There was a tweet sent recently by Ultimate Impact Events that may have flown under the news radar due to the noise around the Conor McGregor saga.

Essentially, the tweet referred to Ultimate Impact’s intention to implement changes to their fighter safety procedures.

We at The Sprawl decided that we should rendezvous with owner and co-promoter of Ultimate Impact Events, Mr Dan Richards, and find out more. Here’s What he had to say.



“Paul [Sutherland] and I have always been extremely aware of the responsibility we have towards all of our fighters, even from back in the day when we held inter-club events at Trojan Free fighters. We were both conscious that we made sure we had medical cover and things like that. So it’s been on the cards for a while, it’s just really trying to find a way or method of doing it. Obviously this is a very young sport and there isn’t a precedent. I mean, there isn’t a way in which everybody does the same thing, everybody has their own individual way.

“The discussion has always been there. We’ve always made sure we have paramedics at the show. Medical checks etc. We always make sure fighters are coming in on weight, within a certain weight range of each other. We’ve always done a lot in terms of making sure fighters are safe, so this is not a case of us waking up one morning and thinking ‘Oh. We should do this, everybody else is.’ We’ve always wanted to do something. It’s a case of wanting to move forward, really.”



“So, what we are doing is this: For the next show [Ultimate Impact 17] on the 2nd of July, we will be advising the fighters that are participating and fighting under unified amateur rules or professional MMA rules to get their bloods tested for Blood Borne Viruses (BBVs). These include: H.I.V. and Hepatitis B and C.”

“We are asking that they do that via their GP – which anyone can do. They should phone their GP and ask for an appointment to test for BBVs. The GP will carry out that test and give the result back.

“Now, for this particular show, we would like all the fighters to do it, but it’s not compulsory. For the following show, we are making it compulsory. All unified and professional fighters – MMA or K1 – must complete their blood tests.”

“So that’s how we’re doing it, It’s a ‘soft launch’, so to speak. We don’t want to exclude anybody from fighting on our shows, but that’s how we’re doing it. Safety is paramount. We want to do our best.”

“In terms of registering, they get their results in the form of a doctor’s certificate which gets sent off, and then we make that a published and confirmed fight with both fighters having tested negative for BBVs.”

And if a fighter tests positive?

“We are not doctors, we are fight promoters, so that would be for the fighter and GP to best sort out for themselves. But, safe to say, they will not be on the event.”

We are going to bring in a doctor on event nights to shore up safety measures for fighters. Also, for the next show, Ammys will have the option of next day weigh ins. I will be working closely with coaches on individual weight cuts. – Paul Sutherland

So, have Ultimate Impact considered working alongside, or under the umbrella, of SAFE MMA?

“We are a lower tiered event. You know, we’re not a Cage Warriors, we’re not a BAMMA. We’re not that big a show. We’re a local show that looks to promote and provide a platform for up and coming fighters. Sadly, SAFE MMA have some significant costs involved. And I say significant in that, you know, these fighters aren’t getting paid much, they’re not even getting paid much when they go up to the big shows, so to have yourself registered with SAFE is a cost. It’s expensive, it’s a big chunk of money.”

“We looked to go down that route when SAFE first came about, and Paul Sutherland has great relationships with [SAFE MMA founders] Marc Goddard and Izzy Carnwath, and all the people behind it. We were in constant contact at first, we looked at Ultimate Impact signing up, but we really struggled and were really concerned about fighters competing on our show.”

“The other problem is that they only cover professional fighters. We only have a handful of professional fighters on our show. That would mean that 80% our fight card… Well, it wouldn’t matter if they had some sort of BBV, because they wouldn’t have been tested for that.”

“We only have a handful of professionals at the top of the card, we want to look after the unified amateurs as well.”

A lot of safety work goes on at an Ultimate Impact show. Some of it is in view of the fans, and some behind the scenes. Where do the fighter safety initiatives begin, and how does this continue throughout a show?

“It kind of starts a long way before the event. We have very good relations with all the gyms we’re involved with that bring fighters to Ultimate Impact, and good relations with all the coaches. Paul ensures, along with the other coaches, that the fighters have been training, are in shape, and on weight throughout the period of training and in the lead up to one of our shows.”

“If Paul sees that a fighter isn’t training, on weight or…well, whatever it is, then we will need to sit down and think that maybe this is a fight that’s not going to happen. Or if we feel that there’s a question mark over that fighter, then we’ll have that chat with the coach. And in all fairness, the coach will quite often come over to us and say ‘Look, he or she isn’t ready,’ or ‘they’re not in shape’ and we say ‘fine’, and we’ll pull that fight.”

“In terms of on the night and the day before weigh ins, we have a full medical team on board and they’re a team of paramedics. We’ve hired the same medical team now for more than three years. There’s a full medical questionnaire which all the fighters complete. We also have the weigh in medicals with blood pressure checks and all the usual things going through.”

“Then it’s down to the professionals. The medics decide whether the fighter is cleared to fight the next day. If they are not cleared, that fight is then taken off the card.”

“Throughout the event, the same medical team is present cage side, and are still around when the show finishes dealing with cuts, bruises and concussions.”

“We also have significant breaks during the show to make sure the fighter’s medical needs are dealt with sufficiently.”

Ultimate Impact 17 takes place at GL1 Gloucester on Saturday, July 2. Tickets are available HERE.

Click HERE for more details on Ultimate Impact’s fighter safety initiative.




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