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Martin Lewandowski explains having KSW champion vacate title, address crowd mid-show

Marian Ziolkowski chose to face the music in front of a massive KSW crowd.

The reigning lightweight champion suffered misfortune at the promotion’s highly attended Colosseum 2 event this past Saturday where he was scheduled to defend his title against interim champion Salahdine Parnasse in a unification bout. In the middle of the show, Ziolkowski suffered a freak injury warming up that forced him to withdraw and later he was asked by officials to come to the ring and address the live audience.

Parnasse’s interim lightweight champion status was later upgraded to undisputed, officially making him a two-division champion.

KSW President Martin Lewandowski went on The MMA Hour and explained why the decision was made to have Ziolkowski speak to the crowd of 50,000-plus at PGE Narodowy in Warsaw, Poland.

“We got the call that I need to come to Marian Ziolkowski — our former champion now — to his warm-up room, that he had some problem with his knee, and the doctor said he can’t fight,” Lewandowski said. “His knee is just completely, like, two different pieces. Unfortunate situation because this fight should have happened three times and that was the third time. Marian didn’t fight for a year, he was also injured, so there were, like, two injuries, etc., so this fight was in the air for such a long time and Salahdine Parnasse, he was training very, very hard. This fight was postponed, postponed, postponed, so we just said, ‘Marian, you need to come up to the people and just explain to them.’ … We need to explain to them, we can’t just blame only ourselves.

“Of course, that’s our duty and that’s our responsibility in the end, but you need to come up in the middle [of the show] and just tell exactly how you feel and we think you should put the belt in the cage and say that it’s vacant and now he’s going to just be former champion because with such an injury, I don’t think that he can come back sooner than 10 months or something.”

Ziolkowski were previously officially booked to fight at least once, this past November at KSW 76. A knee injury forced Ziolkowski out of that scheduled meeting and Parnasse instead went on to fight and defeat Sebastian Rajewski for an interim title. Ziolkowski and Parnasse were rescheduled for KSW Colosseum 2, where they were to serve as the co-main event.

According to Lewandowski, Ziolkowski was cooperative when asked to address the matter publicly, and Lewandowski praised him for his professionalism.

“He understood how serious this is,” Lewandowski said. “He’s really modest and he’s a really cool guy, so he’s never playing any tricks. He’s playing fair to everyone how he wants to be treated. Marian wouldn’t say, ‘Oh no, I can’t because my knee is hurting’ and then deal with it. I’m grateful because it showed how it was and not promotion tricks or something, you know how people got the crazy imagination.

“He said sorry because he was really waiting for it and when he called me when we announced Colosseum 2, he said, ‘Listen, the biggest dream come true. I’m going to fight in the biggest venue in Poland, one of the biggest in Europe, with the gladiator theme around. He’s from Warsaw, so really everything was prepared for that point, written in the stars.”

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