16 for 16: No. 12 Alliance MMA goes public

December 22, 2016

Alliance MMA went public on the NASDAQ stock exchange in October.  The company describes itself as a “premier development league for aspiring mixed martial arts fighters.”

In an interview with CNN Money, its Alliance MMA (no relation to the SoCal Fight Gym) CEO Paul Danner outlined a plan in which it would sponsor fights across the country through regional promotions.  Its revenues will be drawn from the attendance, live fight access and attraction of national sponsorships.

More information on the stock can be found on Nasdaq.com.  Its stock symbol is (AMMA).

According to its company financials, its net income is -$223,941 and its total assets is $56,766.  Its total liabilities are $661,874.

Its initial share price is $4.50 per share.  As of Thursday, December 22nd, it is trading at $3.61.

In an interview with Alliance MMA’s Robert Haydak, the company wants to have a similar footprint to that of the WWE when Vince McMahon, Jr. acquired smaller regional promotions and became a national presence. They consider themselves the “NCAA to the NFL.”  Essentially, a feeder league for the UFC, Bellator, OneFC and others.  At this point, Alliance MMA has acquired 6 regional promotions with the intentions of more.

The company has retained former UFC fighter relations pro Burt Watson to be on its Board of Directors and serve as its head of fighter relations.

It’s an interesting strategy to raise capital and we will keep an eye on Alliance MMA in 2017 to see if it can execute its strategy.  Placing itself as a feeder league for the bigger organizations is an interesting niche and we shall see if there is a sufficient amount of interest from the public in purchasing its stock.

South Dakota MMA bill passes committee, onto House for vote

February 25, 2013

MMA Junkie reports that South Dakota Senate Bill 84, a bill which would regulate combat sports including MMA in the state is off to the state House of Representatives for a vote. On Monday it was voted unanimously for passage out of the Senate Commerce and Energy Committee.

According to the bill, SB 84 would appoint a 5 person commission.  The commission shall have at least one member with actual experience in boxing, kickboxing or MMA.  The commission would oversee, “all contests and exhibitions of boxing, kickboxing, and mixed martial arts competitions and sparring exhibitions held in the state of South Dakota.”

The bill would establish licensing fees and fees for events which would in turn fund the athletic commission governing these events.  

Payout Perspective:

Although the bill got out of committee, there is still opposition to MMA.  Opponents of MMA have tried to pass an amendment which would make boxing and traditional martial arts as the only combat sports regulated in the state.  Proponents of the SB 84 can point to an incident at an amateur MMA event last year in which a fighter died shortly after his fight.  According to one of its sponsors, the bill was intended to put a halt to unregulated MMA events in the state.  This argument had been taken up by Zuffa’s counsel in its lawsuit in New York.  It will be interesting to see the debate that will take place when the bill goes to the house.

Trio of Canadian MMA Promotions Merge to Create Aggression Fighting Championship

April 11, 2012

Three Canadian MMA organizations in Western Canada have merged to create the self proclaimed “single largest MMA organization in Canada”, named Aggression Fighting Championship.

Aggression MMA, Armageddon Fighting Championships, and AX Combat have now pooled their efforts in providing the best shows available to Canadian MMA fans under this new banner, which will now hold between nine and eleven fight events per year, with shows taking place in Edmonton and Calgary in Alberta, and Victoria, British Columbia – with expansion plans slated for the latter half of 2012.

The newly formed AFC will unveil its new branding shortly. Fight fans will get to see the new promotion in action at AFC 8 in Victoria on April 14th, AFC 9 in Edmonton June 8th, and AFC 10 in Calgary on June 15th. More details on these and upcoming events will be released shortly.

“Darren Owen of Armageddon and I have been seriously discussing the idea of merging for some time, and in the process reached out to AX Combat and determined that we had the same goals moving forward. We established that all three brands have similar philosophies of making sure that our fan base gets to see the best up-and-coming domestic and international fighters. So it made sense to offer fans across Canada a national brand, ultimately resulting in AFC,” stated Aggression Co-Founder Moin Mirza.

