Niko Puhakka barred from fighting in Ireland for political reasons
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Niko Puhakka barred from fighting in Ireland for political reasons
From Sherdog:

Quote:Irish Org Pulls Niko Puhakka from Feb. 9 Card After ‘Negative Feedback’ Over Neo-Nazi Ties

Irish promotion Celtic Gladiator has removed Finnish fighter Niko Puhakka from its Feb. 9 card after an online campaign from an anti-fascist organization.

The Dublin-based fight league Monday issued a statement confirming that lightweight Puhakka, who has long attracted controversy due to his neo-Nazi tattoos and associations, will no longer face “The Ultimate Fighter” alum Wesley Murch at Celtic Gladiator 6 “Day of War.”

From Celtic Gladiator’s website:

Due to the controversy surrounding the fighter Niko Puhhaka, the organisers of Celtic Gladiator decided to cancel the fight that was scheduled to take place on 9 February at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin. Celtic Gladiator have signed the contract with Niko Puhakka basing only on his performance and achievements in sports. We as an organization do not judge our fighter by race, color, religion or beliefs.

Unfortunately, the amount of negative feedback regarding the fighter forced us to make a decision of removing his name from fight card. This, however, does not mean that the fighter Wesley Murch will not appear on the event, he will be assigned a new opponent shortly.
The decision to include Puhakka on the card had drawn criticism from Anti Fascist Action Ireland, who responded to Monday’s removal by winding down their campaign and stating that the organization has “nothing against the sport MMA, just the presence of a known neo-Nazi sympathizer.”


For his part, Puhakka released a handwritten statement last week disavowing any neo-Nazi beliefs and offering to fight in a rash guard.

Here’s what Sherdog.com’s own Jordan Breen had to say on the subject:

Hurrah for socially conscious, grassroots MMA activism. An incident like this incident calls to mind the recent quandaries surrounding fighters like Brandon Saling and Dan McGuane. Puhakka has gone to lengths to cover up-and-or-atone for his Neo-Nazi past -- his infamous “Blood and Honour” tattoo was covered up, along with others, as he mentions in the hand-written letter -- but it does so little in combating the “Nazi fighter” stigma that has shrouded him for years.

Puhakka did the best thing possible in trying to start a new chapter in his life, though I would advise a word processor and an English-Finnish fluent copy editor next time. But, Celtic Gladiator are a promotion selling a fight product, and it would have been reckless and negligent for them to not respond to fans petitioning them.

There's never an easy solution in a situation like this, so, here is a slightly-related James McSweeney joke: RethinkTheInkLaserTattooRemoval.com.

http://www.sherdog.com/blog/Irish-Org-Pu...Ties-48847

Quote:Show cancels martial arts fighter over neo-Nazi links

By Claire O’Sullivan

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

A mixed martial arts promoter has been forced to remove a Finnish fighter from a show at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin next month after an online campaign revealed links to neo-Nazi groups.

Anti-Fascist Action Ireland led the campaign to have Niko Puhakka taken off the bill after photos were found showing the fighter with tattoos of fascist symbols and meeting with known neo-Nazis.

Niko Puhakka released a hand-written note through Celtic Gladiator last Friday saying he does not hold fascist beliefs and he has since covered up the tattoos.

"It is a pity that my past is still chasing me and I need to pay for mistakes from long ago," the fighter wrote.

The promoter said of Puhakka’s links: "Celtic Gladiator decided to cooperate with Niko Puhakka with sporting reasons, with a respected fighter. He is ashamed of views that he once preached."

The controversy refused to go away, however, as he was pictured with neo-Nazis as recently as November. He has had previous bouts in England and Poland pulled due to his links with neo-Nazis.

Yesterday the Celtic Gladiator board confirmed they were removing Puhakka from the bill due to the controversy saying, "Celtic Gladiator have signed a contract with Niko Puhakka basing only on his performance and achievements in sports.

"We as an organisation do not judge our fighter by race, colour, religion or beliefs."

During a fight in Poland, Puhakka displayed a neo-Nazi Blood & Honour tattoo on his chest.



This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Tuesday, January 08, 2013

http://www.irishexaminer.com/archives/20...18878.html

This is BS. Puhakka has never been anything but a gentlemanly sportsman in the ring.

"Devil, I am devil." ― Pekka Siitoin
2013 Jan 12 03:06
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Susi
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RE: Niko Puhakka barred from fighting in Ireland for political reasons
I guess what matters to them more is his (alleged) conduct outside of the ring... I don't really think it's that important, you don't really see it in other sports. The press certainly reports often on footballers and WAGs but there doesn't appear to be the same kind of consequences in those situations...

"Имеют. Знают. Это ты, брат, еще не знаешь"
2013 Jan 12 03:48
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Mustapaita
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RE: Niko Puhakka barred from fighting in Ireland for political reasons
(2013 Jan 12 03:48)Susi Wrote:  I guess what matters to them more is his (alleged) conduct outside of the ring... I don't really think it's that important, you don't really see it in other sports. The press certainly reports often on footballers and WAGs but there doesn't appear to be the same kind of consequences in those situations...

What mattered was the AFA-campaign to have him taken off the event. They pressured the organizer to do it. Besides, he doesn't even espouse his beliefs anywhere.

"Devil, I am devil." ― Pekka Siitoin
2013 Jan 12 11:30
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Kat
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RE: Niko Puhakka barred from fighting in Ireland for political reasons
It's about the same as with that female German Olympic rower who was sent home from the Olympics because there were claims that her boyfriend was a neo-Nazi.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-...-Nazi.html

It's actually quite upsetting that you can't take part in sports events if you or even one of your family members hold the "wrong" political ideas. sad
2013 Jan 12 15:49
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