MMA Odds and Ends for Monday: Swedish MMA Federation Overhauled

Cage Warriors 71Earlier this week, Cage Warriors was forced to reschedule their planned August 23rd date in Stockholm, Sweden. Cage Warriors 71 will now take place at the King Hussein Youth City Boxing Arena in Amman, Jordan one day earlier. The move was forced because the pro committee of the Swedish Mixed Martial Arts Federation refused to fully sanction four of the five proposed main card bouts, deeming them either uncompetitive or claiming the participants lacked enough experience to compete under the unified rules of MMA. Had the SMMAF read our mid-year review of MMA betting in 2014, they would have known that in reality Cage Warriors has seen the highest proportion of upsets in any MMA promotion thus far this year, a pretty good indicator of consistently even matchmaking. Instead, the federation lost a great deal of favor with Europe’s largest MMA promotion and generally soured the MMA community to its usefulness. On Sunday, the other shoe dropped as the pro committee of the SMMAF was completely disbanded. It is planned to be rebuilt with a new cast of members and new criteria by the fall, so that this sort of conflict doesn’t arise again. Despite this situation, Cage Warriors CEO Graham Boylan was quoted as saying: “Our first event in Denmark was a huge success last March and I have no doubt that the same would have been the case in Sweden on August 23. 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. The actions of the SMMAF have set a worrying precedent for MMA in Sweden, but this has not deterred us at all. Between fighters and fans, Sweden has played a major role in the growth of Cage Warriors and I have no doubt that it will continue to do so.” While this will likely not affect events the UFC plans to hold in Sweden, it could make it easier for domestic organizations and other European promotions to put cards together to grow the sport in the region. However, until the new committee is named and guidelines are drawn up, cautious optimism is the best approach. In more positive news, UFC middleweight contender Lyoto Machida announced that he expects to return to action in late October, and the scheduled UFC 179 card in Brazil or anything later in the year would be a fit for the former champion. Machida is hoping to work back to a title shot as quickly as possible. Given options of the three other middleweights in the top 15 whom he has not already fought and do not have a fight currently scheduled (Luke Rockhold, C.B. Dollaway, and Costas Philippou), Machida favored a bout with Rockhold. UFC 179 already has its top two slots booked, so perhaps Machida will be saved for the UFC Fight Night 54 card two weeks later which will be held in Uberlandia, Brazil. A bout with Rockhold would certainly be worthy of main event status for a fight night, and realistically, any Machida bout is capable of topping the card of a Fox Sports 1 (or UFC Fight Pass) show. This will likely be a scenario where Joe Silva abandons his usual losers-versus-losers matchmaking, as in order to find Machida an opponent coming off a loss, he’d have to look rather far down the middleweight ladder. That could mean fans are in store for an excellent Machida/Rockhold showdown.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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