(Celementi’s post fight interview with Sweden’s answer to Ariel Helwani)
I can think of a few good reasons that last weekend’s Superior Challenge 7 card may have slipped of our radar. With the juggernaut that was UFC 129 dominating the MMA landscape at the time, former UFC fighters vying for mostly-irrelevant titles in a far away land just didn’t seem to matter too much. Fast forward one week and things get slightly more interesting.
As this event marked the first time that the Unified Rules would govern MMA bouts in Sweden, one might have expected a smooth night fights set to the harmonic backdrop of “The Sign”. However, following decision losses in their respective title bouts, Jeremy Horn and Rich Clementi have officially filed protests with the Swedish Mixed Martial Arts Federation to have the results of those matches overturned.
One of MMA’s most seasoned veterans, Horn squared off against fellow former UFC title challenger Thales Leites for the vacant Superior Challenge Middleweight Championship. With neither man able to put away his opponent, the fight was turned over to the judges who awarded the victory to Leites. While this bout has been described as very close, neither reports on Sherdog.com nor Swedish MMA site Fighter Magazine (Google Translate, bitches) list possible grounds for Horn’s appeal. If Horn merely has a difference of opinion as to who won the fight, he won’t really have a compelling case to bring before the Federation. Now Clementi, on the other hand, just might.
The battle between UFC veteran Rich Clementi and Swedish fighter Reza Madadi to become Superior Challenge’s first Lightweight Champion was even closer, so much so that ringside judges declared the fight a draw. What’s odd is that this fight—unlike Horn vs. Leites–was not one of the three fights to be contested under Unified Rules. This meant that the Swedish athletic commission still enforced their “no draws allowed” policy for championship fights. So after rendering their draw verdict, the three ringside judges—including Madadi training partner Bobby Rehman—were forced to give one fighter the nod in a fight they felt was even. Anyone care to hazard a guess as to whom Rehman voted for?
In Madadi’s defense, and in Rehman’s, it was a fight too close to call and all three judges ruled him the victor. That being said, this situation should never have been allowed due to the obvious bias created when teammates and friends judge one another. George Sallfeldt, the new chairman of the Swedish Mixed Martial Arts Federation, has promised to take a closer look at the relationships between judges and fighters and to conduct an investigation into the matter. The commission will rule on the protests on May 16th. If only someone had warned of this scenario, the whole ordeal could have been avoided.