New Territory Equals New Promotions, the UCFC in Pittsburgh

June 26, 2009

            This past February, the state of Pennsylvania finally passed legislation to regulate the sport of mixed martial arts. It took 19 months for the many committees and politicians to finally give the green light for MMA regulation in the Keystone state.  The UFC quickly capitalized on one of the markets, with plans to hold UFC 101 in August in the historical fight town of Philadelphia. But as diverse the state of Pennsylvania is, contact sports are popular throughout. On Saturday, this theory will be tested for the brand new Ultimate Cage Fighting Championship.

             Looking to make an immediate splash in the MMA world is the UCFC, headed by Kenny Holtzman, his wife Tiffany, and brother Gregg, owners of Still Standing Productions, LLC. The trio are going all out for their first event, Rumble on the Rivers, at Pittsburgh’s Mellon Arena. There is an impressive debut card featuring UFC veteran Rich Clementi against WEC vet Kyle Jensen in the main event, along with several other notable names such as Micah Miller, Phil Davis, and Paul Bradley. Also looking to pull in Pittsburgh football fans, former Steeler offensive guard Carlton Haselrig is on the card.

            In this family run and operated promotion, each person has their own job. Tiffany works with the outside ticket sales, while her husband Kenny works with sponsors, and brother Gregg handles advertising, promotions, and negotiations with the arena. Gregg is a businessman that attended Roy Englebrecht’s Fight Promoter University last year to learn the ropes of putting on a fight.

            “It was just the best experience for me, as it gave me the knowledge, and more important the confidence that I could be a successful fight promoter,” said Gregg, the VP of Still Standing Productions. “It allowed me to price my tickets correctly, realizing the type of show I was offering.”

            Englebrecht owns Roy Englebrecht Promotions, which is the third largest boxing and MMA promoter in California. He has run five classes at FPU, with Holtzman’s ending this past November. That’s when Gregg got the ball rolling on the event this Saturday in front of his hometown.

            “I wanted to bring MMA, a sport finally sanctioned in PA just this year to my hometown of Pittsburgh, plus I am a huge MMA fan,” said Holtzman.

            Home of the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, the arena holds 16,940 for hockey and 17,537 for basketball. MMA fans can think back of notable promotions like the IFL and Elite XC that tried to get too big too quick, however Holtzman says that’s not the case with his show. They’ve also been getting help from one of the sports’ biggest stars.  

            “Roy’s philosophy of any first show has to be the best, as he says “You don’t get a second chance at making a good first impression”, so we are spending more on the entertainment portion, as well as a few more dollars on the fight card which Paul Domenech has done such a great job in matchmaking,” said Holtzman. “We have had Tito Ortiz in town all week doing three to four appearances a day, so that has just make a huge impact and really build the buzz in town.”

            The Huntington Beach Bad Boy threw out the first pitch at a Pirates/Indians game at PNC Park on Wednesday evening as apart of his promotional work this week. Based on how well the nine fight card on Saturday goes, the UCFC plans to have two more events this year, and have plans to put on six to eight shows in 2010. Ticket prices range from $30 to $98.50 on ticketmaster.com. For more information, go to ucfc-mma.com.

Main Event- Rich Clementi vs. Kyle Jensen

Co-Main Event- Micah Miller vs. JC Pennington

Co-Main Event- Phil Davis vs. David Baggett

Paul Bradley vs. Leonardo Pecanha

Carlton Haselrig vs. Shawn Jorden

James Brasco vs. Matt Brown

Dave Sachs vs. Brock Kerry

Angela Magana vs. Meghan Wright

Joe DeMore vs. Jason Trzewieczynski

 

 

 

 

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