A tame end to the Ultimate Challenge 22 main event (broadcast on PPV in the UK) between Alex Reid and Jason “Badass” Barrett last weekend begat accusations of a work, with UFC fighters Dan Hardy and Michael Bisping among those questioning the legitimacy of the outcome on their respective twitter feeds.

Alex Reid snapped an eight-fight losing streak with his first round submission victory over the smaller Barrett (whose record falls to 3-7), although many fans apparently feel short-changed by the contest- as testified by the harsh response on MMA forums.

The fight itself was only the latest controversy; a modest amount of opprobrium had already been directed towards the lengthy build-up, which involved a number of unsubtle publicity stunts intended to promote the fight, not least of which was an appearance by Barrett outside a London restaurant where Reid was dining (video of incident after the jump).

Reid occupies a curious position in the UK, being simultaneously the most well known fighter in the country (a legacy of his relationship with famous glamour model Katie Price, despite their eventual separation) and, to judge purely by his record, a journeyman. It is unfair to begrudge Reid the credit for some hard fought battles with legitimately tough opponents, most recently a decision loss against rising star Tom “Kong” Watson. Yet, his pseudo-celebrity status can be misused as well as harnessed to further the credibility of the sport and, in drawing attention to events such as this, the idiom of “any publicity is good publicity” will be stretched to its very limit.

Dave O Donnell, the promoter of UCMMC, has himself cultivated a controversial persona, frequently employing faux gangster mannerisms in efforts to promote his shows, and has shown no bashfulness in promising “spark outs” on his fight cards. Nonetheless, he has been the driving force behind some highly successful UK events, including Cage Rage at its peak with fighters such as Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort included under its mockney gangster styled umbrella. He offered a statement denying any notion of fight fixing in an interview with The Fight Lounge:

“I’ve heard it all before, this isn’t the first time I have been accused of fixing fights.” O’Donnell told us, “I got it after Tom Watson was beaten by Daijiro Matsui. You just get different class of fighters and Barrett probably wasn’t in the same class as Alex.”



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