Parke: KSW reviewing decision after bite controversy, wants rematch

Norman Parke came up short against lightweight champion Mateusz Gamrot at the record-breaking KSW 39 event in Warsaw on Saturday night. The closely contested bout had fans on the edge of their seats, but it will most likely be remembered for the biting controversy that occurred in the second round.

Parke was holding onto a front choke after sprawling into Gamrot’s takedown. As a replay later proved, Gamrot bit down on Parke’s finger, which led to the Bushmills man giving up top position and the champion landing his most significant attacks of the round.

According to Parke, KSW is reviewing the fight footage today to see if there is an argument to overturn the decision.

“There have been situations where decisions have been overturned for various reasons in the past. I’ve been in contact with KSW and they have told me they are reviewing the footage today.

“If KSW comes back to me and say the decision stands, that’s fair enough, but their champion knows what happened and so do the Polish people.”

Parke relayed the situation that led to the illegal bite:

“It must have been the sixth or seventh time he shot in on me at that stage. When I stuffed it that time, I started working for the guillotine. For whatever reason, he seemed happy to hang in that position.

“I was trying to restrict his breathing. I was cupping my hand under his chin in a front headlock.

“Next thing I know, he snuck my wedding band finger into his mouth and he bit down. It was as clear as day. He bit me, there’s no doubt about it.”

The decision has been debated a lot in Ireland. Many see Gamrot as the clear winner of the first round, and Parke the clear winner of the third. The decision likely came down to who won the second round, and as Parke sees it, Gamrot’s biggest spell of dominance came from the infringement.

“Immediately after the fight I was saying, ‘He’s the champ, you’ve got to give it to him’, but then I watched the fight and I realized the impact it had on the scoring of the fight.

“When I reacted to the bite, it led to his best attack of the round. He got on top and was punching me while I was trying to explain what had happened to the referee.

“(The second round) was what the decision came down to. If he didn’t get that position from the bite, I think I would have won that round.”

After the fight, Gamrot claimed that he had bitten Parke because the Northern Irish fighter had tried to fishhook him, another illegal technique, but the Next Generation fighter can’t make sense of the accusation.

“After the fight, he said I had fish-hooked him, but when everything was going down he didn’t say a word about it. As I was complaining to the referee, he said nothing.

“He said it after the fight because he knew he was in the wrong.

“Even if you were trying to fishhook someone, you would use your index finger or middle finger. It makes no sense to do it with your wedding band finger. It’s too weak.”

Parke believes that the champion committed the foul out of frustration because of the lack of success he had taking him to the ground.

“I could hear him grunting underneath my pressure because he kept trying to hook my leg into a single. I was sitting heavy on him and he couldn’t find another way out, so he decided to bite me.

“It was the only chance he had, he took advantage of that situation and it worked out for him.

“I confronted him about it after the fight and I told him that he was a cheat and he didn’t say a word. All he kept saying was, ‘You’re so strong.’”

Parke admitted that the fight was close, but had Gamrot been penalized it would have led to a deciding round. With Parke very much in the ascendancy in the third, he thinks he would have taken the win if the championship clash was pushed into another round.

“I felt I won the second and third round. I was pushing forward the whole time. I stuffed all of his takedowns,” Parke said.

“When they told us after the third round that there was a decision and there would not be a deciding fourth round, I knew he had been given the win.

“Look, I know it was a close fight when you don’t take the bite into consideration, but when you look at the impact it had on the fight, it was a huge moment.

“I think he was hurt in that third round. If it had gone to a fourth round I would have won it.”

As for the reaction in Poland, Parke revealed that he has received messages from Polish fans who consider him “the real champion” after what took place.

“I’ve had Polish fans sending me messages telling me I’m the real champion. They are his people.

“I want the rematch and I told Gamrot as much. He told me he wasn’t going to fight for six months.

“A champion would defend his belt against all comers, he wouldn’t sit back for six months, especially when there is debate regarding a fight that he won.

“I would have no problem with going back to Poland and fighting him again.”

A lot of Irish fans believed that the English commentators were showing bias towards Gamrot during the fight. Parke noticed the same thing when he watched the fight and recalled how his head coach Rodney Moore pulled the commentators up on their performance after the event.

“I felt it was a bit biased when I re-watched it. I met the English commentators when I was over there for KSW 38 and they’re good guys.

“They got on the bus after the fights and Rodney said to them, ‘I loved your commentary tonight lads’, and they went completely quiet and went to the back of the bus.

“We didn’t hear a peep out of them for the whole journey!”


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