Randy Couture headlines AFC's first outdoor event

The AFC season ends Saturday with an epic closing ceremony that will feature Anchorage's first outdoor mixed martial arts fights and an appearance by a UFC legend.

The AFC's Land of the Midnight Sun 1 will bring Randy "The Natural" Couture and a full slate of fights to the Chilkoot Charlie's parking lot.

Couture will meet with fans from 4-6 p.m., with the first fight scheduled for 6 p.m. Fight promoter Sarah Lorimer is hopeful the event is popular enough to become the AFC's annual season-closer.

"We've been wanting to do it for the last few years, just because Koots has had outdoor shows before," shesaid. "We've (thought), 'Wouldn't it be cool to do an outdoor fight?' "

To keep fighters safe from the elements, the octagon will be under a tent.

"The cage is tented and the stands are tented," Lorimer said. "The cage has to be tented. Even one little drop (of rain), and it's dangerous for the fighters."

In the main events, Chris Johnson and Joe Fonoit will meet for the light heavyweight championship, and Victor Rodrigez will take on Johnny Tauton in a 140-pound match.

The night's biggest draw, however, is likely to be a guy who isn't even fighting.

Couture, who turns 51 later this month, is one of the most dominating fighters in UFC history. He's the winner of an unprecedented five titles, three in the heavyweight division and two in the light heavyweight division.

Lorimer said it took "a little bit of work -- and money" to get Couture to Anchorage, but she was motivated to bring him here.

Couture was in town earlier this year with Elvis Monroe -- a band he sings for -- and while he was here he attended an AFC event at Sullivan Arena, Lorimer said.

"He just showed up, and fans were upset because we didn't have a meet-and-greet with him, but you have to pay for that," she said. "He was so awesome and gracious with everyone -- that's why I wanted to bring him up."

Since his retirement from fighting, Couture has earned fame in action movies, particularly "The Expendables" series. Lorimer said she expects many in Saturday's crowd to know his movies as well as they know his MMA resume.

"I know of him because he's a UFC legend," she said, "but others see him as Randy Couture that's in 'The Expendables."

The all-ages show will have alcohol and alcohol-free seating areas. Tickets are $25 and $50 in advance, $30 and $55 at the door, and include admission to an Elvis Monroe post-fight concert, where fans might get to see another side of Couture.

Parking will be available nearby at Romig Middle School.


Anchorage Daily News