Cross-dressing Alex Reid’s controversial fight for the BAMMA middleweight title has left the domestic scene in the United Kingdom with another black eye.
Reid was slated to face champion Tom Watson in Birmingham, England in a nationally-televised main event on May 15, but the 34-year-old has now withdrawn citing a leg injury sustained during the filming of his “Fight Of My Life” series.
You are probably wondering why I branded the fight “controversial?” Allow me to explain.
Reid, beaten by Dean Amasinger in the qualifying stage of series nine of the Ultimate Fighter, is currently being billed as Britain’s best-known cage fighter and it is not down to his record—a paltry 8-8-1 with one no contest.
A win streak did not secure him a title shot either—the man hasn’t won an MMA contest since July 2005. In fact, since his draw with Daijiro Matsui that year, he has lost six straight, falling to Jason Tan, Dave Menne, Tony Fryklund, Xavier Foupa-Pokam, Murilo Rua, and Matt Ewin.
So, how did Reid get this fight? Well, it’s simple: He now fills the half of the bed once occupied by singer Peter Andre.
Reid's marriage to former glamour girl Katie Price has led to his face being splashed across magazines and newspapers. He has also been featured heavily on her reality television series and landed a spot on a celebrity edition of “Big Brother,” which he won.
That appears to be what "earned" him a title shot and a television series following his training.
From a business standpoint, I could understand any UK promotion using Reid to gain exposure, but the decision to give him a title fight was scandalous. Now, it has come back to bite the promoters and his withdrawal will only harm the reputation of a sport that is still fighting for mainstream acceptance and credibility on these shores.
Reid’s withdrawal has also robbed Watson, who fights out Jackson’s Submission Academy and Zahabi MMA, the chance of making himself a star on May 15.
"Kong" wrote in his blog on www.tomkongwatson.com : “I was informed almost two weeks ago that Alex was complaining of a knee injury and was asking for the fight date to be moved. BAMMA asked to have their doctor examine Alex to which he refused and stated that it was no problem—he was definitely going to fight in May.”
Training camp no holiday... unless you are Reid
Watson continued: “Alex then decides to take a holiday to Egypt for a week just four weeks out from the fight. I found this very strange and questioned his intentions, as did BAMMA. He then again told BAMMA, CPL and Virgin Media he was going to fight.
“Upon BAMMA constantly questioning his lack of dedication, Alex’s representatives stated that he is just not in shape and is not prepared enough to fight. From my perspective I am so angry at the way he has disrespected me in his behaviour.
“He has shown no concern for the money I have spent travelling back and forth and in camp for this fight. I’m sure Alex has no concern...he is living off his celebrity wife, but for me as a fighter trying to make enough money just to be able to eat and pay my rent I am seriously out of pocket.”
Champion seeking new foe
Watson is now hoping a high-calibre opponent from the United States can be found. While this may appease hardcore fans of MMA in this country, it may not save this card in the eyes of the mainstream public.
I can only hope that those with tickets still turn up on the night and the people at home still tune in because Watson deserves the chance to fight in front of a major audience.
Maybe the UK will then embrace a mixed martial artist for the right reasons—his talent!