This past Saturday, Cage Warriors held their ninety-first event, Cage Warriors Unplugged. In the main event Liverpool native, Paddy Pimblett was set to defend his belt against American and former TUF alumni Julian Erosa. Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett was a favorite to win the fight and the hype behind the twenty one year old to make it to the UFC after this victory was at an all time high.
However, the five round championship fight did not go as expected for the young champ. Julian Erosa was able to control the stand-up with stiff jabs and a right cross that dropped Paddy in the second round. Erosa also badly hurt Pimblett with a huge flying knee in the fight that made the young champion hesitant in the later rounds.
The majority of people on social media had the challenger winning the bout by decision, including myself. However, the judges would award Paddy the Unanimous Decision victory over Julian Erosa.
Immediately after, several people pointed to Paddy’s manager Graham Boylan also being the owner of Cage Warriors as a possible reason for the controversial decision.
Boylan was the CEO of Cage Warriors at one point, but resigned last year. Only to come back earlier this year and announce that he had acquired the organization and is now the President and owner of Cage Warriors Fighting Championship. Boylan is also the CEO of Intensiti Fighting Management, which manages Pimblett and several other fighters on the Cage Warriors roster.
Fighters managed by Intensiti FM
Paddy Pimblett – Cage Warriors Featherweight Champion
Chris Fishgold – Cage Warriors Lightweight Champion
Jack Marshman – Cage Warriors Middleweight Champion (vacated belt UFC debut at UFC FN 99)
Full Roster of Managed Fighters HERE
This is very common overseas as there is no governing body to oversee these organizations. To quote Ben Sigler from Law In Sports:
Again, because there is currently no formal oversight via a governing body, each organisation is free to contract with fighters on terms which it deems appropriate and there is no licencing whatsoever of managers, promoters or competitors. Pre-fight medical testing has, until recently, been near non-existent: the fighter will simply enter into a short pro forma contract with the promotion and proceed to compete. Post-fight medicals are rare, and adequate medical support at events is lacking. Drug testing is near non-existent. As such there is no limitation on fighters competing in circumstances which would not be permitted in professional MMA in the US.
To answer Peter Queally, this is one hundred percent unethical, but as of right now there is nothing that can be done until someone steps in to regulate the system. Even if that happens, conflict of interest cases plague organizations in the U.S. The well documented case of Ali Abdel-Aziz and Ronda Rousey’s situation of being managed by WME-IMG (the new UFC owners). Ed Soares managing fighters and being the President of RFA.
Now that RFA and Legacy FC have merged, Soares says he will step away from managing fighters and focus on his new role as CEO of Legacy Fighting Alliance.
It’s no wonder why guys like Ali get away with the stuff that they do, its embedded into the culture of MMA. Fighters get special treatment and they headline big cards, while the guilty parties stuff their pockets with two paychecks.
Was the fight on Saturday between Pimblett and Erosa rigged? Maybe not, but why hasn’t the media covered this issue? How can Ronda Rousey be managed by the owners of the UFC?
I’ll add to this story as these issues get more coverage.
Sigler, Ben. “REGULATION OF MMA IN THE UK: A VOID THAT URGENTLY NEEDS FILLING – PART 1.” Law In Sports. N.p., 13 Nov. 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.