Martin Lewandowski on cancellation of KSW events, ‘challenging’ months ahead for promoters

Martin Lewandowski | KSW

Martin Lewandowski’s KSW was among the first European promotions to announce cancelled events in light of the coronavirus pandemic and the Polish promoter believes that the global situation could produce one of the most challenging times for promoters due to the uncertainty that comes along with it.

Lewandowski has built KSW into one of the biggest MMA promotions in the world and admitted that he was forced into cancelling KSW 53, which was due to take place this weekend, as well as KSW 54 which was scheduled to take place in late May.

As a platform performed on by many fighters across Europe and beyond, Lewandowski underlined how bringing different nationalities into Poland while the coronavirus was spreading was one of the main reasons that the promotion made the decision to cancel two shows. He hopes that a show the promotion has booked for May can still go ahead.

“It’s been a very nervous month,” Lewandowski told MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast.

“We’ve been looking at the news and trying to figure out something to have a Plan B in case we have to cancel. Unfortunately, we were forced to do that due to the situation in Poland. Everybody, right now, is un isolation and all the massive events were cancelled. We thought that we had an alternative option.

“For example the massive event would be cancelled, so we could do the event without the public. But then, other circumstances were known, like in other countries the coronavirus was becoming very strong so we couldn’t mix fighters from different countries. All of our main events were a mixture of [nationalities], so it was useless to do it. It was pointless, it was too risky in terms of even putting the fighters and the teams close to each other. We decided to cancel KSW 53, KSW 54 is already cancelled and we’re waiting to see if the May show will be on or if we’ll have to cancel or postpone it. We’ll see, I’m watching the news a couple of times a day and trying to figure out what to do next.”

One of the main issues Lewandowski is struggling with is not knowing when the isolation period will end. He believes the true impact of the pandemic depends on how long Poland and other nations are forced to quarantine.

“I can’t even tell right now because it depends on how long we need to isolate ourselves from doing the business,” Lewandowski said.

“If it’s going to last a month or two it won’t be a huge impact, but if it’s going to stay half a year or a year of course you need to change your business model, or you need to find a different field to gather some income. It’s kind of a good exercise for the brain to find a way with so many obstacles. I’m not saying I’m happy because of that, but I’m saying that this is kind of challenging.

“Right now, there is no huge impact besides the sorrow, being sad because you’re paying the bills for nothing and disappointing fighters. We had to cancel it, we had to postpone it, so people who were involved have to wait for what’s next and I can’t tell them because it Poland it’s like two weeks of isolation and quarantine so it might be longer than that. We need to find different options, but it’s hard to know what the world will look like within weeks.”

In his sixteen years in MMA, Lewandowski believes the coronavirus is the most significant challenge of his career.

“I’ve been in the business for sixteen years already, so I think this is the most challenging because not much depends on us. Usually when you’re facing problems as a promoter it’s something I can handle, for better or for worse, it was in my hands. With this, you can’t control this virus,” he explained.

“I mean, of course you can because of what the government are doing , but still you are depending on the global situation and how the virus will grow or double up, or how the global economy [reacts]. We are living in a world where everything is connected, so the problem in China will now effect all countries around the globe. The isolation of the U.K., there are so many businesses which are linked, that’s why I say it will be a New World. People will come out of it a bit stronger and with a different point of view. We will change out habits in a better way.”

Check out Martin Lewandowski’s latest appearance on Eurobash. It begins at 14:00.

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