Fightlinker has up this quote from a Sherdog post:
I actually chatted with the building manager before heading out. She said the WAMMA folks moved out of the building a couple months ago with everything of value in hand. What’s even more surprising is that she also said that everyone from WAMMA stopped returning their calls when they asked what to do with everything left inside.
The Fightlinker post (and the Sherdog thread) feature a host of pictures of WAMMA's deserted office space. I've actually been trying to contact WAMMA officials over the past few weeks to get an update on their status since their rankings hadn't been updated since May 15. I've not gotten a response on any of my phone calls or e-mails though so I assumed the worst (best?) and that they had finally crashed and burned.
I would say the combination of two and a half months without updating their rankings, no discussion of Fedor as WAMMA Champion prior to the Affliction event, no response on e-mails and phone calls from the press, and empty offices all adds up to the death of mixed martial arts' first "major" sanctioning body.
I hate to sound like I'm dancing on their grave but I do feel that I earned the right to throw a whopping "I told you so" on the table here. We here at BloodyElbow aren't content with allowing such a moment go by with a whimper, so after the jump is a look back at our time with WAMMA.
- I quickly decided the appropriate way to handle WAMMA, even though I was skeptical, was to interview their CEO (Dave Szady) and COO (Mike Lynch) to allow them to explain their intentions.
- The day of the big official belt reveal came and the world was blown away by the combination of bad hair and velcro.
- Luke continued expressing his doubts about WAMMA's ability to do...well, any meaningful.
- WAMMA attended the ABC Convention and presented paperwork stating that they would be looking to make money off of charging sanctioning fees in the future. This was a direct contradiction to what they had told me when I asked about sanctioning fees. Amazingly WAMMA officials responded by saying that they simply went to the biggest convention since their creation with a huge misprint in the paperwork they were handing out. So, have no fear! They're not liars! Just incompetent!
- I then allowed our readers to submit questions for WAMMA officials. This time in addition to Dave Szady and Mike Lynch we were joined by Pat Miletich. In the responses to the questions they gave my personal favorite quote:
As fans are aware, WAMMA recently nixed the idea that Matt Lindland v. Tito Ortiz would be for a WAMMA middleweight title. We would evaluate each potential fight on its merits according to our rankings. To the contrary, we here at WAMMA do believe that a match between Robbie Lawler vs Matt Lindland would make the cut for a legitimate WAMMA Championship match.
- The fan interview was the point that pushed me over the edge with them from just dislike of their goals to thinking they were horrible for the sport. I covered it in one of my favorite pieces I've ever written.
- In their greatest moment WAMMA threatened to sue a BloodyElbow reader for posting a satirical fanpost. And no, I'm not kidding.
- WAMMA was still able to get their rankings featured on ESPN.com's MMA Live which led to me stating that they now had a chance to save their credibility. Luke chimed in by pointing out that ESPN appeared to have some ties to WAMMA already. The absurdity of ESPN using a sanctioning body's rankings made me throw one more brick at their window.
- COO Mike Lynch stepped down and Ranking Committee head Sam Caplan became interim COO, but still (amazingly) remained as the head of the rankings.
- Almost one month later both Pat MIletich and Sam Caplan resigned from WAMMA. It was, in reality, the final nail in the coffin..even if Dave Szady didn't realize it.
Which brings us to today and the unofficial death of MMA's first major sanctioning body. Hopefully this serves to keep the boxing sanctioning body model out of MMA for good, but I still worry we're not far off from seeing a WOMMA come out from the shadows.