Alnwick Castle is best known as the castle where they filmed most of the Hogwarts crap in the Harry Potter series of films. While there’s no quidditch field, there’s apparently room in there for a steel cage. And fortunately for us MMA fans, the ‘gloriously eccentric’ Duchess of Northumberland who runs the place is down with letting the place be used for mixed martial arts:
“I’d have failed here if this was just a garden for garden-lovers,” the Duchess tells me. “My job is to provide a venue for people who want to do all kinds of things. And this is for 16- to 30-year-old men who wouldn’t normally come to a garden.
“You’ve got a community on your doorstep who don’t have enough to do on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night. They’re crying out for things like this. I want to blow people away, to take them out of their everyday life, to come in here and think, ‘Shit, that’s unbelievable.’ ”
Yeah! Potty mouth duchess!
The Duchess, who has been boxing for years as well as learning to fight with sticks, has seen cage fighting only on television, but she has some strong views about its merits. “Have you seen Alex Reid – Jordan’s guy?” she asks. “Well, it’s that. Boxing. A bit of kick-boxing. All sorts of martial arts but within a cage.
“You’re not just given a knuckle-duster and told to kill your opponent. There’s an art to it. It’s incredibly disciplined. And that discipline is the same thing you get in the Army.
“It’s too easy for someone in London to say, ‘Typical, off she goes again with her cage fighting.’ But let them come to the North East. They don’t understand the communities up here. We have our own problems and we deal with them our own way.”
What a creepy way to sum it up. “It’s fuckin’ depressing up here. So we’re gonna beat the shit out of each other and in the end it’ll all be okay.”