People who know me, know that I love a good old (legally regulated) scrap. As long as its happening to someone else of course. Pain Pit, Cage Warriors and BAMMA, have continually churned out entertaining match ups allowing MMA fans vicariously experience the gladiators arena.
Pain Pit had a good reputation in show casing local Welsh talent and so I was surprised to hear Cage Warriors CEO Graham Boylan announce that they had acquired and re branded it as Cage Warriors- Wales, last month. Despite this huge change, Richard Shore will remain in charge of promotion in Wales. I spoke to Richard to see what this could mean for Welsh MMA.
GD: “How did the Cage warriors take-over/re-branding of Pain Pit come about?”
RS: “I’ve always had a great relationship with Graham Boylan who owns Cage Warriors. Over the past 4 years our Pain Pit events have produced many great fighters that have moved on to compete at the next level on Cage Warrior’s Events. Graham approached me last September to start discussions about working together in Wales. After a few months of negotiations we worked out a deal that benefited the both of us and MMA in Wales.”
GD: “Can we expect anything in Cage Warriors 76 that wasn’t in Pain Pit?”
RS: “Well for a start the production will be unreal so it will be a real visual spectacular. The main difference is obviously the TV deal with UFC Fight Pass. This will give fighters unbelievable exposure and help them progress their careers. It also give the UFCs representatives an opportunity to keep an eye on up and coming fighters in Europe.
Being part of the Cage warriors team also means we have a bigger budget which enables us to have some of the best fighters in Europe on the card.”
GD.” Will future venues be held around Wales or will Newport be classed as home to Cage Warriors Wales events?”
RS: “Newport Centre will be the home of Cage Warriors Wales as we have built up a great fan base around the Pain Pit events that will only now get bigger as Cage warriors Wales. There may be a possibility of us trying a show in Ebbw Vale but I have to meet with the TV production team over there to see if it is a viable option.”
GD: “There is an exciting line up of fighters. Are there any fight in particular that you’re looking forward to?”
RS: “There are lots of bouts that excite me to be honest. The amateur card has a load of bouts that have the potential to be fight of the night. On the Pro Under card Sam Creasey v Kris Edwards is a bout that excites me. Sam is an unbeaten prospect and it will be interesting to see how Edwards performs after 2 years away from competition. I’ve always said that Edwards is one of the most naturally talented fighters to come out of Wales but he has not fulfilled his potential. I’m excited to see what the more mature Edwards looks like against a brilliant talent like Creasey.
Lew Long and Jack Marshman are knocking on the door of the UFC so their bouts will be interesting to watch as a good performance from them could see them get the call from the UFC.
Young Jack Shore is also on the main televised live Card against a strong international opponent so this will be a real test for him.”
GD: “Tillery clubs are obviously very well represented. How have you engaged other clubs to come forward with fighters?”
RS:”We have dealt with coaches from teams all over the UK over the past 4 years with Pain Pit so I have a strong data base and good relationship with many teams. When it was made public that our event was being shown on UFC Fight pass there was no shortage of teams putting their fighters forward to be matched.”
GD: “What advice would you give to anyone who may be considering entering in future CW Wales events?”
RS: “Train hard. Perform well on the smaller events around the company then contact us with your details.”
GD: “Have the referees been chosen? If so, can they be named?”
“The referees will be the most experienced in the UK as is always the case with Cage Warriors events. Fighter’s safety is paramount for our company so we would not have it any other way.”
GD: “Is Cage Warriors Wales going to run alongside Cage Warriors, or will fighters be ranked /profiled altogether?”
RS: “Cage Warriors Wales is part of Cage Warriors FC and not a separate entity. The event on June 4th will be called Cage Warriors 76 and be part of the shows put on this year by Graham Boylan.”
GD: “Can you tell me a bit about Wayne Samways?”
RS: “Wayne is from the Rhonda and trains with Lew Long at the Mat Academy. He is a BJJ Brown belt under The Chris Rees Academy. He has recently been selected to represent the UK team in the World Amateur MMA Championships in Las Vegas. Wayne is a great martial artist with a great attitude and deserves his selection. Fighters have to fund themselves to compete so we will be trying to raise some funds on the night to help him out with the cost.”
GD: “Is there anything different about Welsh fighters that you’ve noticed?”
RS: “The only difference between Welsh fighters and the rest of the world is that we have been continually overlooked. I don’t feel Welsh fighters have received the respect and recognition they deserve. I hope that working with Graham Boylan, the matchmaking skills of Ian Dean and the TV Coverage now being given by UFC Fight Pass will now change this. Our Goal is to give the Welsh talent a platform to show the UFC and the rest of the world that they are ready to compete with the best of the best.”
Cage Warriors Wales looks to be an exciting prospect, shining the light on Welsh fighters that have been over looked and I am extremely looking forward to the event in June. I would like to thank Mr Shore for making time to speak to me.