“This is by far the largest deal in Canadian MMA history, and I’m ecstatic to be a part of it,” said Armageddon Co-Founder Darren Owen. “It just makes sense to standardize matchmaking, contracts, logos, and production. Contracted fighters now have the opportunity to fight more frequently than they did before, which we are confident they will be happy about. With Armageddon’s current TV deal, the AFC will readily be available in 70 million homes, and now with increased content and expansion, the sky is the limit for AFC opportunities.”

“When AX was approached with this opportunity, I knew that I had a chance to be involved with something special,” explained AX Combat Co-Founder Steve Fader. “With partners like these, we all bring different strengths to the table and more importantly, this is a group that you can trust – a situation where you don’t need to be looking over your shoulder at all times. The deal makes sense for fans, fighters, and everyone involved, and I can’t wait to see how far the AFC can go.”

 

Payout Perspective

Mark Pavelich’s Maximum Fighting Championship currently has the title of being Canada’s best and most successful MMA promotion.  Others have come and gone, but the MFC stays standing with it’s steady and conservative style in developing it’s own brand. This merger is very interesting in regards to the Canadian MMA landscape, but we have to see what the newly formed promotion can accomplish.  Getting a TV deal and developing home-grown talent and a home base should be it’s priority at this  stage for them. The MFC currently hasTV deals with Canada’s TSN and America’s HDNet, which will be rebranded to AXS TV in the Summer.

 

MMA Investors Searching for Viable Competitor, Is It Worth the Risk?

March 16, 2011

This weekend’s Zuffa-Strikeforce purchase announcement shook up the MMA landscape in such a way, that many fans, fighters, and sponsors were left in limbo as to what the future will hold for the sport and business of MMA.  The announcement also created a huge void for a number 2 promotion in the market, an opportunity which some MMA investors are already analyzing and moving some money around.

 

Why would investors be interested in MMA at this point after Strikeforce was just purchased by Zuffa? Well, lets take a look at the events that lead to Strikeforce’s sale to understand why.

Showtime, which was a part owner of ProElite, spent a good amount of resources and budget to build up and kick-off MMA on the network. They were fairly successful in making stars within the promotion, such as Kimbo Slice, Gina Carano, Robbie Lawler and Nick Diaz, though they spent way too much money and accumulated debt of around $55 million, which lead the company to to almost file for bankruptcy, but instead chose to sell off it’s assets to recuperate some of the losses for Showtime.

Strikeforce and CEO Scott Coker were in the kickboxing promotion business all the way up to 2006, when they promoted their first MMA event in California, which was hugely successful and still holds the U.S. paid attendance record for MMA.  Before their first MMA event, they had a strong regional fanbase and following in San Jose.  SVSE along with Scott Coker struck a deal and created a partnership which slowly built up the company to the point where they were well positioned enough that when the Showtime was looking for a new MMA promoter, they were able to strike a deal with Showtime and Pro Elite to acquire their assets. Sherdog had the details back in February 12, 2009.

Strikeforce parent company Explosion Entertainment LLC purchased selected assets of Pro Elite Inc. for $3 million, according to a United States Securities and Exchange Commission report released Wednesday.

As part of the multi-million dollar purchase announced last week, Strikeforce acquired valuable fighter contracts, media assets that include the ProElite fight library and inventories that include all EliteXC-related DVDs. Various promotional and marketing materials were also part of the deal.

The asset purchase also lead Strikeforce to signing a TV deal with Showtime/CBS, a deal which was estimated to pay Strikeforce $25 million dollars in license fees over the course of the three-year deal.

