Yesterday saw the news that Cage Warriors Fighting Championship have made massive steps towards expanding into the Scandinavian market, signing over a dozen fighters, appointing a dedicated head of operations for the region and planning at least two events (in Denmark and Sweden) for the first half of next year.
Scandinavia has one of the most developed MMA scenes in the world, with top quality promotions like Superior Challenge and Cage FC as well as excellent coverage through sites like MMAViking. Cage Warriors have long been aware of this quality, utilising a lot of Nordic talent like Mats Nilsson, Martin Svensson, Katja Kankaanpaa, Mikael Silander and Joni Salovaara and it’s a logical, if brave step to commit to this market in such a fashion.
Add that to their having the busiest calendar of any major MMA organisation not called the UFC, their courageous booking policy which has seen them put cards on in far flung places like Dagestan, Jordan and Glasgow, not to mention their upcoming visit to Baghdad as a part of their THREE events in December and the ongoing quality of their fights, booking and professional presentation there can be little doubt that Cage Warriors are Europe’s #1 promotion and probably #2 in the world behind the UFC.
Yes, I rate CW above Bellator. It’s not all about money.
What sets these promotions apart from all others is a combination of ambition, consistency and the laser like focus and determination of the folk at the helm of each company.
The UFC take a lot of flak in Europe for not coming often enough, or not giving us good enough cards but you must remember that they lose money on almost every overseas trip (with the probable exception of Brazil) and that they come at all is a testament to their desire to grow the sport and build a greater market for themselves in the future.
Cage Warriors show similar drive, given that they could easily do six or eight events per year, hold them mostly in London and Dublin with occasional trips to the provinces and still be considered the UK’s top promotion.
They don’t NEED to add a women’s division, embark on trips to the Middle East or launch a grand assault on the Nordic scene, but they do these things to get better, and if there’s one thing martial arts is about it’s about getting better, every day.
2014 is shaping up to be a great year for MMA and Cage Warriors will be big players in that.
I can’t wait.