May 21 2009 By Ben Spencer
A CAGEFIGHTER from Glasgow is to headline Scotland's biggest ever Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event.
Paul McVeigh, 26, of Hyndland, will fight Brazilian Marcelo Costa in front of 3000 fans at Edinburgh's Meadowbank Stadium this Saturday.
The Glasgow fighter, who is the Cage Warriors CWFC World Bantamweight Champion, will perform in front of the biggest crowd yet for an MMA event in Scotland.
But Paul, a personal trainer, insists he will not be overawed by the huge number of fans which he sees as a sign of the continuing surge in interest in the sport.
He said: "It will be a big crowd. I've fought in Japan in front of a similar-size crowd before but this will be the biggest yet in Scotland.
"I don't really get fazed by big crowds though. I've fought in front of a partisan crowd and got a good reaction from that, but equally I've fought in front of a negative crowd and reacted to that.
"Really the sport does seem to be just getting bigger and bigger here."
Paul is able to rely on a variety of fighting styles to defeat opponents including Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, submission wrestling and Muay Thai.
These allow him to tackle fighters while standing and on the floor.
Paul is ranked number one in Europe for his weight limit of 61kg and on Saturday will face Marcelo Costa, who is ranked fourth.
But Paul believes his opponent in the exhibition fight could actually turn out more dangerous than the men ranked second and third.
He said: "This is a prestige bout. The guy I'm fighting is the fourth best in Europe.
"He holds a black belt in JiuJitsu and knocked his last opponent out."
The Glasgow striker has been involved in the sport of MMA since 2002.
He told how some people's initial perceptions of cagefighting as a dangerous sport for thugs have changed as they became more knowledgeable about it.
He added: "I don't really get asked so much about the sport being dangerous. I think people are a lot more knowledgeable now and recognise it as a sport."
Paul also coaches MMA at The Griphouse Gym near St George's Cross. For more information visit www.thegriphouse.co.uk