In October of 2009, the Stratus Media Group acquired a 95% stake in ProElite for $2 million after the companyalmost filed for bankruptcy earlier in the year.  Although they sold most of their valuable assets to Strikeforce, they still maintained rights to the brand name ProElite (ProElite.com), Cage Rage, Spirit MC, and most importantly the EliteXC brand. The ProElite group, who put a bid for Strikeforce back in December of 2010, was composed of some original ProElite members such as Doug De Luca, William Kelly, Glenn Golenberg, along witch newly appointed Chairman of the board Paul Feller from the Stratus Media group.  It was said they raised enough capital to place a bid for $40 million dollars, though it wasn’t enough and was eventually outbid by Zuffa.

The other bidder for Strikeforce was from a group headed by Shelly Finkel, who is Mike Tyson’s manager and has been one of the most powerful managers in boxing for the past 30-plus years.  Finkel officially announced that he was leaving the sport of boxing back in June of 2010, citing politics of the sport as the reason he was driven away to where he got his start, music promotion under Empire Sports and Entertainment.  Although Finkel left boxing, he continued to act as an advisor to heavyweight champions Wladimir Klitschko and Vitali Klitschko, with whom he has worked for several years.  Empire Sports and Entertainment’s mission was said to become a leading media and entertainment company known for promoting the best events in concerts, music festivals, pay-per-view specials and sporting events around the world.

If we look back at some of those figures, it took an investment of $3 million dollars from SVSE and Explosion entertainment back in February of 2009 to cash out on March of 2011, span of 2 years, to be bought by Zuffa for above $40 million dollars. Being the #2 promotion or the “next competitor to the UFC” paid off for Strikeforce, and I think many other promotion are looking at their model to try and accomplish the same.

On Monday, just a couple of days after the Zuffa-Strikeforce purchase was announced, ProElite stock (one of the bidders for Strikeforce) opened at less than $0.01/share and closed at a 52 week high of $0.06 /share with a volume of just under 1 million. The average volume over the past 3 months had been around 14,000.  On Tuesday (the following day March 15, 2011), ProElite stock closed at $0.19 /share and had a day high of $0.24 /share.  What the numbers are saying is that investors and MMA fans have already started looking for a viable competitor for the UFC in the MMA market, and as Strikeforce proved in the span of 2 years, money can still be made in the market without being the #1 promotion as long as you have a platform for your product (Showtime) and a unique selling point you offer to fans.

If Zuffa ends up deciding that they do not want female MMA in the UFC, another promotion could build a solid stable of female fighters and scoop whatever talent is left out there not under the UFC umbrella (see Bellator) to start the process all over again.  FX, Fuel TV, G4, FSN, and other networks have shown recent interest in MMA programming, and all it takes is the right deal to present itself to a promotion for a shot at the #2 spot.  With that being said, the risk in the market has grown exponentially high this time around, as UFC has taken a dominant share of the market and has the majority of the top fighters in MMA.

Strikeforce is said to have roughly 140 fighters under contract in addition to UFC’s current 260 fighters, which is a whopping 400 fighters under the Zuffa banner at the moment.  It is expected that a good portion of those fighters will be cut and out of the UFC by 2012, since Zuffa has said before that they feel comfortable with a roster of around 200-220 fighters.  The UFC will also have to sign many foreign fighters as they keep reaching new international markets (trying to find the GSP of each country they visit), which only guarantees that many domestic fighters will be getting cut in the next 12 months.  This bodes well for the promotions such as Bellator, MFC, Shark Fights, Titan FC, & Tachi Palace Fights in the States,  BAMMA, Cage Wars, & Cage Warriors in the UK, and KSW in Poland to name a few. It also bodes well for a station like HDNet who has TV contracts with MFC, Shark Fights, and Titan FC. These promotions have shown a great deal of potential in the last couple of years and the talent pool quality of MMA fighters should be increasing in the next year.  One of those could make the next step up or it could be an investment group, like the ones behind ProElite to assume the #2 spot in the market. It will definitely be a risk for any investor to jump into the current state of the market, but fans and investors seem eager to give it another go.

