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Swedish MMA Federation disolves pro-committee following Cage Warriors incident

Following the decision to move a planned Cage Warriors event from Sweden to Jordan, the Swedish MMA Federation (SMMAF) is rebuilding it's bout approval process.

Turns out nobody is happy with the recent Cage Warriors fiasco, in which a planned event had to be moved from Stockholm, Sweden to Amman, Jordan because the SMMAF was unable to approve the planned bouts on the card. Four of the five planned main event fights did not meet SMMAF approval to be contested under the unified rules of MMA, despite the fact that several similar UFC bouts had been or were planned for the UFC's two trips to Stockholm. It was an obvious showing of inconsistency that had many media members and Cage Warriors themselves talking of possible favoritism or even collusion in the SMMAF's approval process. It turns out that some of that talk may have been well founded, as, after an internal review, the SMMAF has decided to "dissolve" their pro-committee in the wake of this scandal. They released a press statement on their website on Sunday:

After discussing the latest decision by the Pro-Committee the SMMAF board has decided to dissolve the committee. We feel that both their performance and their working directives have been far from satisfactory. The board has decided on producing a set of clearer and more stringent working directives for the new Pro-Committee. This work is expected to be finalized before 20th September and having a new committee in place before 1st of October.

Personally I feel sorry that both Cage Warriors and the athletes had to face the consequences of the balance act we have to perform in order to retain the sanctioning rights we have from the Swedish government. It is obviously not easy for a committee to ascertain an athlete's exact competence but there must be ways to write the directives so that it can be clearer who should be considered ready for a certain rule set and who is not.

Our ambition is to quickly have a solution in place that works both for the MMA-community and the Swedish government that grants us our sanctioning rights.

I also feel that I must address certain information that has been circulating considering the SMMAF sanctioning fees. The sanctioning fee for an event is 3490 SEK (approx. 500 USD). It has been the same amount for many years and it can easily be found on our website.

However an event arranger can also chose to buy services from the SMMAF. Examples of these services are; doctors, timekeepers, wrap check, score-sheet administrators, referees, judges, etc. This is NOT compulsory. An event arranger can chose to buy these services on the market (some of these functions must obviously uphold certain criteria, for example: the referees and judges must hold a valid SMMAF license, the doctors must have a license to practice medicine in Sweden).

Some large international event arrangers have chosen to buy all these services from SMMAF since it is convenient for them. They have also chosen to have more individuals performing these functions than the SMMAF has as its minimum requirement. An example of this is that the SMMAF requires a minimum of two doctors but one international arranger has chosen to use five doctors.

The money that SMMAF charges for these services goes directly to the professionals performing these tasks. Any profits that may come as a consequence of the SMMAF offering these services are mainly used for the SMMAF Amateur League and the SMMAF Amateur National Team. The SMMAF board and committees do not receive any pay; their work is solely pro-bono.

Best regards

Johan Halldin
Swedish MMA Federation

Hopefully this is a big turn in the right direction for an organization overseeing one of the better developing talent pools in MMA. Sweden has shown a lot of recent promise in producing high caliber talent, not just in Alexander Gustafsson, but Andreas Stahl, Niklas Bakstrom, and Ilir Latifi among several others. In these circumstances, it's very good to see the SMMAF take proper governance seriously and take steps to rectify current problems in their oversight. And maybe, this will mean a not too distant second attempt to bring a Cage Warriors card to Stockholm.