Ed. note: WAMMA falling apart?
After serving in prominent positions with the World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts since its inception 20 months ago, Pat Miletich and Sam Caplan have jointly announced their resignations from the MMA sanctioning body, effective immediately.
Miletich, the first-ever UFC welterweight champion and a world class mixed martial arts trainer, had been serving as the company’s Vice President of Fighter Relations. Additionally, he had recently made multiple appearances on ESPN.com’s weekly MMA show “MMA Live” on behalf of WAMMA.
“Throughout my entire time with WAMMA, I’ve been sincere in my belief that the sport needs undisputed champions in every major weight class,” Miletich began. “To this day, I still feel that way and still believe in WAMMA’s basic principles. However, I no longer believe that WAMMA’s execution is where it needs to be in order for it to meet its full potential. Based on that and a growing difference of opinion with WAMMA’s board of directors, I made the decision that it is time to move on.”
Caplan first started with WAMMA as the Chair of its independent Rankings Committee. In early-April, he accepted a position within the company as WAMMA’s interim Chief Operating Officer following the resignation of renowned class action attorney Michael Lynch.
“There’s no way to sugarcoat it. When you leave a position you had planned to serve for at least three months after just six weeks, it’s not an amicable parting,” said Caplan. “But like Pat, I believe in what an organization such as WAMMA could bring to the sport. However, in my brief time as serving as its COO, I also share Pat’s concerns whether WAMMA will be able to accomplish all that it originally set out to do. I felt the only decision for me to make was to leave the organization.”
Like Miletich, Caplan also was clear to indicate that his support of WAMMA has always been an accurate reflection of his beliefs.
“For as long as I’ve been associated with WAMMA, I’ve asked people to look at what we had to offer and to pledge their support to our cause,” he began. “Some people offered their support while others did not. Regardless of what was decided by each individual, I always respected their decision but I am also especially appreciative of those who did support me by supporting WAMMA. I can’t thank them enough. I want those people to know that when I asked for their support, I was 100 percent sincere in my beliefs. Recently though, I’ve lost some faith in WAMMA and I am not going to ask anyone to support a cause I am no long fully committed to.”
In the time that Miletich and Caplan both served with WAMMA, the organization became the first-ever sanctioning body to launch independent rankings polls for both male and female mixed martial artists. The WAMMA men’s poll, featuring some of the most respected names in the MMA media, were also used to crown champions in both the heavyweight and lightweight divisions. Additionally, WAMMA also gained acceptance within the industry after ESPN.com’s “MMA Live” premiered its mens rankings poll on its past two episodes.
“I am proud of the work we did during our respective tenures at WAMMA,” said Miletich. “WAMMA still has its critics to this day but not nearly as many when we first began. When we first started, many people pre-judged WAMMA because it was a sanctioning body and since sanctioning bodies have hurt boxing, people just assumed WAMMA would have the same effect. But WAMMA has always been about trying to move the sport forward and I feel confident in my belief that during my stay with the organization, WAMMA did nothing but try to act with the best intentions. Despite being a sanctioning body, we never once asked a promoter or a fighter for a fee. In fact, in many cases, WAMMA went out of its way to contribute to the growth of several promotions.”
Caplan concurred with Miletich’s sentiment.
“I often have asked people to name one bad thing that WAMMA has done for the sport,” he said. “And when I ask that question, I never receive a straight answer. Instead, I would be told about all the ways that WAMMA could possibly hurt the sport. There were a lot of assumptions that were made by people that simply never proved to be the case. Since Pat and I have been involved with WAMMA, we never witnessed or partook in any actions that we believed would be detirmental to the sport of mixed martial arts. And the reality is that we spent a lot of time talking to people within the industry with the intent of trying to make MMA bigger and better than it already is.”
While both Miletich and Caplan have ended their association with WAMMA, they will continue to work in the MMA industry on a daily basis. Miletich will continue running his Miletich Fighting Systems fight camp in Bettendorf, Iowa and has also been named in recent months as a color commentator for many of Showtime’s mixed martial arts background. Meanwhile, Caplan will continue as the owner of the highly-trafficked MMA content site FiveOuncesOfPain.com and has plans to announce a new venture within the near future.