Poland’s premier mixed martial arts league could be heading stateside as soon as next year.
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KSW’s CEO Martin Lewandowski sat down with MMA Fighting to discuss the possibility as well as co-promotion with other organizations.
If you’ve never seen a KSW event, there are few such spectacles in modern sports. Elaborate entrances, dizzying light shows, Waldemar Kasta’s ominous voice echoing as he introduces to fighters with much fanfare. And of course, a collection of the some of the best fighters from not only Eastern Europe, but around the world grace the cage.
While the promotion draws the eyes of the public in Poland and many more from around the world, KSW has looked into expanding their reach on the global market. According to Lewandowski, KSW is bigger than the UFC in their native Poland. He jokes that people “want to train KSW” there. So far, they’ve held events in Dublin, Ireland, and held two shows in London with a third booked in the capital of England for September 14. Lewandowski believes the global shows have helped to put KSW on the radar and is looking to expand the brand further.
“I have a very good plan to do a show in Chicago,” Lewandowski divulged. “Maybe next year, maybe in two years time but for sure in Chicago because of the Poles who live there. Not only Chicago but also Boston and New York. Those three cities have a huge community of Polish.”
Lewandowski is realistic in his aspirations. He knows that UFC and Bellator have cornered the US market, so his goal isn’t to compete with them. The promotion’s main target is Europe. Lewandowski just wants to take his show to the United States to expand the brand and give a show to the Polish people there.
But should KSW go to America, Lewandowski wants to work with Bellator CEO Scott Coker, who he claims he’s already been in talks with.
“I’m in talks with Scott [Coker] for our next show. I want to hire one of his fighters. I want to challenge one of his top fighters against my champion.”
Recently, Bellator has been co-promoting with RIZIN. Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal and Darrion Caldwell both made the trip to Japan to fight for titles. Lawal lost to Jiri Prochazka at RIZIN 15 and Darrion Caldwell was choked out by RIZIN’s bantamweight champion, Kyoji Horiguchi on New Year’s Eve.
In exchange, the Japanese promotion sent over Rena Kubota to take on Lindsey Vandzandt and Horiguchi for a Caldwell rematch in the cage last month at Bellator 222. Horiguchi would win Bellator gold while Kubota would be choked out in the first round.
Lewandowski also said that they have been working with RIZIN on exchanging fighters and co-promotion, but there is a lot that goes into co-promotion or fighter sharing.
Some of the challenges mentioned by Lewandowski is the stake promotions have in fighters. Each organization puts a lot of time and money into making their top combatants a star, and to have them lose in another promotion can hurt their stock quite a bit. Lewandowski says there’s also issues with “the money and promoting” as well as being in different parts of the world.
“We are still working with RIZIN and with Bellator, we want to exchange the fighters. We are working also with BAMMA. So I think this is a good field for any kind of promotion because I think that we can gain, you know, each party can gain from this cooperation. There is no such situation where someone is losing; it’s a win-win situation.”