(The Cage Wars battleground)
Irish MMA is often overshadowed by the larger UK domestic scene. Various UK promotions such as BAMMA, UCMMA and Strike and Submit have limited the ability of others to gain recognition. Cage Wars Championship (CWC) however, has been busy reversing this trend by establishing itself as the leading MMA promoter throughout the UK and Europe.
Established in 1999, by Irishmen Patrick Mooney and Chris Kelly, they will stage their biggest ever event, “DEMOLITION” at the NEC Birmingham, England on May 22nd. For the first time in UK MMA history, four fighters from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland will compete for a lightweight CWC UK title. The event will coincide with a martial arts weekend of seminars, demonstrations and various martial arts competitions, as part of “The Martial Arts Show” known as “TMAS”.
Co-founder of CWC, Patrick Mooney, said: “We are delighted to be asked by the TMAS organisation to headline their martial arts expo with our MMA event. This gives us the perfect platform to re-introduce the Cage Wars Championship brand and concept to the UK MMA fans.”
CWC have had a huge impact on the UK and European MMA scene. Since they first staged their first event in Portsmouth in 2001, they’ve held various events throughout England, Scotland and Ireland. Belfast fight fans packed out the legendary Kings Hall on three separate occasions in 2009, such was the success of CWC. Fans of the promotion have witnessed MMA stars such as Jeff Monson, Seth Petruzelli, Rich Clementi and Dan Severn grace the CWC octagon.
“DEMOLITION” represents the organisations return to England after a ten year absence and it is going to be its biggest. “We are returning to show the UK just how good we really are. We’ve seen many promotions and we know that we have and can put on better shows than most of them,” says Patrick Mooney.
Patrick Mooney is an individual who understands both the beauty of MMA and the problems associated with it. It’s this mindset which has led CWC to produce their very first four-man tournament. After consulting various people such as Ian Dean and Cage Warriors promotions, four fighters were selected to fight for the Swarovski encrusted twenty-two carat gold belt, worth several thousand pounds.
“We wanted to put on a show that had no politics involved. Too many shows now have politics involved and too many titles. Even some of the amateur events are poorly run and a lot of them still have a thug mentality. They get a punch in the mouth and then realise they actually have to train for MMA. We wanted to put on something unique which is why we asked the opinion of various MMA insiders and we feel we’ve four of the best fighters around to compete for the first ever CWC belt and try and create a structure,” says Patrick Mooney.
An avid fan of boxing, Mooney has learnt from the negative aspects associated with the sport. Fighters protecting their fight records, choosing who to fight and too many boxing titles, have all impacted on the sport and left fans disappointed with the political infighting, preventing various “super fights”. He puts this knowledge to good use with CWC.
He said: “I’m a big boxing fan but there is too much politics involved. I used to hear people saying that they would like to fight Mike Tyson in the ring, but they would never really have the opportunity to do so. We like to give the new guys an opportunity to show that they are capable of the major league. Fighters now are terrified of losing and having a loss on their record and putting off the UFC from signing them. They are paralysing themselves. At CWC we don’t care how many losses you’ve got, it’s all about performance and with MMA anyone can get beat in a fight, no matter who you are.”
MMA has seen worldwide growth and so has CWC. Millions of people now have it beamed to their living rooms thanks to deals with ESPN, The Fight Network, Fight Zone and various others which have put CWC on the global stage. However, the goliath of the UFC cannot be ignored and is something Patrick Mooney is aware of.
“We are reaching half of a billion people now and the goal is to reach 1 billion. We have signed multiple TV deals and want to put CWC in places such as South Africa, Australia and the Middle East and hope to get involved with more domestic based networks such as Eurosport. We are now pretty big throughout the UK, Europe and the US. We want to keep on growing rather than compete with the UFC who are probably the only organisation to receive more coverage than us,” says Patrick Mooney.
CWC doesn’t sign fighters on exclusive contracts which mean they can move freely between organisations. Such has been the success of the organisation; many fighters may not want to move elsewhere and may want to be part of another four-man tournament which is planned for the future, at a different weight category.
For more information on Cage Wars, head to www.cagewars.co.uk.