HUDDERSFIELD hardman Andy Farrell guarded a valuable asset after a top cage fighting event this month.
The former British and European Grappling Champion was the personal bodyguard for the star attraction of UFC 105, Randy ‘The Natural’ Couture.
He was part of the 10-man entourage for the cage fighter – who attracted thousands of fans to an ultimate fighting event held in Manchester.Couture is an American who is the biggest name in the sport.
Mr Farrell, of Milnsbridge, looked after the 6ft 2ins heavyweight the day after his win over Brandon Vera.
The 46-year-old fighter and movie star was greeting fans at a Manchester book signing to launch his New York Times bestseller Becoming The Natural in the UK.
Mr Farrell’s security role comes only weeks after Rawthorpe boxing coach Mark Reynolds was part of a team guarding boxing icon Mike Tyson.
Mr Farrell said: “It’s ironic that Randy needs security, but he’s one person by himself in a country he doesn’t know. All it takes is one fan getting too close. I looked after him all day along with 10 other security guys.It was an honour for me because I do mixed martial arts (MMA) as well.”
Mr Farrell, who runs a mixed martial arts class in Milnsbridge, said there was no trouble and Couture had been a genuine nice guy. “He is just like he is as you see him on screen – placid, mild-mannered and very polite.
“He did a two-and-a-half hour book signing the day after a three round fight and was as accommodating to the last fan as he was the first.
“The place went crazy when Randy walked out. The guy is a legend in MMA .
Mr Farrell said he hoped to work with the UFC legend again if he ever returns to the UK.
He added: “He told me about the film he’s just made with Sylvester Stallone, The Expendables, that he’s just finished filming.
Heavyweight Couture has already starred in martial arts film Cradle 2 the Grave and The Scorpion King 2, an action movie from the makers of The Mummy.
Mr Farrell is in training for a “couple of high profile fights” next year. He also co-runs a Huddersfield based martial arts resource called Fightkit. Anyone wanting to train with him can go to his MMA class on Thursdays at 6.30pm at The Gym on Britannia Road in Milnsbridge.
Cage fighting is one of the world’s fastest growing sports.
Cage fighters use a combination of mixed martial arts (MMA) including jiu-jitsu, judo, karate, boxing, kickboxing and wrestling.
Fighters battle in an octagonal fenced ring for up to five five-minute rounds.
Biting, butting and gouging are not allowed but most other moves are legal.
Many of its fighters have also featured in Hollywood movies.
Huddersfield is the base for a number of England’s top cage fighters including Dave and Ian Butlin and Andy Farrell.