CAGE fighter Andy Ogle has become the only Briton to make it into 0the final 16 of a reality TV show watched by millions of Americans each week.
The 23-year-old has swapped his parents’ North East home for the bright lights of Las Vegas, where he will spend the next three months living in a Big Brother-style house.
Mixed martial arts (MMA) show The Ultimate Fighter Live airs each Friday on American TV-channel FX and is also being shown in the UK on ESPN.
Andy, a former sports science student from Sunderland University, was one of 32 fighters selected from 350 to take part in trials for the show in December.
The featherweight European champion is now the only UK fighter among the Americans, Mexicans and Brazilians in the running for a six-figure contract.
While in the house, Andy, who trains in Fulwell, will fight it out with other contestants chosen by telephone votes from the estimated 22million viewers in America, until just one man remains to be crowned the Ultimate Fighter.
His mum Jan, 50, a nurse, said: “We are so proud of him.
“He works so hard.
“He trains every single day for six or seven hours. He doesn’t smoke or drink.
“I’m actually bursting with pride.
“His dad works away, but I try to get to all of his fights. I’m nervous for him but he is so skilled.
She added: “People misunderstand the sport in England. It’s not really blood and gore.
“They are actually top athletes and have the skills to match.”
Andy started out aged seven and is now a professional MMA fighter.
He trains with Section 18 in Station Road.
The final of The Ultimate Fighter Live will be broadcast on Friday, June 1.