UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organisation, is disappointed and saddened to announce its withdrawal of support to the European Judo Championships, following a threat from the European Judo Union (EJU) to cancel the event if UFC was to remain involved.
The EJU threatened to cancel the international event just eight weeks before it was due to take place on 9-12th April at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, Scotland, possibly jeopardizing many athletes’ journey to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and harming the legacy of the Commonwealth Games, which took place in Glasgow in July 2014.
The UFC has agreed to step back and withdraw support from the event in the interest of Judo athletes and fans. But it will continue to support British Judo and other combat sports federations and associations, remaining hopeful that the situation may be resolved in the future.
David Allen, Senior Vice President and General Manager UFC EMEA said: “We love to see sport thrive and athletes prosper, which is why the UFC prides itself on supporting all combat sports, both mixed and individual disciplines. Our aim was to help Judo reach a new audience, increase promotion, help to sell tickets and create a buzz around the European judo Championships. It is disappointing to see that the European Judo Union cannot see the benefits of collaboration and celebration of all sports.”
Through its association with the British Combat Sports Federation, UFC was due to support the European Judo Championships with branding, marketing and also promotion of the event to its global audience of millions of engaged mixed martial artists – of which Judo is a founding discipline.
Just one week ago, mixed martial artists from Glasgow, one of whom began his career as a Scottish Judo champion, teamed up with Judo athletes at a press conference to begin promotion of the Championships.
Robert Whiteford was thrilled to be involved in the event and said: “It’s superb to see the cross collaboration between mixed martial arts and individual combat sports, this is the development of sport and it’s important to embrace it. Sharing techniques, skills and knowledge is important for personal, professional and physical development. The UFC’s involvement in supporting the European Judo Championships cements that forward thinking.”