Horn, Clementi File Protests in Sweden; Bielkheden to Appeal Suspension

By Ryan O’Leary May 6, 2011
The Swedish Mixed Martial Arts Federation will meet May 16 to examine and rule on the protests filed by American fighters Jeremy Horn (Pictured; file photo) and Rich Clementi regarding their losses at Superior Challenge 7 on April 30.

Both fighters competed in closely contested title bouts at the event, which emanated from Hovet in Stockholm, Sweden. Horn fell to fellow UFC vet Thales Leites by split decision, while Clementi was on the short end of a unanimous verdict following his three-round affair with Reza Madadi.

George Sallfeldt, the newly elected SMMAF chairman, announced on Wednesday that the two fighters had filed protests and provided a written statement, stating that the SMMAF “must take all the protests very seriously and deal with them.”

Of special note is Clementi's fight, which was reportedly scored a draw by all three ringside judges. However, in compliance with SMMAF’s professional rules, the judges were forced to pick a winner in the title bout. In what could be viewed as a conflict of interest, a previous training partner of Madadi's, Bobby Rehman, served as a ringside judge for the lightweight title affair.

“I have in recent days received much criticism, both from media and foreign athletes, that our judges are too closely associated with the Swedish athletes. This may be a structural problem that we now take a look at. I promise to come back with conclusions on the issue when an investigation has been carried out,” wrote Sallfeldt.

Following these statements, Sallfeldt told Sherdog that “in the future, we will not have judges affiliated with a fighter in any way judge fights.” Looking to make all actions of the federation “completely transparent,” Sallfeldt went on to assert that he would like to have judges' names and their scorecards announced after bouts at future events.

Scorecards for both bouts are expected to be released shortly.

In an unrelated matter, Swedish welterweight David Bielkheden will appeal a two-year suspension handed down by the Doping Tribunal (Dopingnämnden) on April 29.

Bielkheden initially tested positive for methylhexaneamine, a stimulant often used as a nasal decongestant, following his October defeat at Superior Challenge 6. The fighter found out about his positive test by mail when he returned from a trip from Canada shortly after the bout. He then paid out of pocket to have his “B” sample tested in hopes that a different result would be found. That was not the case, as Bielkheden found out in December that his second screen was also flagged for the banned substance, which was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's prohibited list in 2009.

The former UFC and Pride fighter calls this a case of “accidental doping” and has pointed to a nasal spray he took a few weeks prior to the bout or food supplements as the probable cause of this substance showing up in tests.

In a statement to his fans on his blog, Bielkheden asserts that he had cooperated with the Swedish Doping Tribunal and had been given the go-ahead to fight at Superior Challenge 7 on three separate occasions. Bielkheden was reportedly told the tribunal would hand down judgment for his positive test during the first week of May. However, his punishment was delivered a bit sooner than expected.

The day before Bielkheden was scheduled to fight Yuya Shirai at the event, the tribunal informed him that he was suspended for two years, effective immediately, which did not allow him to compete at the April 30 event.

Additionally, Bielkheden’s October loss to Daniel Acacio was changed to a disqualification to reflect the Swede’s positive test.

Bielkheden has three weeks to file a formal appeal against the two-year ban, which includes both competition in Sweden and training in any of the officially recognized clubs.

"The punishment I have been awarded is far too long,” he wrote. “I will spend all my energy, time and money to contest this decision and get this sentence shortened.”

Mike Whitman contributed to this report.
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