CW' Graham Boylan happy with no-contest call at 'Night of Champions'
LONDON – When MMA Junkie chatted with Cage Warriors president Graham Boylan backstage in the lead-up to “Cage Warriors 106: Night of Champions” in London, the Irishman was optimistic of a history-making night. But even he wouldn’t have expected the night to pan out in quite the way it did.
The stacked fight card delivered the goods, with the six world title fights at the top of the card producing storylines that will live on far beyond Saturday night’s event at the Eventim Apollo.
But while there were title shocks, come-from-behind victories and some eye-catching finishes, an action-packed night ended in bizarre fashion with experienced referee Marc Goddard calling an early end to the welterweight title unification fight between defending champion Ross Houston and interim champ Nicolas Dalby.
The reason? Blood. Lots and lots of blood.
With Dalby (17-3-1) bleeding from a huge gash above his left temple, and Houston (8-0) bleeding equally profusely from a broken nose, the cage soon turned red with the blood of both competitors as the cage floor started to become too slippery to stand on. It prompted Goddard to call the fight off midway through the third round, ruling the bout a no contest.
It capped off a remarkable night for Boylan, as the biggest event he had ever staged ended in unprecedented circumstances.
“I think we’ve had underdogs win, we’ve had champions lose belts, we’ve got bloodbaths, we’ve had fights called off because of bloodbaths,” he told MMA Junkie backstage after the event. “I don’t think you could put any more narrative into the ending of ‘Night of Champions,’ live at the Apollo, than tonight.”
After such an entertaining night of fights, you could forgive Boylan for feeling a little cheated that his headline act wasn’t able to reach a satisfactory sporting conclusion. But, under the circumstances, he said he was in complete agreement with Goddard’s call.
“It was getting to a stage where the guys just couldn’t compete,” he admitted. “They were trying to get their footing to throw punches (and) they were slipping. They were just bleeding more and more.
“Marc called me in – he was looking for me cageside and I jumped in – he was like: ‘Look, this has got to stop,’ and I’m like: ‘Look, I’m with you. Just stop the fight, call it. They can do it again.’ Live to fight another day, you know?”
The enforced stoppage left the Cage Warriors welterweight championship picture unresolved, as both men kept hold of their respective titles. Both Houston and Dalby had hopes that an impressive victory might lead to a UFC call-up, but the events of the night left both men bloodied, bruised and with neither man adding another win to their record.
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