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.

Payout Perspective:

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.

Bantam- and Featherweights: Breaking Through a Glass Ceiling

September 16, 2009

In recent weeks and months, MMAPayout and others have discussed the feasibility of bringing the WEC and UFC together in some way.  Most of these discussions have centered on the business practicality, from an organizational perspective, of a merger or re-branding.  I thought it would be interesting now to examine the issue — one I frame as a lack of ppv, and thus economic, opportunities for lighter-weight fighters — from the perspective of the fighters themselves.

At some point it might be worth studying how we got here, but for current purposes it’s important only that this is the state of things:  Zuffa owns two MMA organizations, the UFC and the WEC.  UFC has five weight classes, starting at 155 lbs.; WEC has three weight classes, 135, 145, and ending at 155 lbs.  WEC’s shows appear exclusively on Versus basic cable, whereas UFC’s biggest shows air on pay-per-view television.  Consequently, it’s more lucrative to fight in the UFC than it is to fight in the WEC, though a beating remains a beating, and medical bills don’t discriminate based on a fighter’s purse.

Team Lloyd Irvin’s Muhsin Corbbrey (lightweight), who fights Anthony Njokuani at WEC 43 on October 10, noted that WEC’s smaller purses only become significant at the highest levels.  In other words, the lower-level fighters in UFC aren’t making a ton of money, either (although they’re making more than their WEC counterparts), but when you get to the highest levels — the ppv draws like Brock Lesnar, Chuck Liddell, and GSP — the money to be made fighting in UFC is enormous, and to date no bantam- or featherweight has even been given the opportunity to pass or fail the ppv test.

According to Muhsin, fighters shouldn’t expect to become wealthy off of their fight purses, but rather should use whatever visibility they gain through fighting to market themselves in other ways (e.g., sponsorships), and indeed this is an intelligent path for the vast majority of fighters.

But then there are the exceptions, the ones at the top end, the draws, or in the case of the smaller fighters, the potential draws, which brings me to the tragic case of Urijah Faber.

Surely it’s beyond debate that Zuffa and WEC missed the boat with Urijah Faber, WEC’s former 145-lb. champion.  “The California Kid” had (and has) a look that screamed money, and, just as important, he can fight, but Faber was relegated throughout his multi-year title reign to fighting on the relatively limited universe of Versus, and not on ppv. 

I emphasize that we’re not talking about a situation in which the public was offered, and rejected, the opportunity to pay to see an exciting smaller fighter, but instead the case had been conclusively settled in advance: Urijah Faber would never get to see how far he could go in the sport; it might be a loaded term, but so long as that ppv door remains closed, there’s an MMA glass ceiling for smaller fighters.

True, we’d hear rumblings of plans to put WEC led by Urijah on ppv, specifically with respect to Faber/Brown II, but the plans never came to fruition, and now that Brown seems to have Urijah’s number, the window of opportunity to capitalize on Faber’s potential superstardom has probably permanently closed. 

Mike Brown, beast that he is, simply lacks that it factor, the ineffable charisma that’s so important in making the public want to pay to see you fight.  (Muhsin noted that Brown, perfectly suited for fighting at 145, even tried his hand at 155, likely due to the greater economic potential fighting for UFC than for WEC.)

Mike Brown is limited by being Mike Brown, perhaps a great mixed martial artist, but oh so plain. 

One fighter without such limitations is Team Lloyd Irvin’s Mike “The Hulk” Easton, Ultimate Warrior Challenge’s (UWC) 135 lbs. champion, who faces former WEC champion Chase Beebe at UWC 7 on October 3, in a fight that Luke Thomas, on MMA Nation radio referred to as the biggest ever in the DC area.  It’s a fight that was supposed to take place way back in February, but for whatever reason, Beebe at that time decided to skip the weigh-ins and the scheduled UWC title confrontation.  For Mike Easton, who has waited over half a year for the fight, the chase finally ends on October 3.

