Promoter Hits Century Mark

June 27, 2008

The business of promoting mixed martial arts events is fraught with failure, from the national level on down to your local show. Often a promotion can last just a few shows, or in the case of the recent Godz of War promotion not even make it out of the box for their first show. In such an environment, it is worth giving kudos to a promoter that has stood the test of time. One such promotion is Monte Cox’s Extreme Challenge, which celebrates it’s 100th installment this Saturday night. Monte’s recipe for success at the local level comes from measured expectations and a good mix of performers for his shows:

“It’s kind of neat,” Cox said. “We’ve got a mixture of good, quality guys, and then some of the old guys.
That’s been the beauty of the Extreme Challenge circuit, Cox said. After 12 years, it still is focused on developing the top up-and-coming talent in the Midwest while also bringing back fighters who have taken their careers to a higher level.

“We said all along we want to be the Triple-A of MMA,” Cox said. “We want to develop guys, bring the best guys that we develop to the Extreme Challenge and try to give them a chance to show what they can do and then move them on to bigger shows.” extends it’s congratulations to Monte for his 100th show.

Developing The Northeast

June 27, 2008 has spoken in the past about the NorthEastern United States being an area ripe for further development on the local, regional, and national level. The UFC has been negligent in providing a regular stream of shows to this quadrant of the country, which is providing an opportunity for other national and regional promoters to exploit this region. The IFL had tried to institute this gameplan before recently going into hiatus and EliteXC chose the NJ area recently as the host of their CBS debut.

Some have spoken in the past about the expense of advertising your shows with the high cost of using the mass media outlets. A different tack would be to build the area on a grass roots level through other means. Sites like John Moody’s Tri-State Fighter are excellent steps towards pulling together this region as a coherent market that should sustain itself. Tri-State Fighter is directed at covering the world of MMA focused solely on NY, NJ & CT, with emphasis on individual fighters, coaches, trainers and regional gyms. Having sites like this will help to cultivate a local fanbase that will turn out for the local shows, big and small.

Affliction VP: Major Marketing Push Ahead

June 26, 2008

Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio spoke with recently and shed some light on the heretofore minimal marketing efforts for their July 19th Affliction: Banned PPV.

“Right now, we haven’t even broken water (on marketing) yet,” Atencio said. “We’re waiting until the push because we know a lot of people, especially the casual fan, they’ll forget about it if we push too soon. … We’ve sold about 8,000 tickets so far, and that’s with minimal advertising.”

Affliction’s marketing efforts so far have been on the viral and grass-roots level, including the introduction of a street team as well as partnering with retailer Buckle. One would assume this new push will include both print and television media at the national level.

EliteXC in Stockton

June 26, 2008

A little more information on the EliteXC Stockton show from the RecordNet:

It will be the first event broadcast on a major network television from the arena, and tickets will be on sale at 10 a.m. Friday. Stockton Arena has hosted MMA events in the past, but not by a national organization. Arena capacity is 9,835, and ticket prices will range from $35-$700.

Former ProElite CEO Doug DeLuca commented on the venue:

“Stockton, to us, is a great MMA town and there’s been a lot of good fighters from the area, including Nick,” said Douglas DeLuca, chief executive officer of Pro Elite. “It’s in proximity to a lot of cities and has a beautiful arena. It’s what we were looking for.”

MMA Fantasy Camp

June 26, 2008

With salaries for mixed martial artists still in the developing stage, fighters and agents are always looking for new ways to add additional revenue streams. One such idea is the MMA fantasy camp. While seminars are for the more advanced practitioners of the martial arts, these fantasy camps give a way to tap into the more mainstream and casual MMA fan. One such fantasy camp is being put on this Friday in Simi Valley, California. The LA Daily News has more info:

The Tarzana-based Paradise Warrior Retreat will bring legends, world champions and elite coaches together with local fighters and fight fans for a one-day event that will include fights, training sessions and entertainment.

“You train with them, eat with them, party with them, get to know them,” Yoram Gazit, founder of Paradise Warrior Retreat, said in a prepared statement.

The event will feature Stephan Bonnar, Cung Le, Jon Fitch, Sokoudjou and Gokor Chivichyan as instructors.

You can get more info on the Warrior Retreat organization at their website. Clever marketing on the part of Warrior Retreat, they are thinking outside of the box and looking for markets outside of the usual seminar business.

