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Feb 24th
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Home MMA Tom 'Kong' Watson Vacates BAMMA Middleweight Title
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Tom 'Kong' Watson Vacates BAMMA Middleweight Title


tom-kong-watsonWe were recently contacted by Team Watson and asked  to share this letter about Watson's recent decision to leave BAMMA ( British Association of Mixed Martial Arts ). Watson beleives that he was treated unfairly and would like to share his recent experience with our viewers.  The article below was written by Kong Watson word for word  and expresses his decision to vacate his BAMMA Middleweight Title. We feel it is fair to allow fighters to express their ideas and concerns through our media source. We remain neutral on these issues and do not intend to downgrade any person or organization.

Letter by Tom 'Kong' Watson - I am disappointed to announce that I have been left with no choice but to vacate my BAMMA title due to a number of issues which have taken place over the past few months. I have given BAMMA so many opportunities to correct their wrong and they have failed to act which has left me no choice but to make this statement.

In May 2010, I was scheduled to fight Alex Reid at the LG Arena in Birmingham. He pulled out for one reason or another and I agreed to a bout with Matt Horwich. From the date of this event I was not paid for well over 2 months. I was assured that if I signed for the Reid fight in September I would be paid half of my purse 28 days before the event and the rest 72 hours after the event. I was paid nothing.It is well publicised that Alex Reid failed to make weight at the agreed time and arrived on the scales some 4 hours late. The contract clearly states that if an opponent does not make weight his opponent gets 25% of his purse. At the time, my management spoke to David Green about what happens since he has not made weight. David asked us not to make a scene and assured us he was in complete control of Alex's purse and I would be paid the extra 25%. I was informed Reid was earning 18k for this fight so the extra 4,500 to me was a huge difference. I also spoke with Jude Samuel who informed me this had happened previously with others fighters not making weight or missed weigh ins and they were fined the 25%.

Although Alex and his team said they were delayed in traffic, how could I know he was not using the extra time to cut weight hence giving himself an advantage? I am not suggesting he did this, however I could not possibly know which is why the financial penalties are in place. My management, Alex Reid and David Green discussed the fight still going ahead and it was me who still agreed to 5 x 5 minute rounds as live TV was at stake and the title still on the line even though Marc Goddard was righly against this. My point here is if Bamma didnt want to pay this why didn't they just be honest or remove this clause from the contract.

I was contractually obliged to fight on MFC in Canada two weeks previous to the Reid fight and gave BAMMA my 100% assurance that I would fight Reid so long as I could physically walk in the cage. I found the date strange that they had scheduled a show only 2 weeks after they knew I was fighting at MFC. To be honest as long as Bamma kept Alex happy that seemed to be their only concern. I never considered pulling out of this fight as I would never want to let down BAMMA, fans , critics and everybody else who so desperately wanted to see this fight finally happen. I would go as far to say I risked a major setback in my career to take this fight especially when I was not 100%. I put my trust in BAMMA that they would act fairly and stick to the points in the contract which i originally signed. I had made my decision to fight.I feel that I gave my everything in the fight and myself and Alex put on the show BAMMA needed to propel them into the mainstream.

With nearly a million viewers as Bamma have declared I would have thought the company's defending champion would have been paid & not been treated with the lack of respect I have been shown. In the initial first few weeks after my fight I had received no payment from BAMMA. They then asked me to attend an event by EA Sports at London Shoot Fighters. I was sceptical as I had not been paid but David Green met me and explained the payment was imminent so I took part in the event. I was told that by attending this event EA sports would look into sponsoring me and Bamma would appreciate me helping them out. No money came for at least 6 weeks until I was finally paid a % of my purse. A thread then started on CW forum about BAMMA 5 being cancelled, I posted on the forum saying I had not been paid. This came across wrong in some ways as I had been paid some money but not the part of my purse I was owed for Alex missing weight but I wanted the fighters to be informed. I am also owed my expenses which included flights for my corner which I also had to pay in advance as Bamma told me they would refund this after the event. BAMMA immediately asked me to withdraw this statement and say I had been paid, I refused to do this as I was still owed over 6 thousand pounds!

My management convinced me they would clear up my statement. I was assured I would be paid by the end of December so I once again kept quiet. I have not been paid a penny since this day. My management and BAMMA have been in negotiations for weeks and now BAMMA have asked me to sign a 3 fight deal and have said they will make up the money I am owed through extra payments with my purse and up front cash payments. They have now told me this money is now a grey area?? I have declined this offer as I feel like I am being blackmailed to fight for them again in order to recieve money Im owed from september. It is rather upsetting to me that Bamma seem to think its okay to work out new deals with fighters and pay for new arena's (MEN) upfront before they have even paid their dues for September. I think I deserve some honesty and frankly I  will not sign anything becuase 'once bitten twice shy'. I do not want this money to live a lavish lifestyle, I want it so I can be able to pay my rent and continue to train full time in this sport. As im sure most people are aware the only reason I took this fight was for the money. I havent even recieved money from some sponsors or even from the producers of Alex Reid's programme. Only people in the mma community will understand we are not on footballer wages let alone Mcdonald wages for that and this whole episode has really depressed me.

Luckily I have a great team in Jacksons MMA where money does not come first and they have seen me through this period.I would have loved to have defended my title with BAMMA throughout this year but I have been left with no choice but to leave the organisation and take legal advice. I have just had surgery on both of my elbows which has cost me in excess of £12,000 and I only went ahead with this becuase I believed BAMMA would pay me. It has become clear that they do not intend to pay me and I wanted to make sure that no other fighters were put in the same position as me. I brought my good friend GSP to Bamma 3 at no cost to Bamma and they even got a live television interview with him. Most of the reason I am releasing this statement is due to the recent signing of my good friend paul Daley. I wanted him to know the risks before he agreed to fight. I dont want him to have another Australia experience. Anything I have written in this statement can be verified with contracts, and emails forwarded to me by my management.I honestly never wanted to have to make this public and my team have tried very hard to keep this out of the public eye as to not cast a shadow over BAMMA and their future plans. I wanted to be part of these plans but it now seems this will not be possible. I would like to thank everybody who has supported me on my journey with BAMMA and regret that I hope fighters and fans alike stay away from Bamma.

By releasing this statement I am pretty sure I will now have to face paying for the costs of going to small claims court and Bamma will continue to do well, I just hope some of the people reading this learn from my experience.

by Tom 'Kong' Watson

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