“I don’t know how I’m going to win, but I will win,” a smiling Mike told me last week as we talked, his two-year-old son, Champ Mike Easton, playing nearby.  With Mike’s last two fights ending in victories via the guillotine choke, that might (or might not) prove instructive on October 3.

Easton — genuinely a nice guy — has such a laid back, warm personality that, and it’s almost a cliche at this point when it comes to martial artists, unless you knew beforehand, you’d never guess what he does for a living.  Beyond that, this guy’s superstar potential is off the charts.  Mike Easton has the rare combination that allows someone to break out from the pack: both the it factor (i.e., charisma) and the ability to fight at the highest levels.

Easton is someone to keep an eye on.  I’ve heard him referred to as the hottest prospect in the Mid-Atlantic area, but I’d go further and say he’s the brightest superstar prospect at the bantam- or featherweight level since Urijah Faber.  (You can watch three of his fights at Sherdog.)  Easton oozes charisma from the time he steps through the curtain for his ring entrance, which he admits is influenced by his years watching professional wrestling, but this would mean nothing if Mike couldn’t follow it up in the cage.  Follow it, though, he does, typically in devastating fashion, and it’s a pity that Mike Easton is not yet a better known name. 

I have a theory, probably unprovable, that if ppv opportunities were available to someone like Mike, either through UFC or WEC, he probably would not still be fighting in the regional UWC, but as Easton said, he makes more money fighting for the UWC than he could for WEC.  Easton also noted, though he couldn’t go into particulars, that the UWC has plans for greater MMA growth on the East Coast. 

Irrespective of how big UWC gets, it obviously will never prove as financially rewarding to a superstar (or potential superstar) as fighting for UFC could be.  My argument is that Mike Easton is that lighter-weight superstar, the next Urijah Faber, waiting in the wings.  Zuffa blew it with Urijah;  let’s hope that lessons have been learned, and wheels are in motion to prevent it from happening again.

Mike Easton has a very loyal, very devoted, regional following, which will be on display when he fights Chase Beebe at UWC 7 for the promotion’s bantamweight title on October 3.  UWCMMA.com will offer the event live via Internet ppv.

MMA Business Week (8/31-9/4)

September 4, 2009

Recapping some of this week’s stories that we didn’t cover for one reason or another.

Payout Perspective:

There are two sides to every story and the latest on the DirecTV-Versus impasse indicates that it’s about more than just fees. DirecTV attempted to move Versus to another tier in its programming, which would have taken Versus off an estimated 6 million homes.

The rhetoric is getting pretty thick with both sides trying to gain some leverage by courting public opinion. DirecTV has argued that Versus is asking for a 20% increase in the fee paid for the channel. Additionally, the provider is defending its position to move Versus to another tier, by claiming that DISH has been able to do the same thing with the network. While Versus claims that they haven’t asked for 20%, and that they’re simply asking for a fee equal to what they’re being paid by other providers. The network is also in the process of trying to rally loyal Versus customers on the DirecTV system in order to pressure the provider to reduce its demands.

It would seem as though DirecTV owns a great deal of leverage, and the situation itself is quite reminiscent of the Time Warner-HDNet debacle of earlier this year when HDNet sought to renegotiate with the cable provider in order to secure a better place in the programming line-up (again the tier issue) and increase its visibility.

Time Warner ended up permanently dropping HDNet on May 31st, citing a need to acquire other HD programming with greater appeal.

Expect the situation to be resolved one way or another within the next month; that’s when a host of Versus’ exclusive programming will kick in and they’re going to want those 14 million viewers on DirecTV.

—-

Dana White announced that BJ Penn vs. Diego Sanchez will headline UFC 107 the same night that Rampage and Rashad are set to settle their growing feud. The card will also feature Frank Mir vs. Cheick Kongo and Thiago Alves vs. Paulo Thiago.

