Police probe cage-fighting cancellation

POLICE are today looking into complaints which followed the cancellation of a cage-fighting night in Ipswich which was called off two hours before it began, leaving a £16,500 bill for refunds and advertising costs.

POLICE are today looking into complaints which followed the cancellation of a cage-fighting night in Ipswich which was called off two hours before it began, leaving a £16,500 bill for refunds and advertising costs.

Hundreds of people were left disappointed after fans spent £7,500 on tickets for the Raw Cage Fight Series event at the Corn Exchange.

Organiser James Bartram left the venue before the cancellation was announced and neither his fellow organisers, nor the Corn Exchange, have been able to meet with Mr Bartram since.

However, he said today he had no part in the cancellation decision and would help settle outstanding bills.

Ipswich Borough Council, which owns the Corn Exchange, has made a complaint to Suffolk police and agreed to refund all those who bought tickets through the box office if necessary.

Mr Bartram and promoters Tom Tailford and Stuart Chase are also understood to face a £9,000 bill for newspaper advertisements and posters for Friday's event, the cost of the venue and payments to fighters. Mr Tailford said he cannot pay it all.

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Mr Tailford, 23, of Lowestoft, said he has not talked to Mr Bartram since the weekend.

He said: “I've not been able to speak to James. What has happened is really upsetting.”

The event was due to feature the professional debut of “Ipswich Warrior” Pacer Allen, as well as fighters from Brazil, Russia, Hungary and Chile.

Fans had paid between £30 and £50 for tickets and driven from as far away as Cornwall.

Windy Miller, a Bury-based coach whose fighters had been due to appear, said: “It is frustrating and disappointing. The whole thing is a debacle.”

Some fighters pulled out when they heard Mr Bartram had left the venue and not enough fighters remained to put on a show.

Mr Tailford and Mr Chase paid the rest appearance fees of around £100 each but say they cannot meet the other bills.

Mr Chase said: “It has caused major problems and we are sorry.”

Mr Bartram e-mailed the Corn Exchange saying he had no control of the decision to cancel and did not know it had happened.

Today he accepted he had not been in contact with the Corn Exchange but said the night should not have been cancelled and claimed Mr Tailford had not contacted him

He said: “No-one is trying to screw anyone. The first I knew of the cancellation was when I turned up at the venue.

“I will contribute to paying the bills.”

He said he had pulled out of the Cage Fighting business on Friday because he disagreed with Mr Tailford about how to run it and said the money from the takings had gone to his father, who had invested in putting on the night.

A Suffolk police spokesman said: “We have had a complaint from the council and are looking into it.”

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