BAMMA’s welterweight champion, Alex Lohore, brings a 10-fight win streak into his second title defense this Friday against Terry Brazier.
In 2017, the 28-year-old passed two tests in the Bellator cage with flying colors, stopping Colin Fletcher and Dan Edwards, before returning to action for BAMMA to claim the welterweight crown. Ahead of the New Year, “Da Kid” defended his championship for the first time with a first-round victory over Richard Kiely in the SBG fighter’s hometown of Dublin.
Despite his activity, his 14-1 record and his ability to finish fights, for the second time in as many title defenses, it feels as though Lohore is playing second fiddle to his challenger at BAMMA 34.
“BAMMA announced the title fight against Terry Brazier without my consent, I hadn’t agreed to the fight,” Lohore remembered.
“I went on Facebook and I spoke out about it, I didn’t know how they could do that without me agreeing to the fight. At the time, I was saying that I wasn’t taking the fight because I felt it did nothing for me. Terry hasn’t fought for nearly 10 months. In his last fight, he won the RDX belt (secondary BAMMA title) and he hasn’t even defended it.
“To me, that fight was made more for him than it was for me. Eventually I agreed to take it, but I don’t really see what I gain from it.”
Following Lohore’s public criticism of the booking, legendary Londoner Brad Pickett gave his take on the situation in an interview with K1ANOOP, insisting “champions should fight everyone” and citing his protégé Nathaniel Wood as an example of a champion that does exactly that.
“I don’t think he understood that situation,” Lohore explained. “I wanted to fight Terry in December, but they went ahead and booked it in March. I wanted to fight the middleweight champion, Mike Shipman, in March. It annoyed me that (Pickett) used the interview to talk up his fighter and put me down at the same time.”
After Pickett’s comments went public, Lohore and the UFC veteran engaged in a back and forth on Twitter, which came to a gnarly head when they had to be separated at UCMMA 54 last month.
“(Pickett) ran up to me and got in my face,” Lohore said. “I said nothing and waited to see if he was going to throw a punch. I didn’t want to be the one who threw the first punch, he’s three weight divisions lighter than me! After that he went around saying, ‘I saw Alex and he didn’t do nothing,’ but I’m a professional, why would I get in a street fight with (Pickett)?”
MMA Fighting contacted BAMMA in relation to Lohore’s claims that his welterweight title bout with Terry Brazier was announced before he had agreed to take the fight. The promotion chose not to comment on the situation.
Lohore’s beef with Pickett has certainly helped to push this weekend’s title bout, but in a world where fighters who have competed less than a handful of times can generate notable petitions to gain UFC contracts, the fight probably hasn’t provoked the interest it deserves.
The BAMMA champ can’t quite put his finger on why the hype train isn’t in full swing, but he has some theories as to why things haven’t taken off.
“I guess I really haven’t been put out there by the media, they haven’t given me the push,” he said. “Again, with social media, I haven’t really been plugged by any of the big international names and those guys in the UFC know who I am, but they just keep it quiet — I see them liking my stuff on social media.
“I’m not gonna push it either. I’m just going to keep going until they have no other choice but to take notice. My performances will force them to pay attention.”
Lohore has already ticked off the majority of milestones that prospects usually have to complete before gaining mass appeal. He has won a title with a respected promotion, he has beaten a UFC veteran, he has an impressive finishing ratio (11 finishes in 14 fights) and he has put together a sizeable run of consecutive victories.
Should he successfully defend his title against Brazier at BAMMA 34, he will look to employ the same tactics as previous European standouts, Conor McGregor and Tom Duquesnoy, by claiming another divisional title.
“If I had to go to every show in the world, and take their belts, before I could go to the UFC I would do it,” he said. “I wanted to fight Mike Shipman for the middleweight title this Friday, so of course that will be the fight that I look for after I defend the belt.”