Furore hit the UK MMA world today following the sudden and unexplained cancellation of a major expo set to take place this weekend.
The MMA Show Live had been due to take place at Birmingham’s NEC Arena across Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 May, but organisers pulled the plug last night and have said that the event will be rescheduled for October.
“It is with deep regret that we have been forced to postpone The MMA Show Live at the National Exhibition Centre on Saturday 12th and Sunday the 13th of May 2012 due to circumstances beyond our control,” an announcement on the event website reads.
In a separate FAQ (‘frequently asked questions’) document on the website, further reason is provided for the late cancellation. “A critical supplier to the event has cancelled their services which has caused a series of knock on effects that has made it necessary to move the event to October 2012,” the organisers say.
The line-up for the event had caused considerable excitement among UK MMA fans with over 50 big name fighters and MMA industry figures purported to be part of it. Among them were BJ Penn, Randy Couture, Michael Bisping, Ben Henderson, Brittney Palmer, Chris Leben and Kenny Florian - they all learned via the internet that the show was cancelled.
According to the MMA Show Live website, fight fans can return their tickets for a full refund or can retain them and use them for access to the rescheduled October event - if it happens. If it does not, fans who retain their tickets will be left with a useless piece of paper.
Attempts to contact organisers Liam Fisher and Paul Clifton prior to publication were unsuccessful. Neither is taking phone calls and Fisher has deleted his Twitter account following last night’s cancellation announcement.
The cancellation has caused uproar among UK fans, with many having made non-refundable travel and accommodation bookings for this weekend. They have been offered access to a smaller, generalised martial arts expo taking place in the same venue this weekend, but the offer is unlikely to be taken up in large numbers.
Champion middleweight Tom ‘Kong’ Watson, one of the top names in UK MMA, went so far as to label the organisers “crooks” via a post on his Twitter account. “Can only apologise to anyone who booked MMA Live tickets. I’m out of pocket 2 & given no answers. Promoters have lot to answer for. Crooks,” he fumed.