The details surrounding Matt Lodge's official boxing debut have come to light after a scandal in Dubai that saw a number of Australian fighters left without purses and searching for a promoter who has subsequently vanished.
Just months after he was heavily linked as a possible contender for Paul Gallen's final fight, Lodge's boxing ambitions have taken a significant blow thanks to the poor organisation of a since-vanished promoter.
Fox Sports has confirmed that Lodge was supposed to make his boxing debut in a secret appearance in the United Arab Emirates over the weekend, taking his place on the undercard of an event involving a number of Australian fighters including Lucas Browne and Olympian Alex Winwood.
All participants are now back in Australia after the chaos that has left a number of them significantly out of pocket.
Just days after arriving in Dubai, the entire scheduled event was called off, with promoter Andre Spencer disappearing soon after. The event was reportedly cancelled due to a number of safety concerns.
Lodge will now return to pre-season training with the Roosters.
Both Lucas Browne and Mahmoud Charr were supposed to headline the event, and both have spoken out about the chaos and confusion that has reigned since all participants arrived in Dubai.
“(Spencer) didn't make the fight happen and he lied to all of us – the fighters, the promoters, the managers,” Charr said
“Now I come to this hotel and some of the fighters are on the street because the hotel was not paid.”
Paul ‘Showtime' Fleming detailed the personal cost the event had incurred on his arrival back in Australia.
“I've never been involved in anything like this,” Fleming told Fox Sports.
“Personally, it's also cost me a few thousand dollars from my Christmas fund – and I actually hear now that the promoter is on the run.
“He picked me up from the airport and says ‘we're moving the fight to Tuesday. Then once we got to the hotel things got weirder.
“A few of the Australian guys were suss (sic) because hotel rooms hadn't been booked, things like that.
“That was Wednesday, and by Friday everything fell to pieces.
“He kept saying he was going to meet us but never did. He wouldn't answer his phone.
“Initially there had already been a few question marks around the whole thing because our tickets were taking a while to arrive. People just kept saying ‘they'll be here tomorrow'.
“But once Lucas (Browne) got on a flight, everybody thought ‘OK we're on here'.”