Promoter Craig Icke to postpone inaugural ‘martial arts festival’ until February

For Craig Icke, today was meant to be the execution of his combat sports brainchild.

For about one year the Diamondback Fighting Championship promoter conceived of an event which incorporated various exhibitions of martial arts and athletic feats, in addition to featured Boxing, Muay Thai and MMA cards.

Given the indoor crowd restrictions due to COVID-19, Icke figured the timing was right for the proposed outdoor event, named APEX Sport Fest. The inaugural event, which he hopes to become an annual showcase, was scheduled for this Saturday, November 28 at Norwood Oval in Adelaide, South Australia. Ironically, the catalyst was also cause for the event’s postponement.

“We were close; we were very close,” Icke told Fight News Australia. “We didn’t have a community case of COVID for like six months. We didn’t have a single case. It was just returning travellers that were immediately quarantined, so it was a little out of the blue.”

Last week South Australia went into lockdown after a re-emergence of the coronavirus was discovered. Dubbed the ‘Parafield cluster’, the outbreak was linked to a hotel quarantine site in Adelaide and as a result Icke was forced to reschedule the event.

“It was a bit of a downer but at least we’ve still got everything in place,” he said.

Initially looking to re-book for December, there was far too much uncertainty on the situation for Icke to feel confident the event would come together. But not to be disheartened, he’s now looking to February next year.

“We’re waiting on the Women’s AFL draw to come out very soon, in the next couple of weeks, because they do play games at Norwood Oval. Once we get the dates right, we should be able to select a date when they’re not playing there in February and try to get it done.”

Ticketholders can get a refund, but the promotion is asking those with tickets to hold on for the 10 or so weeks before the show can go ahead.

A small idea which “just evolved into something bigger”, Icke believes it to be a completely unique event – at least in Australia.

“Initially, it was just going to be a martial arts festival with Boxing, Kickboxing and MMA as the heroes of the festival, and then bring in the traditional martial arts, like Zen Do Kai, Wing Chun, Karate, Taekwondo – that sort of stuff as well.”

Now, he says, the event will also include strongman competitions, arm wrestling and medieval battles – “stuff that’s a little bit different and unique, and some of these subcultures that don’t get the recognition they probably deserve that are still quite exciting to watch.”

I’m a Curtin University writing graduate born and bred in beautiful Perth, WA. My interest in combat sports started with an invitation to a Ladies’ BJJ class. It wasn’t long before I started to follow MMA religiously. Although I love training, I’m definitely more writer than fighter. I wanted to tell the incredible stories involved, so I got involved. I’m really passionate about covering the Australian scene and being a (teeny, tiny) part of growing it.