BAMMA Featherweight Ashleigh Grimshaw should have had his 28th professional fight by now, which was originally scheduled to take place at BAMMA 19. But the former Featherweight Title contender finds himself on the side lines until at least May of this year, having had two opponents drop out against him at BAMMA 19.
“I got a call from my manager to tell me they had pulled out. They pulled out on the Wednesday before the fight and just didn’t leave enough time for anyone else. I think he is a coward, who looked at my record and realised he was in for a real fight.”
Grimshaw was originally scheduled to fight Orestes Bertran in a number one contender bout, however, Orestes pulled out of the fight and as did the unnamed replacement which BAMMA had managed to pull in on late notice. And the dream of getting back into the title picture for Grimshaw is quickly becoming further and further away.
“I was the number one contender but I am definitely not anymore. I haven’t fought since September and the division has been moving on. I am a realist.”
And for Grimshaw who has been in the sport of MMA for 12 years, the worst part of cancelled fights is the opportunities which come out of the back of a good performance.
“The missed opportunity is what frustrates me the most. It’s not like I can be living off the money I make as a UK mixed martial artist. I have never been in MMA for the money. I get paid very well as a British MMA fighter but until you make it to the big show it’s not enough to live off.”
Whilst clearly frustrated and emotional during our conversation, Grimshaw feels that BAMMA did all they could to help him out and is glad in hindsight that they didn’t pull in a lesser skilled fighter to fill the card.
“I have to give it to BAMMA as they could have gone out and got me some clown but that’s not the way to do things. They could have bought in some random loser for me to pummel and get a win over but that wouldn’t do any good for either of us.”
So what does Grimshaw think that promotions can do to stop fighters pulling out of fights at the last minute?
“You can’t control another human, you can’t control what he/she is thinking. Everyone wants to be a fighter until they have to fight. Punching people in the face puts them off.”
But could an increased purse for fighters help to eradicate the amount of ruined fight cards we come across and make fighters more likely to step into the cage on fight night?
“Yeah I agree that if you are being paid more then you are more likely to fight. But purses in UKMMA are not that great. Boxers for example earn triple what we do. If I had had 27 professional boxing fights then I would be laughing.”
Grimshaw finds himself in a difficult space in his career having reached a title shot at BAMMA 16 only to receive a fight ending injury in 11 seconds of the bout, to having two opponents pull out of fighting him at BAMMA 19. But what has frustrated him the most?
“I don’t know, I mean they are equally as bad as each other. I have now had two legitimate full fight camps and done nothing. I have dieted all the way down and it’s just terrible. The Tom fight really f*cked us both up, we both got nothing from that fight. I would have rather of lost that fight than it end like that. Nothing was gained from it. ”
Whilst Grimshaw will have to wait until May 2015 to get back into action the UK veteran is aware of his next opponent and he will be looking to return to the BAMMA cage with a view to getting back to the top of the Featherweight pile as soon as he can.
“I know who I am fighting but I need to get this fight over with and get a win. Im not the number one contender now and I am only looking at my next opponent.”
Be sure to follow Ashleigh on twitter @CruiserMMA