beginning as The Arnold Classic as a one-day professional men’s bodybuilding competition.

About 170,000 sports fans are expected to see 18,000 athletes compete in a variety of more than 40 sports and events at five premier venues: the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Franklin County Veterans Memorial, LC Pavilion, Nationwide Arena and the Dispatch Ice Haus. At the popular three-day Arnold Fitness EXPO packed audiences enjoy 700 fitness-related booths and ongoing stage entertainment.

Many Arnold Sports Festival participants are youth competing in archery, boxing, cheerleading and dance, dancesport, fencing, figure skating, gymnastics, martial arts, skateboarding, table tennis, weightlifting and wrestling. Top student athletes compete for one of nine $2,000 college scholarships presented by the Columbus Rotary and the Arnold Sports Festival.

Full details on all the weekend’s event can be found here. Not going to be able to make it? Don’t worry, we have you covered.

Pro MMA Now’s Brian Furby, and Cageside Beat co-host Mike Menninger will be taking up residence in Columbus this weekend to bring you some excellent coverage of the weekend’s festivities.

Friday night, Brian and Mike will attend the WEC weigh-ins followed by the amateur MMA Festival. Updates on each of the events, along with pictures and fighter interviews, will follow tomorrow evening. Saturday, the guys will be attending the extremely popular Arnold Fitness Expo where 700 companies will have booths set up touting their new products and offering autograph sessions with various bodybuilding, fitness and MMA personalities. Expect to see some news about the hottest new MMA gear as well as interviews with some of today’s top fighters. Saturday evening, Brian and Mike will attend WEC 47: Bowles vs. Cruz, and provided round by round updates via Twitter on the night’s fights.

Be sure to check back on Pro MMA Now throughout the weekend for Brian and Mike’s updates on all the events, and follow their regular updates on twitter here and here.

By: Brian Furby

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