Exclusive report: Pride rules, missing promoters, and an angry Gilbert Yvel; this is what happened to “CCF 6: Bushido”

The poster for the CCF 6 show that never happened.

Okay, here is what we know. Colloseo Championship Fighting’s event, “CCF 6: Bushido” is not happening. The show was originally planned for July 23, then postponed until Sept. 3, to take place at Sangudo Arena in Sangudo, Alberta, Canada.

It was a fairly heavily publicized event billed as a throwback to the Pride days and the matches were going to be fought under “Pride rules” with a ten minute first round, soccer kicks and all that.

ProMMAnow.com (www.prommanow.com) first learned of the show’s cancellation Sunday evening when headliner Gilbert Yvel was a guest on Fist-ta-Cuff Radio, part of the ProMMAnow.com Radio Network.

Yvel, who was scheduled to fight Gladiator Challenge heavyweight champ Tony “Kryptonite” Lopez on the card’s main event, explained what happened:

“My fight is off. The promoter, this guy, I want to slap him. I was supposed to fight July 23rd and he postponed the fight until September 3rd, that is next week, and last Monday or better last Saturday we hear some rumors about this guy, so we try to get in contact with him again about tickets, about money, about everything, and this guy is gone, not answering the phone. We don’t know where he is, we cannot find him. … So four months of training gone. And no fight for Gilbert.”

As a former PRIDE and UFC fighter with 36 wins and 36 finishes (31 KO’s, 5 submissions) there are not a ton of fighters out there lining up to challenge Yvel and getting fights is not so easy these days.

Yvel explained, “Of course we get a lot of people who want me to fight but they pretty much only want to pay me like five or ten dollars and it’s always of course a little difficult to fight for that. Besides that, there’s not really a lot of opponents who can hang with me. So, yeah, it’s hard. But I’m ready. I’m ready to go. … I’m ready to fight anybody.”

ProMMAnow.com also spoke with Yvel’s manager, John Lewis, and he echoed the frustration of his fighter. He said the last time he spoke with CCF promoter, Pasqualino Santoro, was around Aug. 21 and said he was told Japanese MMA promotion DREAM was buying Colosseo Championship Fighting but was also assured the September 3rd show was still going to take place.

Lewis was supposed to call Santoro back to finalize a few details including plane tickets but said he could not be reached and would not return attempts at communication.

Lewis said he understands things happen. If it was a money situation or something like that, he feels Santoro should have at least contacted him to let them know something. Lewis said, “An apology wouldn’t have changed much but it would have been the right thing to do. It would be a lot more respectful than to leave everybody high and dry like that.”

ProMMAnow.com contacted Yvel’s scheduled opponent, Tony Lopez, who confirmed a similar experience. He said after rescheduling the event to Sept. 3 Santoro had been calling him about once a week to make sure he was training and in good shape, and told him not to take any other fights.

And then about two weeks before show time, Lopez still did not have a plane ticket and Santoro had stopped calling. Lopez voiced his aggravation, “He said don’t take any other fights cause this is a big fight and I need you 100 percent. That kind of got on my nerves because there was like two fights I could have had.”

At that point, because Santoro had already postponed the show once, Lopez knew something was not right and said he did not even bother trying to contact Santoro and has not heard from him again.

So what happened to the “missing promoter”? What happened to the show?

For the record, ProMMAnow.com was able to reach CCF promoter Pasqualino Santoro on our second try on Monday. He explained, “I stopped it [the CCF 6 show] because my Dad had a stroke and if anyone doesn’t like it, if you guys don’t like it, and you want to bitch at that, and I put my family first, then everyone can just hate my guts. … If I’m going to take all this negative flack from everyone because I don’t divulge my personal life going on right now, then that’s my business. But if everyone wants to hate me for stopping it because I cannot put on a show and support my Mom and help my Mom out, so you know what, whatever, everyone can just hate me.”

When asked about the comments of Yvel’s manager, John Lewis, who said he could not get hold of him, Santoro said, “John Lewis? Here’s the thing for John Lewis. Gilbert was supposed to fight July 23rd, okay? What medicals did John Lewis provide me? As soon as they sign that contract, medicals are supposed to be turned in three weeks prior. July 23rd, do you know why I postponed that show? Cause not one of the fighters that signed the contract brought me medicals. And they’re supposed to be turned into the commission two weeks prior. Two weeks! ”

Okay, so that is his explanation for the July show, but what about the September show, why were the fighters not notified the show was cancelled?

“Oh no, I’ve just been busy,” said Santoro. “I’ve been dealing with my Dad’s stuff, and what, I’m supposed to drop everything for these guys? They obviously didn’t drop it for me the first time we postponed it and then the second time this stuff happened with my Dad, and aside from everything I put my family first.”

According to Santoro there was nothing shady going on. He has just been busy working and trying to help his family. “I’ve got to help my Mom and stuff,” he said. “What I did was I took some extra hours at work to help her out financially. You know what, that’s me being a man. And with me taking on extra hours at work I just don’t have time to put the show on. So you know what if everybody is mad at me, I can’t fix them being mad at me.”

One person Santoro does not want mad at him though is Yvel, and who can blame him. He said, “I hope Gilbert’s not mad at me. Gilbert can pick the phone up and call me, he’s never called me, it’s always been that manager. And a manager that cannot provide medicals two weeks prior, is not a manager.”

Santoro said he still plans to host a show and CCF is not done, “It is going on. We don’t know the date. We have other things that went on beside the fact. So, there’s a bunch of little factors and then the [expletive] with my Dad happened, and I said I’m pulling the pin. … CCF isn’t broke, we have money in our bank account. We got all our money back from the commission. But I still have a job and I have family obligations that come first before anything else. So if I’m at fault for that, on the record, then so be it. Sorry, I have kids and a wife I’ve got to provide for and put food on the table. It was all good then we had a bit of a family emergency and that’s it.”

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