Maciej Jewtuszko: The Pride of Poland

By Frank Curreri

Until now, Poland has been vastly under appreciated in MMA circles. But the central European nation is quietly emerging as a hotbed for the skyrocketing fight sport. Do not be surprised if, within the next few years, UFC president Dana White starts publicly referring to the land of potatoes, sausage and sauerkraut in the same glowing terms as fight-crazy nations such as the United States, Canada and Australia.

My premonition, based on conversations with fighters and coaches with extensive involvement in Poland, is that the rabid fervor and fanaticism of Poland is a coming revelation that is going to blow a lot of people’s minds. When the UFC eventually hits Poland, expect to see the same rapid sellouts and frenzied fanbase that have been the hallmarks of established and recognized markets such as Toronto, Montreal and Sydney.

Having said that, hurdles remain for Poland to fulfill its huge but overshadowed potential. While the remarkably homogeneous population of 38 million people is overflowing with off-the-charts nationalistic pride similar to the Philippines, and is also rich with the same kind of tough-guy ethic that is prevalent in Australia, Poland still lacks the world-class MMA resources that can be found in the states, Brazil and Canada. Several Polish-born fighters, such as Bart Palaszewski and Krzysztof Soszynski, have fared well at the highest level of the sport, though they had relocated to North American cities at young ages and benefited from affiliations with top training camps. Tomasz Drwal, Polish born and bred, has also produced respectable performances inside of the Octagon. But perhaps none of those men is being watched as closely as a rising, homegrown product named Maciej Jewtuszko, a promising prospect with the best chance to inspire and uplift his nation.

 

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