British Judo Association (BJA) chairman Kerrith Brown has become a director of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF), partner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), just two months after the UFC’s controversial sponsorship of the 2015 European Judo Championships led to the BJA and hosts Glasgow being stripped of the event.
Brown was present at the Malaysian Invasion Mixed Martial Arts (MIMMA) season three tryouts earlier this week, and although he describes himself as simply a “representative” of the IMMAF in an interview posted on YouTube, he is in fact introduced as a director on the video, which can be viewed by clicking here.
David Finch, a veteran judo photographer, has taken to social media to question Brown’s supposed move.
“I do not think that KB [Kerrith Brown] becoming a director of the UFC's IMMAF after the catastrophic UFC Glasgow Europeans debacle and travelling the world promoting MMA can be considered intelligent in the slightest way at all,” he posted on Facebook.
The UFC was confirmed as a partner of the 2015 European Judo Championships in early February, taking on responsibility for branding, marketing and promoting the event to its audience of mixed martial arts (MMA).
But, less than two weeks after the announcement, the European Judo Union (EJU) claimed the sponsorship did not meet their “values” and removed Glasgow of its hosting rights only eight weeks before the Championships had been due to take place at the Emirates Arena from April 9 to 12.
The EJU subsequently awarded the European Judo Championships to Baku and it will now be held as part of next month’s inaugural European Games.
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 UFC announced a partnership with the IMMAF on April 7 in a move “to champion the growth of safe, clean mixed martial arts at the amateur level".
insidethegames has yet to receive a response following attempts to contact Brown regarding the matter.
April 2015: British Judo announce independent review after European Championships embarrassment
February 2015: European Judo Championships taken away from Glasgow to be held as part of Baku 2015
February 2015: British Judo Association concede defeat in bid to reverse decision to cancel Glasgow European Championships
February 2015: Glasgow stripped of 2015 European Judo Championships after sponsorship row
February 2015: Glasgow threatened with loss of European Judo Championships after UFC sponsorship deal