“Cage Warriors is the show where I’m going to make my comeback and win the welterweight title.” – Tom ‘Kong’ Watson


Originally posted on 8th April 2019

Tom 'Kong' Watson
Tom ‘Kong’ Watson

Born and raised in Southampton, England, Tom Watson first started in combat sports at the age of 16, when he took up boxing.  A three-time ABA Southern Counties Champion and being awarded ‘Amateur boxing standout of the year’ in 2006 was his introduction into mixed martial arts.

Watson made his professional mixed martial arts debut on 19th February 2006 for a local show at the Copthorne Hotel and Resort in London. On ‘ZT Fight Night 1’ where he won via Guillotine choke in 71 seconds, he returned on the show’s second instalment on June 25th the same year where he won via decision.

In 2007, Watson competed in five fights for UK promotion Cage Rage gaining a record of two wins and three losses.  From 2008 – 2012 Watson fought a further twelve times for promotions Cage Rage, AFC, UCMMA (formerly Cage Rage), MFC and BAMMA.  With his sole loss to Jesse Taylor at MFC 26, Watson picked up the inaugural UCMMA middleweight title along with the BAMMA middleweight title when he fought Jack Marshman at BAMMA 9.

With news that Watson has signed to elite European promotion Cage Warriors and will be facing Aaron ‘King’ Khalid at Cage Warriors 104 on April 27th, 2019 in Cardiff, it was only fitting that I should re-introduce ‘Kong’ to the world.

You’d be forgiven if you are not familiar with Tom ‘Kong’ Watson as of late, with his last competitive fight being on August 8th, 2015 for the UFC.  Spending three years with the world’s number one promotion in the UFC, Watson had two wins and five losses (with those losses coming by way of decisions) for the UFC taking his overall record to 17-9.

Watson was not done with competing and was still actively seeking opportunities to fight in the UFC.  Having no success, Watson was released by the UFC and continued to explore roles outside of the UFC, doing some commentary jobs here and there.  It was at this point that promotion BAMMA contacted Watson regarding doing some presenting and commentary jobs for them. They also wanted Watson (who had been with BAMMA since their first event up until he signed to the UFC) to compete again for them. This news was music to Watson’s ears as he had not hung up his gloves and retired as many people thought due to his 3-year absence from the sport.

Unfortunately, due to issues out of Watson’s control, BAMMA was no longer a viable option as a promotion to make his long-awaited come back on. Instead, elite European promotion Cage Warriors signed Watson in the welterweight division (Watson previously competed in the middleweight division) in January of 2019.

Watson trains predominately at his state of the art gym called ‘Analysis’ which is located right next to him in Southampton, and with the occasional odd trip back to California to train. Watson is already preparing hard for his upcoming bout for his Cage Warriors debut.

Deciding to cut down to welterweight was an easy decision for Watson. He stated that “quite a few people had told me that I should have been a welterweight when I competed in the UFC as I never really cut any weight.  When I look back on my career I do wonder if 170lb was the weight, I should have been competing at, so this is an attempt to test out that theory.”

Not content with winning a UCMMA (formally known as Cage Rage) and BAMMA title, Watson has made it very clear that the aim is to win the Cage Warriors welterweight title stating “I’m not coming here to have a bit of fun or have a couple of fights.  I’m coming here to pick up another title to add to the two other titles I have held.  I don’t know if there is anybody that has all of those titles, so that is my goal.”

With his first love being boxing Watson is in the middle of applying of getting his trainers license as he has a few guys who are looking to make their pro boxing debut so he can be in their corner.

/With the legalisation of Bare Knuckle Boxing, Watson has a couple of guys that he trains. Watson stated “it is not something that interests me, I do like the idea of fighting without gloves more than with gloves, I think gloves are probably less safe, and bare-knuckle is safer. It’s a big misconception that people think Bare Knuckle Boxing is more dangerous.  I’d say it is a lot safer as you can’t do much damage as you break your hands more and you don’t have this protection and mould on your fist to keep punching the shots away.  I will say though on bare-knuckle when they wear the wraps; I think it’s like wearing gloves and its worse, so to me, bare-knuckle boxing should be basically without wraps or anything.”

Going back to his time with the UFC, Watson stated “ I competed against the best in the world, and I have never got finished by any of them, only losing by decisions. Quite a few were controversial decisions at best for me.  Fighting is fighting and if you are losing a decision sport contest– well I’ve said it before, in the UFC I don’t really see that as losing, just the system and the setup. For instance, if we changed the UFC fight to a no time limit would of I lost any of those fights? I doubt it.  It is what it is, that’s the rules you play by.  Strategy wise I probably didn’t fight too smart. If you look at the earnings of the people in the UFC, I’m still relatively high up there, and I didn’t win many fights, so, on that basis, well it was smart – possibly.”

For those of you that have followed Watson’s career from the beginning, you will recall Watson enters the cage wearing a gorilla mask, hence why he has the nickname ‘Kong’. As Watson made his last appearance for the UFC in 2015, a new British fighter in the name of Darren ‘The Gorilla’ Till was making his debut for the promotion. “I’m not bothered by Darren Till” Watson states, “I believe Dan Hardy gave him the nickname ‘Gorilla’, it is what it is. I think everyone knows ‘Kong’ more than Darren Till’s ‘The Gorilla’.

