Shark Fights CEO Talks PPV Expectations, Amarillo, and Financing
September 15, 2010
Josh Gross over at Sports Illustrated interviewed Shark Fights CEO Brent Medley after making their PPV debut this past Saturday night with MMA veteran fighters such as Keith Jardine, Trevor Prangley, Houston Alexander, Rameau Sokoudjou, Paul Daley, and Joey Villasenor.
It’s no secret how successful the regional promotion has been in it’s home-base of Amarillo, Texas where they recently drew 10,918 MMA fans for their Shark Fights 12 Unfinished Business event. Shark Fights also touts holding the attendance record for an outdoor MMA event in Texas set in 2009 with 10,603 fans.
Medley gives his thoughts on what he is trying to accomplish with Shark Fights, what the reason is behind having single-fight contracts, and why borrowing fighters outside of his promotion (Trevor Prangley, Joey Villasenor, Tarec Saffiedine, etc. are all Strikeforce fighters) is essential for this event:
Waldburger, the Shark Fights 170-pound champion, heads to Austin on Wednesday for his UFC debut against highly regarded Californian David Mitchell. And while Medley would have happily promoted the 22-year-old welterweight Saturday night, he says he’s interested in raising talent that “makes it to the next level.”
What Medley believes will set Shark Fights apart from the crowded MMA field:
Few, if any, have ever had a mascot (for what it’s worth, Shark Fights is set to unveil one in a few weeks), which Medley sees as a way to reach mainstream viewers with a product he wants to believe is family friendly.
Medley on Shar Fights 13 PPV expectations and keys for a successful event:
“I knew eventually we’d push to a network or pay-per-view,” said the promoter, who hoped for 30,000 to 50,000 buys. “I wanted to do it backward from some of the other promotions we’ve seen. I wanted to make sure we had packed houses and the live gate was built up enough. The only difference is you come in and plug your cameras into something that shoots it out across the nation.
Medley also spoke to MMAJunkie before the event took place to answer questions about how this event was put together and how they were able to finance it:
“One of the great things is that I’ve got great, great investors who are committed,” said Medley, a former pro fighter who owns a 1999 victory over WEC contender Leonard Garcia. “They’re big fight fans themselves. … So I went to them, and we got separate money for this show. I said I want it (the event costs, including fighters salaries) paid for before the event.
“I’m a fight fan then a promoter. … Are we trying to play with the big boys? Is this event going to leverage our company? The answer is no. The event is separate from our day-to-day profile.”
MMAJunkie reports that Shark Fights gave Alexander and Sokoudjou “Fight Of The Night” bonuses:
Light heavyweights Houston Alexander and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou were each awarded $2,500 “Fight of the Night” bonuses for their performances at “Shark Fights 13: Jardine vs. Prangley,” which took place Saturday night at the Amarillo Civic Center Coliseum in Amarillo, Texas.
Shark Fights and Medley are following the keys to success for a regional promotion, which is first to build up a fan base and a home town (Amarillo), slowly building up your promotion with key strategic partnerships and deals (Sherdog, TapouT, Coors Light, ClearTalk, Hooters, Picture Lab Entertainment), and finally having enough backing and investors who are committed to your product where putting on a big show like they did Saturday night would not damage the company’s financial health or bottom-line.
It looks like Shark Fights has a good thing going here, using a footprint similar to what Strikeforce utilized to catapult to the #2 promotion in North America, and MMAPayout will keep a close watch on how they progress from here on out.