UCMMA Declares Independence From SAFE MMA

It emerged today that following several non-SAFE MMA sanctioned bouts taking place at UCMMA 35 at the start of this month and SAFE MMA’s resulting sanctions, that UCMMA has withdrawn from the panel and will no longer submit to SAFE MMA oversight.

I have included releases from both UCMMA and SAFE MMA at the foot of this article in the interests of allowing both sides to get their stories across, however what follows immediately below is my two pence worth from the sidelines.

My View
(As if anyone cares, but I feel it is important to separate this from the official releases included below)

Basically what this boils down to is UCMMA not being willing to live up to their side of the SAFE MMA agreement. All they and their fighters had to do was to make sure that blood samples, from within the six month time frame were submitted.

They failed to do this. That is as much the fighter’s fault, as it’s not so fucking hard to set a calendar reminder on your phone saying ‘need new bloods taken by this date or cannot fight in UK’. However, it’s incumbent in UCMMA, as a signatory to SAFE MMA to at least check that their fighters have submitted valid bloods, if only to protect their own card.

What really went wrong after this slip, was that UCMMA let the offending bouts go ahead, basically saying ‘its too late, they’ve trained, they’ve sold tickets…’

It is also a mealy mouthed way of saying ‘we’ll lose money and look like two different kinds of dick.’

As if to stick a middle finger up to SAFE MMA, UCMMA then added another fight that SAFE MMA had neither sanctioned or even been informed of.

Classy. Try pulling that shit with an Athletic Commission over in the US, or even Sweden.

SAFE MMA then acted exactly as they said they would in their published constitution and fixed to ban fighters and promotion for a set period.

UCMMA of course threw the toys out of the pram, resigned and make some half assed story about not being able to be part of SAFE MMA out of concern for fighter’s livelihoods.

Are you telling me, that performers on a regional UK show derive their main income from fighting?

Bullshit.

At this level, you train because you want to and any purse you get from fights will likely barely cover your travel expenses or maybe some new gear. It’s not going to feed you for three months. That is a sucky state of affairs, it’s true and I wish it weren’t so, but it is.

If you’re someone who only fights in the UK, chances are you’re day job – whether its entirely unrelated or you’re lucky enough to get to be in and around them all day – is what pays you’re rent and food and gym memberships.

If you can take more lucrative bookings overseas, then a SAFE MMA ban isn’t going to affect you much. It will just stop you competing in credible UK organisations until you learn to fulfil your responsibilities.

For Dave O’Donnell to admit culpability on one hand, then try and make SAFE MMA look unreasonable, indeed UNCARING towards fighters is hypocritical and laughable in the extreme.

Basically, UCMMA liked the positive publicity when it wasn’t compelling them to do anything proactive, like pull a fight or amend their usual poking practise in any way.

Of course, this is the promotion who regularly books appalling mismatches, who attempted to ‘revolutionise’ MMA with the genius idea that was ‘Ultimate Ball’ and generally seem most immured in the lads culture, lowest common denominator aesthetic that puts me in mind of nothing more than 1980s Darts broadcasts or World of Sport pro wrestling.

UCMMA are NOT the future of UKMMA, hell they’re not even the present. They are a throwback, revelling in the fading glory of Cage Rage and promoting every negative stereotype that most credible MMA organisations are trying to get away from.

Could the whole thing have been handled a bit better by SAFE MMA? Yes, probably it could. Perhaps an official note to promoters a week, ten days or even a fortnight before fight time if any of their fighters remain uncleared?

On the day if weigh ins IS a bit late, but then perhaps they just assumed that the fighter was a grown up and was going to submit a valid sample?

Just my thoughts. Read the below statements and make up your own mind.

Today’s UCMMA Press Release

(Friday 16th August 2013 – London, UK) Dave O’Donnell – It has been a long hard struggle with Safe MMA which I have backed all the way, but I have never seen goalposts moved so much. I personally have helped fighters pay by giving free tickets for those who cannot afford costs which is a massive struggle for most young fighters.

Cage Rage and UCMMA have always operated to the highest safety standards with an exemplary record and have been an example to other promotions across Europe. One could argue that Cage Rage in fact, set the standard.

Under the safe MMA banner I was getting more complaints than ever saying calls were not being returned, web sites going down and it was difficult for fighters to proceed with the necessary checks. Operating away from Safe MMA will alleviate these issues and mean that fighters will ‘fight safe’ with lower costs and easier logistics.

On UCMMA 35 Przmyslaw Mysiala meds where out of date but this was told to us on day of weigh in both fighter’s had trained for 10 weeks paid all ticket money ECT so for me to cancel the fight would have been a saving for me but anyone who knows me knows fighters always come first and Kingslow and his management did not want to cancel fight, they were happy to fight Misiek without his Safe MMA so The fight went ahead. I have today heard that Safe MMA wish to ban Mysiala for one year because of this situation and I know he has a family with mouths to feed I do not agree with this so for this reason myself and UCMMA will NOT be supporting SAFE MMA and have removed our self from the panel.

