The status of one of Canada’s most successful MMA promotions, Score Fighting Series, remains unclear.
A flurry of activity erupted online last night as TopMMANews announced that SFS would be ceasing operations. SFS matchmaker Alex Caporicci seemed to confirm the news when he tweeted the following:
Disappointing few days. Saddened about SFS and just wish we had a chance to show what we could do cause we were building something special.
Fighters and fans alike then took to social media to voice their displeasure and eulogize the promotion, which started in 2011 and ran seven successful events in the province of Ontario. Much of the fan angst was directed towards the Rogers corporation, which is in the process of buying SFS’ parent company, sports cable channel The Score.
It’s no secret that there have been many job cuts at The Score in preparation for the acquisition, and it was speculated that SFS became another one of those casualties.
Wednesday morning, things became even more murky. SFS issued a statement through PR manager James Bigg, which denied that SFS’ demise was imminent:
Contrary to reports, no decision has been made regarding the future of The Score Fighting Series (SFS).
We can confirm personnel changes were made this week in relation to the SFS. The Score will continue to assess the future of the SFS on an ongoing basis.
To clarify, Rogers Media plays no part in the operations of The Score Television Network (The Score). The Score is currently operating in trust until the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission approves its acquisition by Rogers Media. All decisions affecting the network and SFS are made by the management and trustee of The Score.
SFS refused to elaborate on the personnel changes in question, but an email sent to SFS President Brendan Fyfe was met with an automated response noting that “Brendan Fyfe is no longer with The Score Television Network” and referring questions to The Score’s legal department.
Caporicci’s tweet certainly implies that he will no longer be involved with the promotion, and SFS commentator Robin Black – another prominent figure behind the scenes – posted a column today essentially eulogizing his time with the promotion and thanking those that he worked with.
The SFS statement certainly makes no guarantees that the promotion will continue to exist. SFS also told MMASucka that a rumoured event for March was never considered, saying “There have never been any plans for a show in March”, which seemingly contradicts what was told to certain SFS fighters who asked to remain nameless.
SFS fighter Lyndon Whitlock, who fought on three of the SFS events and is one of the more popular fighters in the promotion, took to Facebook to respond to the situation:
This don’t make sense. Personnel changes were made? This is code for the ppl that worked very hard to run SFS for the score got canned.
Maybe there hasn’t been a full decision made on SFS but canning everyone that ran it speaks volumes. I hope Rogers and the score find a way to run events in Ontario. But the SFS died with the dismissal of the hard working ppl that organized the events.
This truly is sad news for the fans, the Ontario fighters (even other fighters), and most importantly the ppl that ran the events.
I think I can safely speak for all the fighters here and say we will miss SFS. They always put on the best shows, and always treats us fighters with respect (believe it or not a rare quality in a promotion)
There has been speculation that the SFS statement was brought forth mainly because the company was not ready for the news to break. Somewhat cryptically, on January 13th SFS posted on their facebook page “Another promotion bows out. Gives you an idea of how hard it is to stay afloat in MMA”, alluding to the death of Strikeforce.
If SFS is indeed dead as it appears to be, then Ontario-based MMA fighters have lost the best place to ply their trade in their home province. SFS helped launched the careers of Canadian fighters like Jordan Mein, Antonio Carvalho and Chris Clements. It is also home to many Canadian fighters within striking distance of the big show, such as Whitlock, Josh Hill, Jesse Ronson and many others. As supporters of the sport and its athletes, we can only hope someone steps up to fill the void.