After fifteen months away from fighting, two-weight KSW champion Mateusz Gamrot will return to the cage at KSW 53 on March 21 in his native Poland.
The promotion’s featherweight and lightweight king, Gamrot is widely considered to be one of the sport’s top fighters in Europe. At 15-0, 1 NC, Gamrot has taken out all comers during his time in the KSW cage.
However, since moving down to featherweight to defeat submission ace Kleber Koike Erbst for the vacant title back in December of 2018, Gamrot has been conspicuously absent from KSW.
Rumors abounded as to what Gamrot’s fighting future would be, though a May report from Polish site Sportowe Fakty (Sports Facts) cited a vlog post by Gamrot that cleared up some confusion. According to Sports Facts, Gamrot said that he was not retiring from MMA, but rather said “dissatisfaction” with his KSW contract was to blame.
Per a translated version of Sports Facts’s article, Gamrot said, “I think and many of my managers and trainers also think that I didn’t get enough money,” with the report adding that the negotiations between KSW and Gamrot were “long and stormy.”
Sports Facts also reported that there was purportedly a disagreement to some extent over the terms of Gamrot’s KSW contract regarding the length of time and number of fights remaining intact.
While away from MMA, Gamrot stayed busy by competing in submission grappling, even reaching the pinnacle of no-gi submission grappling, the 2019 Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADDC) championships. There, he fell short to undefeated ONE Championship fighter and multi-time EBI champion Garry Tonon by rear-naked choke on the tournament’s opening day.
In Gamrot’s absence, KSW crowned two interim champions in his respective divisions. Young undefeated French phenom Salahdine Parnasse (14-0-1) captured interim featherweight gold, while two-time Gamrot foe Norman Parke (28-6-1, 1 NC) scored a potential third shot against his rival with an interim lightweight title victory.
Fortunately, despite the reported strife between the two, it now appears Gamrot and KSW have come to terms to bring the talented champion back to the cage. The Pole will compete in a lightweight non-title bout against UFC and Bellator veteran Edimilson Souza (18-5) in what will be the Brazilian’s promotional debut.
The news of Gamrot’s return to action closely follows the announcement that 5-time World’s Strongest Man and face of KSW Mariusz Pudzianowski (13-7) has withdrawn from his main event matchup with fellow giant Quentin Domingos (5-1).
A welterweight title fight between KSW champion Roberto Soldic (17-3), considered one of the best fighters in Europe, and Lithuanian legend Marius Zaromskis (22-9) will serve as the new main event of KSW 53.
Michael Fiedel is The Body Lock's deputy editor, a staff writer for FloCombat, and a Russell-Rice scholarship recipient at Vanderbilt University.