April 25, 2015. That was the last time I walked through BAMMA’s doors. Until last night.
For the past few years, I’ll admit that BAMMA has done nothing for me. The stream is always unreliable, the audio fizzes out and we hear the producer talking to their crew, and the pacing of previous BAMMA events has been questionable. It ruins what should be an enjoyable night in so I was willing to give it another shot live.
David Khalsa proved the underdog of the night as he defeated SBG’s Cian Cowley in the first round via submission. Khalsa was a ridiculous 5/1 dog on BetBright and he handled his business excellently as he finished Cowley with a slick rear-naked choke.
Impressive wins came from both Jai Herbert and Daniel Crawford. Herbert dispatched Rick Selvarajah in the first round by KO, and Crawford looked fantastic as he finished Ronnie Mann in the first round via TKO. I expect to see big things from these two in the near future.
Terry Brazier and Walter Gahadza treated fans to an incredible one-round fight as both put it all on the line. Brazier executed his left jab to full effect until Gahadza floored him, but Brazier somehow managed to get back to his feet. Gahadza narrowly missed an uppercut which would have surely sent Brazier’s head into Row Z. It was then Brazier’s turn to rock Gahadza and as the fight fell to the floor, Brazier seized his opportunity and caught Gahadza with a bulldog choke. A must-watch for all MMA fans!
Tim Barnett continued to make a name for himself on the UKMMA scene as he brutally finished Mario Saeed with devastating ground ‘n’ pound retaining his Lonsdale lightweight title in the process.
It would not be an MMA event in 2017 if we didn’t receive any ridiculous callouts. Terry Brazier decided to follow the trend of MMA fighters calling out boxers as he mentioned Chris Eubank Jnr in his post fight interview. Brazier did also call out Nathan Jones who was watching from the wings, so here’s hoping we see that next! Yannick Bahati thought it’d also be fun to call out Alex Reid and Michael Bisping after submitting Matt Hallam in the second round. Something’s telling me we’ll see neither!
The main event featured Brett McDermott and Ruben Wolf for the BAMMA World heavyweight title and truth be told, it was one of the most meaningless main event I’ve seen in some time. Brett McDermott retired for the 64th time last year then got a shot at Liam McGeary on Bellator in Febraury, losing via TKO. Ruben Wolf recently lost to James Mulheron at Made 4 the Cage 23 and now he’s BAMMA’s main event.
The fight went exactly as expected as both fighters swung for the hills, but in the end McDermott prevailed, becoming champ. Wolf felt hard done by with the stoppage and decided to push referee Marc Goddard, disagreeing with the decision. McDermott vs. James Mulheron next, please.
And we save the best to last. Aaron Chalmers walked out to a chorus of boos from the fans as the cast of ‘Geordie Shore’ tried their best to drown out the negative noise. The arena was definitely in Greg Jenkins‘ corner to say the least.
There really isn’t much to talk about from the fight. I’ve genuinely seen better exhibition fights (shout out to FURY MMA) but fair play to both for making the walk to the cage.
Now, we know why BAMMA did it. The numbers brought in from Chalmers fighting probably did make a significant difference. However, the whole situation was executed poorly. The majority of hardcore fans and people in the community labeled it as a joke.
Firstly, the fight should NOT have been categorised as a professional bout. That was mistake number one. The whole backlash could have been avoided if BAMMA made it an amateur fight. The fact the fight was labeled professional and higher up the card than Daniel Crawford vs. Ronnie Mann and Terry Brazier vs. Walter Gahadza feels like some kind of terrible joke. And we haven’t even talked about the weigh-ins yet.
Chalmers told The Sprawl that he always thought the fight was at Welterweight. Jenkins then told us he received a phone call from BAMMA a couple of days before the fight explaining that Chalmers couldn’t make the weight. Whichever way you decide to look at this, there is absolutely nothing professional about this fight. Zilch.
Opinions have been divided on this circus but one thing is for definite: the circus worked. Chalmers received his own mini-essay in this article and BAMMA and the media’s numbers were off the charts.
All in all, BAMMA succeeded and put on a great live experience. The pacing was far better than previous shows I attended and everything ran smoothly (apart from the stream, I’m told).
Full BAMMA 29 results are available HERE.