Glasgow has been stripped of the 2015 European Judo Championships only eight weeks before the event is due to take place following a row over a sponsorship agreement with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), it was announced today.
The UFC had announced earlier this month that they would support the Championships with branding, marketing and by promoting it to its audience of mixed martial artists (MMA), but the European Judo Union today claimed the sponsorship did not meet their "values".
The Championships had been due to take place at the Emirates Arena from April 9 to 12, the first time the event has been held in Britain for 20 years.
International Judo Federation (IJF) President Marius Vizer had warned last year that a migration of judokas to other sports would represent a "spiritual contamination" of the sport amid fears that top stars were being lured to MMA.
"The European Judo Union has come to the realisation that the British Judo Association (BJA) does not fit the EJU criteria to host the EJU flagship event," the continental governing body said in a statement published on its website.
"The BJA had entered into a sponsorship agreement which did not meet the EJU values.
"[The] BJA persisted in this, notwithstanding that it had been warned on a number of occasions that this arrangement was unacceptable to the EJU, which has a right under the event contract to approve or disapprove any sponsorships of EJU events.
"In their several e-mails and telephone conversations the BJA refereed to a loss of funding.
"In addition, the BJA missed the agreed deadline to pay the event license fee, which is also a breach of contract."
The EJU have already opened negotiations with other cities willing to step in but the BJA remain hopeful they can still stage the event, which they were awarded by the EJU in June 2013 and which is due to be an Olympic qualification event for Rio 2016.
"It is with deep regret that we have to confirm this news," said Andrew Scoular, the chief executive of the BJA.
"We have done everything we can to make the European Judo Championships a success, working tirelessly with our partners at UK Sport, Event Scotland, Glasgow Life and the EJU since being awarded the games nearly two years ago.
"We were excited to be in the final planning stages to deliver what would have been a fantastic celebration of judo for thousands of spectators and hundreds of athletes as well as another major sporting event for the United Kingdom and the city of Glasgow."
MMA has seen a vast increase in uptake following the formation of the UFC, which regularly attracts huge crowds across the world, particularly in the United States.
Scottish UFC competitor Robert Whiteford, a former judoka, had claimed at the launch of the controversial sponsorship deal on February 4 that it was "superb to see the cross collaboration between mixed martial arts and individual combat sports".
But the IJF have pledged to stop the talent drain which has seen an increasing number of judokas switching disciplines to participate in UFC, with American Ronda Rousey, an Olympic bronze medallist at Beijing 2008, the most high-profile name to make the transition to a sport which continues to grow at a staggering rate.
"Following discussions with the EJU we had cancelled the agreement with UFC to ensure we could still host the Championships," said Scoular.
By staging the Championships, Glasgow was hoping to build on the success of last year's Commonwealth Games, when judo had been one of the most popular sports.
Tickets were already on sale for the event and were reportedly going well.
"We are extremely disappointed to have had the European Judo Championships taken away from us in this way and for this reason and so following the communication with the EJU on Friday evening we have asked to meet in the hope the decision can be reversed to allow us to still deliver the event as planned," said Scoular.
But the BJA also revealed they are in discussions with legal advisers and said "until further notice will not be making any more statements on this matter".
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February 2015: Glasgow threatened with loss of European Judo Championships after UFC sponsorship deal
February 2015: UFC to help support 2015 European Judo Championships in Glasgow
November 2014: Former BJA chairman takes top role in mixed martial arts despite "spiritual contamination" warning from Vizer
November 2014: Migration of judokas to other sports would represent spiritual contamination, says IJF President