I work hard with gyms around the UK and pushed to have gyms sign up for free but I was out voted most fighters and gyms do this for the love of sport and scrape a living but enjoy what they do.

I will continue to run blood test for fighters and make it a safe environment as I have always done and I will ban fighters when they do wrong as I have always done but I will NOT stop fighters and gyms earning a living, long live MMA.

This does not reflect on Harley Street or Dr Jack as I have up most respect for them.

The Full SAFE MMA Release

(London.16th August 13) Safe MMA voted that UCMMA should be temporarily suspended after holding 3 bouts that had not been medically cleared on UCMMA 35 on 3rd August.

Fighters Przmyslaw Mysiala and Tom Richards flouted their medical obligations to UCMMA as a Safe MMA promotion, yet UCMMA took the decision to allow the fights to go ahead. Neither fighter was a replacement and both Przmyslaw Mysiala and Tom Richards were listed on the original UCMMA 35 Fight Card submitted to Safe MMA on 18/06/13. Despite promoter Dave O’Donnell paying for Tom Richard’s registration on 9/7/13, Richards failed to provide sufficient blood results and undergo a doctor medical. Mysiala requested ‘foreign fighter’ status, which requires the submission of bloods only, but supplied blood results that were out-of-date according to Safe MMA stipulations on 2/08/13. Both fighters are banned from Safe MMA shows for a year, which sets a precedent for fighters failing to compete their professional medical obligations for Safe MMA shows.

Following communications on 2/08/13, in which UCMMA was informed that Mysiala and Richards were not safe to fight, Dave O’Donnell contacted Safe MMA to say but because of logistics and cost, nothing further could now be done. Instructions were given to UCMMA regarding how to safe guard the rest of the card on the night.

A third fight that had not been medically approved was also added to the card on the Saturday night between Safe MMA fighter, Jason Radcliffe and another fighter, Marvin Campbell, who Safe MMA had not been notified of and holds no medical records for.

Detailed information was provided by the record keeper at 76 Harley Street and circumstances surrounding the incident have been discussed in detail by the Safe MMA board. The incident was weighed up against the administrative processes in place, a changeover of systems and staff at 76 Harley Street, the level of support that UCMMA had received and the strong commitment UCMMA has made to Safe MMA over its first 6 months. Based on clauses in the Safe MMA Agreement and in the promotions contract outlined below, an anonymous vote was cast over whether UCMMA should receive a warning or a suspension.

The vote was put to the following available people/groups on the board: Dr. Mike Loosemore, Rosi Sexton, Marc Goddard, John Gooden, Dr. Maeve Rogers, Dr. Paul Drake, Quest Fighting (1 vote), Cage Warriors (1 vote), BAMMA (1 vote). The decision to suspend UCMMA was reached by majority decision.

2. The Promotions Agreement states:

Obligations

1. Promotions must adhere to the principles of Safe MMA, and that is to use only fighters that are cleared to fight under the ‘green light’ system. Should any promotion be discovered to use a fighter that is not medically cleared to fight, they shall be prohibited from using the SAFE MMA logo and its association. Furthermore, there will be no refunds on membership and should the promotion desire to reapply, they will be required to submit a membership application and annual fee after a 6 month period has elapsed

2. Promotions will do everything reasonable to ensure that their organisation and their fighters complies with the code of conduct for SAFE MMA

2. The Safe MMA Agreement document ( Question 30, page 24) available on 76 Harley Street website states:

30. WHAT HAPPENS IF MEMBERS BREAK THE SAFE MMA AGREEMENT?

SAFE MMA stipulates a code of conduct. It is the responsibility of members to uphold this
code. Any error or misconduct will go before the Safe MMA board to be reviewed and a
democratic decision will be made on a case by case basis. The member will be issued with
one of the following:
• a notice of poor practice
• a warning of misconduct
• a suspension for serious misconduct or to be stuck-off the register – that can be temporary or even permanent.
Every error and its verdict will be publicly available to view. The verdicts will be based on
how severe the error and how constructive the member is being. These processes are in line with the disciplinary proceedings of the General Medical Counsel of Great Britain.

Medically Safe MMA will be unable to support a promotion if something goes wrong from not following the rules and the promotion will not be able to claim it was not in the know.

Promoter, Dave O’Donnell of UCMMA apologised in a phone call and admitted culpability.

He also stressed that he would like to continue to work with Safe MMA moving forwards.

76 Harley Street have outlined the terms of the suspension lasting 6 months, which bans UCMMA from marketing itself as a Safe MMA show and from the PR and liability protection support offered by Safe MMA. UCMMA will also lose its vote in in the forming of new agreements and at the AGM. However, UCMMA and its fighters can continue to use the medical and databasing service provided by 76 Harley Street. If UCMMA continues to register its fighters and uphold Safe MMA guidelines under supervision, it may be reduce its ban to 4 months. Safe MMA will work to troubleshoot the issues that lead to the incident and provide support and guidance to aid UCMMA to find resolutions.

The fighters may also reduce their ban from 1 year to 6-8 months if they have bloods once every six months during the ban, either through 76 Harley Street or they must supply their blood results to Safe MMA. Blood test results are required for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

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