MMA Start-Up: Uproar Magazine

June 26, 2008

A week ago I posted on monetizing your MMA passion by highlighting Garry Ibarra and his Graffight MMA clothing line. This week’s example of making your passion your career can be found in the new upstart MMA magazine Uproar. Uproar is a MMA magazine focusing on the MMA scene in Hawaii. Uproar is the brainchild of Brittany Yap and Hanalei Jaber. Both were avid fans of the local MMA scene but felt they were being underserved. The Honolulu Advertiser explains:

As their interest grew they found it difficult to find local MMA information in Hawaii, because it was mostly unorganized or nonexistent. A year ago they decided to fix that problem by doing the research themselves and came up with a business plan for the magazine. Aside from providing fight information the couple sees Uproar magazine as a way to promote new fighters, freelance writers, and fitness related businesses in Hawaii. “We want the magazine to act as a platform for people-a way to get exposure,” says Yap. The magazine will include profiles about local fighters and ring girls, health and nutritional information, and details on training centers.

That is the key in any business…. finding a constituency that isn’t being served and filling that need. You can also check out Uproar Online. It is a pretty interesting concept, a micro magazine looking to focus on a regional scene as opposed to a national one like Ultimate Grappling or Fight! Magazine. The magazine is looking to publish on a quarterly basis during it’s initial phase.

Jared Shaw Responds to Reports

June 26, 2008 recently reported information gleaned from industry insiders about Gary Shaw’s possible departure from EliteXC as well as CBS’s pressure to book Gina Carano for the July 26th card. EliteXC VP Jared Shaw addressed those reports in an interview with MMARated’s Ariel Helwani.

While Jared Shaw denied the reports, he did acknowledge that Gary Shaw’s role was evolving. Jared attributed the changed role to Gary’s commitments outside of ProElite (including boxing and his family) and specifically mentioned that Shaw would be playing less of a public role in the company.

EliteXC 7/26 Coming Into Focus

June 25, 2008

Press Release

CBS to Broadcast Four Live Fights (Including Two Title Fights) From 9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT; SHOWTIME to Televise Three Live Fights (Including EliteXC Heavyweight Title Fight) from 8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT

LOS ANGELES, June 25 — CBS and EliteXC announced today that the next CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS will be broadcast live from the Stockton Arena in Stockton, Calif. on Saturday, July 26 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. The four-fight broadcast will be highlighted by the highly anticipated rematch between “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler and Scott “Hands of Steel” Smith for the EliteXC Middleweight Title.

The night of mixed martial action will begin with three live fights on SHOWTIME (8:00-9:00 PT, ET/PT) including an EliteXC Heavyweight Championship match featuring Antonio “Big Foot” Silva.

In a second world title fight on CBS, two of the sports’ most talented welterweights will collide when San Francisco’s Jake Shields, who has won nine in a row, gets his long awaited shot at a world title when he squares off against Nick Thompson of Minneapolis, Minn., who has won 12 straight and 20 of his last 21 fights, for the vacant EliteXC 170-pound belt.

The world title fights are scheduled for five, five-minute rounds.

Also on CBS, hometown favorite Nick Diaz of Stockton , Calif. will face Thomas “Wildman” Denny of Hesperia , Calif. The talented Diaz, who will be seeking his third victory in three months, needs a win to stay in the hunt for a potential rematch with ElliteXC lightweight champion KJ Noons. Denny, a winner in four of his last five fights, is coming off a first-round disqualification victory over the highly regarded Malaipet on March 21, 2008.

Scott Coker Speaks with MMARATED

June 25, 2008

Strikeforce promoter Scott Coker recently sat down with Ariel Helwani of for a discussion on the state of Strikeforce. The show is definitely worth a listen as Coker speaks on TV talks with NBC (ongoing) and what to expect form this Friday’s card in San Jose. I highly recommend it.

The card on Friday should be interesting for a lot of different reasons. It will be the first Strikeforce in the San Jose area without Cung Le on the card. Cung is very charismatic draw for the company and has helped at the gate. Up to this point the promotion has been carried on the backs of Frank Shamrock and Cung Le. Frank and Cung by themselves on the card usually pull in the 8k to 10k range. Together they sold out the HP Pavilion. With Frank Shamrock nearing the end of his Strikeforce contract there is a need to set up new stars for the future.

This card should be a good judge of the drawing power of Gilbert Melendez. Up until this point Gilbert has played a supporting role on most of his Strikeforce appearances, getting second or third billing on cards that featured Cung or Frank. Strikeforce needs Gilbert to mature into a draw on his own if they are to continue to grow as an organization. I would consider anything over and above the 6k to 7K mark a success.

CBS Seeking To Influence Match-Making

June 25, 2008

With their increasing financial stake in EliteXC, CBS are exerting their power in the board room, but word is that the Tiffany Network is also trying to influence match-making and booking decisions. Sources indicate to that there was significant internal pressure by the network to have Gina Carano appear on the July 26th card with just over a month’s notice. The second CBS card was thought to be lacking in star power, with CBS seeking to bolster the card with Carano’s presence.

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