It’s the same fight on the same night, just in a different city with a different promotion.
Last Friday, New Zealand lightweight B.J. Bland received word that the event he was scheduled to compete on this weekend had been cancelled. He’d been booked to headline the inaugural card of the Powerplay Caged Series in Melbourne in a fight that had been postponed from October.
“Quicksand” also works as part-time landscaper, and after finishing up work last week, he checked his phone and heard the news via Facebook from his opponent, Callan Potter, and coach, Eugene Bareman of City Kickboxing. With the good majority of an eight-week camp behind him, Bland was eager to salvage the fight on another promotion
“Half of me was hopeful that the fight would go ahead and I just tried to focus on that, and the other half, yeah if it didn’t, I would’ve been like really gutted,” Bland told EMG.
“The second week out from the fight is like the hardest week of training and we’d just got to the end of that.”
That promotion was Eternal. Eternal 40 will take place at the WA Italian Club in Perth this Saturday, December 8.
“I was on a plane to Adelaide and I switched my phone on when I landed and it was just inundated with fighters from that organisation that were just trying to re-match their fights, because we have a show the same night,” Eternal Director Ben Vickers told EMG.
One of those fighters was Callan Potter, Eternal’s current lightweight champion.
“I’ve got a good relationship with Callan. We’ve always been good friends and stuff like that. And he just rang me and said, ‘Look, I really, really need to fight.’ He’s from Melbourne and he wants to be on the Melbourne card for the UFC next year, and he feels like if he gets this fight in, gets a win, he’s got more of a chance than he would’ve had if he didn’t.”
Ultimately, three fighters from Powerplay were added to Eternal. Potter, Bland and John Martin Fraser – who was matched with New Zealander Carlos Ulberg. This meant some re-organising for Vickers.
“So last-minute medicals, bloods, registration with the Western Australian Combat Sports Commission, flights, accommodation had to be changed. It was a serious headache that I didn’t need and I didn’t actually want.”
But as a coach with a staple of 20 fighters, Vickers says Eternal’s first priority is the fighters and believes that not enough of a deal is made about promotions cancelling their shows.
“Obviously, we want to make money and be a successful business, but we genuinely do it for the fighters.”
EMG reached out to Powerplay Promotions for comment but did not receive a response.
Bland (13-9) is now set to headline Eternal 40 in a matchup he’s eagerly anticipated.
“It’s one I’ve wanted for a long time. [Potter’s] one of – or maybe even – the top lightweight in Oz, so yeah I’m just stoked to be able to fight him,” he told EMG.
And despite the headache, Vickers is sure the card this weekend was worth it.
“It is good for the promotion. 100%. This show for Eternal was meant to be a small show to just wrap up the year, like local amateur fights and a couple of fly-ins, and it’s turned into sort of a big card,” he said.
“[People] should be looking forward to well-matched fights, some of the best fighters in the country and some of the best upcoming local fighters putting it all on the line for their entertainment in an iconic Western Australian fight venue with an atmosphere to match.”
Eternal 40 takes place at the WA Italian Club in Perth this Saturday, December 8. There are a few tickets remaining available via Eventbrite and the event will be streamed on pay-per-view via this link.
See the full Eternal 40 line-up below:
- Callan Potter vs. B.J. Bland
- Luke Jones vs. Jesse Medina
- Carlos Ulberg vs. John Fraser
- Dan Jones vs. Mark Familari
- Josh Della vs. Glen Pettigrew
- Bevan Chia vs. DJ Bowron
- James Wong vs. Liu Faleono
- Jake Newton vs. Cody Haddon
- Kristy Obst vs. Thuy Nguyen
- Connor Small vs. Wade McConnell
- Abdullah Eltigani vs. Yury Bonne
- Stefan Licastro vs. Quillan Salkild
- Zach Platt vs. Kane Rickus