matt hamillWe’re headed to Columbus, Ohio this week to attend (and report from) UFC 96. Although the fights will be the height of excitement, there is plenty else set to take place both before and after Saturday night.

Dan Stupp of Dayton Daily News reports the following festivity details…

Arnold Sports Festival (Friday-Sunday): The three-day event takes place at the Greater Columbus Convention Center and Nationwide Arena with competitions and exhibitions in everything from boxing to powerlifting to bodybuilding to gymnastics. Go to www.arnoldsportsfestival.com for more info.

• UFC Fight Club Q&A with UFC champ Frank Mir (Friday): 2 to 3 p.m. at Nationwide Arena. Entry requires paid membership to the UFC’s fan club.

• UFC 96 weigh-ins (Friday): 3 to 5 p.m. at Nationwide Arena. Free and open to the public.

American Fighter pre-party, hosted by Rich Franklin (Friday): Cincinnati native Franklin plays host to a pre-party at Club Mynt (445 N. High St. in Columbus) to benefit his Keep it in the Ring nonprofit organization. Numerous MMA celebrities are expected to attend. Starts at 7 p.m. with a $10 cover charge (21 and older).

Rich Franklin autograph signing (Saturday): 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Arnold Sports Festival’s American Fighter/Starchem supplement booth.

UFC 96 (Saturday): Doors open at 7:30 p.m., first bout starts at 8:05 p.m., and main card (PPV) begins at 10 p.m.

Matt Hamill autograph signing (Sunday): 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Arnold Sports Festival’s American Fighter/Starchem supplement booth.