Champion loses title after failing to make weight

Bucks Free Press: Matt Holland has surrendered his belt after failing to make weight Matt Holland has surrendered his belt after failing to make weight

HIGH Wycombe hosted another blockbuster mixed martial arts night on Saturday, but a bigger fight has subsequently broken out after defending British TKMMA Champion Matt Holland pulled out from his title bout after missing his weight.

Holland was more than 1.5kg outside his category, meaning the organisers had no choice but to cancel his headline-grabbing match up with John Gilbert, who is also from Wycombe.

The match up had been much anticipated after Gilbert beat Holland’s instructor Corey Cain in his last bout.

Holland was hell bent on revenge and last month said: “This fight is personal – very personal. There isn’t a day that I don’t think about it. For me, this fight is everything.”

Gilbert has now taken the vacant welterweight belt, with his first defence scheduled for August.

But while fans were left disappointed by the cancellation, the fall-out has carried all the venom that should have been in the cage at the Bucks Indoor Tennis Centre on Saturday night.

TKMMA chairman Jay Bacchus said: “It was a championship fight and he was the title holder, he needs to make weight.

“We’ve got a zero tolerance policy on it and he came in slightly more than 1.5kg overweight.

“It’s just irresponsible and the opposite example to what a champion should be setting.”

Bacchus also insists Holland won’t fight on another TKMMA bill.

He said: “He’s got no place in TKMMA now, the show and it’s code of conduct has outgrown him.

“We’ve invested a lot of money in him, put him up on a pedestal and he’s stabbed us in the back.

“On this show alone he’s cost us £8,500, mostly in marketing because the whole show was Matt Holland against John Gilbert.

“That’s £8,500 I could have given to the hard-working volunteers.”

To complicate the situation further, Holland’s desperate 11th-hour bid to make weight resulted in dehydration and he ended up on a drip at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

Bacchus said: “I hope all fighters read this and understand the danger that come with dehydrating to make weight.”

Holland was unavailable for comment.

Meanwhile, the show still went ahead without it’s star billing with Steve Minns beating Jack Fletcher in their semi-professional light heavyweight bout.

Chris Bucksey beat Phil Patrick in another semi-professional contest while Majeick Slonina beat Chris Brydon, Qamer Hussain beat Simon Squires and Dawid Markiewicz was too strong for Jaz Singh.

There were also victories for Lian Hardy, Lloyd Anderson, Aron Lelaye and Mark Wade.

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