EFC’s Pena Barred For Four Years
The EFC’s bantamweight division has been on its heels over the past few months, as the fate Demarte Pena of has left the division in a sense of imbalance.
The multiple division champion has had a decision that cleared him of any charges for PED use by the South African Institute for a Drug Free Sport (SAIDS), has been overturned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Pena tested positive back at EFC 55 following his victory over then interim champion Irshaad Sayed. The fight would be overturned to a no-contest and Sayed would return to interim champion status while Pena was provisionally suspended.
Following his reinstatement by SAIDS, Pena would drop Sayed in the fourth round of their rematch in the season finale of The Fighter, and then Pena would later relinquish the title.
WADA would overturn the outcome of Pena’s SAIDS hearing and have found Pena guilty and must serve a four-year suspension and ruling the December rematch with Sayed a no-contest.
Prior to WADA’s announcement, Sayed retired from the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, and would explain that it was his time to walk away from the sport.
“I don’t remember much about this fight after Demarte landed a solid left high kick. 1 thing I do remember as clear as day is, as the referee was stopping the fight, I recall shouting to him to allow the fight to continue, protesting that I’m able to fight. Never have I ever given up during a fight, so me finally walking away from professional martial arts, isn’t me giving up but simply me moving on with my life. Thank you to my wife, family, training partners, coaches, friends and supporters that have carried me through a long and healthy 12-year professional career. I will always be a fighter at heart”
While Sayed has retired from the sport, the EFC would install him as interim Bantamweight champion if he decides to return.
“As Irshaad has retired he won’t be reinstated,” explained EFC President Cairo Howarth. “However, should he withdraw his retirement and decide to compete again, he will be.”
While JP Buys is the current reigning EFC bantamweight champion, like his South African counterpart Dricus Du Plessis, he has his eyes set on further promotional domination. Buys has been offered to compete on foreign soil and in the short term, has chosen not to defend his EFC title.
EFC VP Talent, Graeme Cartmell explains the future of the division, “We are loaded with exciting contenders for JP to face, but he is not accepting them. So, we have decided to create an interim title fight to keep the division flowing and ensure that the guys that are putting in the hard work to stay at the top, get their deserved shot at EFC gold.” Cartmell continued, that being said, South Africa’s Luthando Biko will face England’s Cal Ellenor!”
Biko versus Ellenor for the EFC interim bantamweight championship is confirmed to co-headline the EFC 75 fight card at GrandWest, Cape Town.
“It’s a perfect fight for them and they know they’re going to have to get their hands’ dirty,” elaborated Cartmell.
“It’s a real gritty fight with both guys possessing equally unparalleled skill, and the ability to stare down big moments and come out on top. The bantamweight division is about to have the door kicked wide open!”
This fight joins the main event of EFC 75 which is headlined by the EFC flyweight championship between undisputed champion, Nkazimulo Zulu and undefeated challenger, Gary Joshua.