“Darren Till is a great fighter, but I don’t think he is synonymous with a Gorilla.”

“Cage Warriors is the show where I’m going to make my comeback and win the welterweight title.”

With his debut for his Cage Warriors bout being dubbed ‘King’ vs ‘Kong’, there will only one way to find out if this is the start of a resurgence for Tom ‘Kong’ Watson by tuning into Cage Warriors 104 on April 27th live on UFC Fight Pass.

Ken Shamrock launches new Bare-Knuckle Promotion – Valor with a four-person Grand Prix tournament.


fighter-website-template--Mark-Godbeer

Photo Credit: Tracy Lee

The sport of legalised Bare-Knuckle Boxing – British fighter Mark Godbeer is taking part Saturday, 21st, September 2019 live on FITE TV in the UK and PPV in North America.

Born and raised in Bridgwater, Somerset in England, 35-year-old Mark Godbeer had always felt that his ‘hands’ could do the talking – not in the way you’re thinking, but as in a career in combat sports.

Back in 2009, Mark embarked on that career in mixed martial arts.

His first competitive mixed martial arts fight was on a local show in Bath where not only was he the headlined event he won the contest in 2 minutes via TKO.

A year after that fight, Mark got the buzz and had a second fight in which he won again via TKO.

With another four fights that year, Mark won two contests via TKO and two via submission.  The two fights Mark had in 2011 were a mixture where he won one via TKO and lost to a TKO himself, his first loss as a pro.

Having had been signed to now-defunct promotion BAMMA, Mark had more than his fair share of success winning all four of those contests and even winning the prestigious BAMMA World Title Belt.

After his success with BAMMA, Mark got called up to the UFC in 2016, which was an achievement and all hard work had paid off.

It was in the UFC (2017) that Mark had never gone the full three rounds and it was left in the judge’s hand to score the fight – they scored it in favour of Mark winning via unanimous decision.

After amassing a record of 13 wins (9 of those coming by way of TKO) and four losses, Mark decided to hang up his 4oz gloves. However, that retirement was short-lived as Mark signed to ACA – Absolute Championship Akhat (formerly known as ACB – Absolute Championship Berkut), which has also given himself another new goal to reach.

“My MMA contract with ACA is still active, and  I can talk to my management (Duello Sports Management) they respect what I have to say “ stated Mark “They’ve been really good to me as they knew at that in my point in my career that I wanted to get as many fights in as possible and explore different adventures”

March 20th, 2019 will always be a date that Mark fondly recalls, as he was asked by the British Bare Knuckle Company who had been trying to contact him to fight one of their best guys at BKB16 at The O2 in London, which was also his BKB official debut event.

Mark won that contest against Mickey Parker who was 4-1 in BKB at the time and won the British Title, after that the offers came flooded in.

BKFC David Feldman who held the first legal promotion with it being sanctioned and commissioned since 1889 in June 2018 in Cheyenne, Wyoming had so many offers from people that he was inundated with prospects “someone reached out to me to fight in the heavyweight tournament that Valor was running” said Mark “They told me who was competing, and I was like they are all veterans of the sport, and I’m at the point of my career that I’m also a veteran, so yeah I said f**k let’s do this”.

“It has given me back the fire in my belly.  I love to box, and I love the rawness of BKB and the bare-knuckle.”

There is a total miss conception of Bare Knuckle Boxing, and that is where the hands of the fighters get wrapped all around the knuckles, which defeats the object of ‘Bare Knuckle Boxing’, some promotions still use this route; however Mark is keen to put us straight “They are completely bare, the only thing we have wrapped is our wrists so we can punch harder and then say an inch to two inches to your knuckles so that they are complete bare.

“The British version and Valor do not cover knuckles anymore.”

Having decided to have his training camp out in Thailand at Phuket Top Team with Boyd Clarke, for the last five weeks was mainly due to ‘boxing politics’ back in the UK with his very good friend Marley Swindells, Mark felt right at home with Phuket Top Team “I felt that I fitted in straight away with them, having no egos, and I knew most of them from being on the circuit anyway – it was a no brainer.” He said.

“I’ve been out here for five weeks with Marley training my a** off, and now we are here we are all ready to go.”

The event will be the first inaugural promotion promoted by UFC Hall of Famer, four-time Heavyweight World Champion and WWE Legend Ken Shamrock.

“With the four-match tournament it is the first of many I believe on Ken Shamrocks Valor Bare Knuckle show, having selected four big heavyweights, we are all just going to battle it out for two fights all in one night.” Stated Mark “We will have our first fight, then, later on, we find out who we will be matched with for our 2nd fight and see who will become the First Heavyweight Valor Bare Knuckle Champion.”

With Bare Knuckle Boxing taking off all over the world for the past year, or so fans want to see two people go tow to tow in the middle of the ring, once the beer starts flowing, people do like to see a good old fashioned fistfight. Also, mutual respect is shown to each other after they have ‘beaten’ the ‘s**’t’ out of the other fighter after their contest regardless of the result. Two guys/girls have had the b*lls to step into the ring regardless and give their all to their opponent and the fans for a fight they will enjoy.

Lastly, I would like to thank Marley Swindells for helping me get ready for this incredible journey, Phuket Top Team for welcoming me, Booster Fight gear as my sponsor and my management team Duello Sports Management.