Jack Mason was one of several CWFC talents not approved by the SMMAF. | Claire Farrell/Sherdog.com
European mixed martial arts promotion Cage Warriors Fighting Championship has elected to move its Aug. 23 event from Stockholm to Amman, Jordan, on Aug. 22.
According to a release by the promotion, “the decision to move CWFC 71 from Sweden to Jordan has come as a result of the nonsensical refusal of the Swedish Mixed Martial Arts Federation to approve several bouts to be contested under full unified rules.”
CWFC submitted five bouts to the SMMAF for initial approval; of those five, only a featherweight clash between Martin Svensson and Dave Hill received permission to be contested. Four others -- Jack Hermansson vs. Cheick Kone, Pannie Kianzad vs. Alexandra Buch, Jack Mason vs. Jonatan Westin and Liam James vs. Frantz Slioa -- were denied approval.
The SMMAF issued a statement to the promotion explaining its decision, claiming that "the committee has found that several matches applied for by Cage Warriors have not made the required level." The federation also mentioned “unequal matching” and stated that the fighters lacked the experience to compete under the unified rules, according to the release.
The promotion claims that it complied with with SMMAF protocol, including allowing the CWFC 71 undercard bouts to be held with elbows and upkicks prohibited. According to the Cage Warriors release, there might have been some conflict of interest involved with the SMMAF’s pro committee, as one of its members is the current manager and coach of Svensson -- one of the only fighters approved for the event.
"Moving this event out of Sweden is a decision we really wanted to avoid, but because of the actions of the SMMAF, we have unfortunately been left with no choice in the matter," Cage Warriors CEO Graham Boylan said. "To ask our elite fighters, who are among the best in Europe and the world as a whole, to compete under a diluted set of rules to what they have been doing throughout their professional careers is an abhorrent insult to these outstanding athletes and their abilities.
"Jack Hermansson is our middleweight champion and Jack Mason is probably the most experienced fighter in the UK, but their respective bouts were not approved. It's absolutely absurd,” Boylan continued. "Suggesting that such fighters are not capable of competing under full unified rules is ludicrous beyond belief, and I would never even consider asking them to compete under anything other than full unified rules.
"The SMMAF have left us in an impossible and very sad situation here, and unfortunately our only option is to take our athletes elsewhere for this event."
Cage Warriors has not abandoned hopes to eventually hold its first event in Sweden, however.
“That will now have to wait slightly longer than we had initially hoped for, but I can assure our Swedish fans that it’ll be worth the wait when CWFC finally gets there,” Boylan said.