STATEMENT REGARDING NICHOLS vs WHITTOM REMOVAL
DEKADA OFFICIAL STATEMENT NICHOLS vs WHITTOM FIGHT REMOVAL FROM FEB 18th CARD
On Friday, February 3, 2017 Dekada made the difficult decision to remove the main event fight between Rob Nichols and David Whittom, scheduled for February 18th, 2017, at the Genesis Centre in Calgary, AB.
Dekada built a relationship with Rob Nichols in the summer of 2015 where it was decided, to give Nichols a “push” towards a Canadian championship title match, as he stated it was his primary goal. This dream was achieved by Nichols within two events and since, he has been successful in all of his bouts with Dekada.
It was also Dekada’s interest to help bring Nichols to a higher level by offering world title shots such as the WBO and WBU. After winning the Canadian title, Nichols signed a promotional contract with Dekada that would promise him at least four fights per year, either within Dekada or other promotions around the world. This type of contract benefits both the fighter and the promoter.
On June 4, 2016, Nichols fought Frank White in a rematch for the Cruiserweight Title. November 12, 2016, Nichols was matched against Michael Walchuk. In the meantime, Dekada was able to solidify a fight in Kiev, Ukraine, for a WBC (World Boxing Council) silver belt which he turned down because his ear was still sore from the Walchuk fight and it was too close to Christmas. This was understandable so Dekada decided to give Nichols time to heal.
Another overseas fight was solidified, for May 2017, in Belgium for a WBA Intercontinental title match with a five figure USD pay day which Nichols turned down as well. His reasoning was that he and his family were worried about getting seriously injured in Europe without proper insurance.
Dekada, as a promotion, puts a fighter’s physical and mental wellbeing first and foremost.
The decision to remove the Nichols vs Whittom fight from the February 18 card stems from the wellbeing of Mr. Nichols. Dekada feels that Mr. Nichols has lost his drive and momentum due to fears of being seriously injured and/or ‘maimed’ as stated by him and his wife. Dekada’s promoter, Michael Short, has many years of experience in the boxing business and felt, very strongly, that Nichols’ fears could have substantial repercussions on his career and affect his fights. This was already evident in the immense damage Rob took against Frank White in their rematch in June and almost being knocked out by Michael Walchuk in November.
“I started feeling concerned for Rob in his June fight against Frank White. He took a lot more damage,” said Short, “and seemed less prepared than ever before. I’ve seen this in other fighters before. His head seemed to be out of the game, forgetting to bring his belt, missing weight and showing up late to a weigh in”. “And when he mentioned the fears of possibly getting maimed when offered two great title fights, which was a red flag for me.”
Froma personal standpoint, Short felt he couldn’t live with himself if something were to actually happen to Rob after this matter was already brought up. “Professional boxing is a dangerous business at any level”.
During a long conversation on February 3, between Michael Short and Rob Nichols, it became very evident that Mr. Nichols was content with maintaining his boxing career on a regional level rather than accepting the substantial expansion that Dekada was able to provide.
A promotion must also pay close attention to the financial aspects surrounding the investment into a fighter’s growth. Subsequently, a promoter looks to make a return on the investment or, at the very least, expand the athlete’s career. Fans expect growth and when an athlete turns down two substantial championship fights, the potential for this declines, as does the interest from the fans.
If athletes are not willing to grow and expand their career, the chance of getting any sort of return on the investment becomes an impossibility. After turning down two major offers, the promotion felt that there was nowhere else to go and more importantly no chance of recovering the high five figure costs attached to our champion. Fans are used to and, getting bored of the same fight each time out and this became very evident in the declining number of tickets directly purchased for the main event, even in Mr. Nichols’ home Town of Cold Lake, where we promoted two cards in the same year. With offers for international titles, it would have given Nichols a much higher level of support and pride from the fans, especially being from a small town in Alberta.
Through it all, we still wish Rob and his family all the best as they were a big part of our little family from day one. Certain decisions must be made that not everyone will agree to. We wish Mr. Nichols all the best in any future endeavors he pursues and if any local promoters wish to contact Rob, we announce that he will be released from all contractual obligations with Dekada.
Dekada will announce the replacement fight for the main event in the coming days.