The announcement ended speculation that the title bout would headline a third card in November, slated for some sort of network television audience.

It should also serve as another reminder to MMA fans that an even keel approach to MMA’s growth and expansion is very much necessary; the UFC is always in talks with one network or another, exploring all of its options, and this isn’t the first – or even the second – time that Dana White has indicated a deal was possible only to return empty handed.

—-

The perception of MMA is slowly changing in Brazil according to SI’s Josh Gross.

Brazil is an emerging market economically and ripe with potential as an MMA market considering the plethora of talent that emminates from the country. If local advocates can leverage some of the UFC’s marketing power to help turn the sport’s image around, they could have a new and even better version of the Canadian market on their hands.

—-

Sean Salmon wrote a curious piece for www.MMA Junkie describing what sounded like him giving up so that he wouldn’t be hurt for another fight in the UK later that month.

The MMA media has since jumped all over Salmon. The Ohio State Athletic Commission is investigating a possible suspension. Salmon is also now back peddaling on his article, claiming that what he wrote wasn’t representative of what really happened.

People are pointing to the fact that Salmon was a huge favourite as some sort of proof that he “took a dive” on purpose, but that’s a bit presumptuous. There should be an investigation, he should be suspended, and he does need to turn his life around; however, he also deserves a chance to right his wrongs and conquer his demons.

The particular business perspectives here are numerous:

  • The incident touches on the sport’s legitimacy and the on-going tasking of seeking legalization. It could be something governments and sanctioning bodies point to in order to make the sanctioning road just a little tougher.
  • Salmon’s betting lines underscore the risk of betting on a fight card in a smaller organization. The level of information asymmetry is exceptionally high, the matchmaking is quite suspect, and the smaller events are sometimes regulated and monitored with a lower degree of intensity than a larger event.
  • It also highlights the financial burden that fighters like Salmon face, and the pressure they’re under to fight consistently in order to make money (and, hopefully one day return to the UFC). The money just often isn’t there for fighters to earn a full-time living. Many people will be quick to blame the UFC, but just because Salmon fought in the UFC a few times, doesn’t mean he earned the right to be a millionaire. He could have taken the brand equity he’d established in the world’s premier organization and leveraged that into some significant paydays; instead he seemingly lost his way a little, and is now on the long road back to recovery.

—-

The Fedor vs. Rogers hype has begun with Rogers launching several verbal salvo’s at the former Pride heavyweight champion.

It seems as though every second morning you can open a browser and find another sound bite from Fedor or Rogers discussing the pending November tilt. In response to claims he’s dodging competition, Fedor has stated he’s got nothing to prove. In turn, Rogers has said he’ll catch the “sloppy” Russian with a good shot and knock him out.

Unfortunately, the coverage and interest the event is drawing seems to be limited to that of the MMA media. We’ve yet to really see the major media pick up any of these stories. Strikeforce is going to need to do a better job at involving the mainstream media in the next couple months if they hope to grow beyond just MMA’s hardcore baseline.

—-

The UFC has signed Matt Hughes to a new, multi-fight contract extension per his own website.

Might a rematch with Matt Serra be in the works? Perhaps a better question is, considering the last one, does anyone really want to see another fight between these two?

Shine Fights Spotlight: Matt Lindland Says Ryan Healy Ready To Go

July 3, 2009

Matt Lindland Says The New “Law” Is To Follow Shine Fights

By Rhett Butler

As one of the pioneers of MMA, Matt “The Law” Lindland knows this business and when he speaks you should listen. So when he allows one of his prized pupils to be a part of the newest organization producing real world-class cards it’s a silent statement. With Ryan Healy of the famed Team Quest agreeing to fight Brazilian Top Team’s Fabiano Capoani, Lindland looks forward to the business possibilities with Shine Fights.

“Shine’s certainly been able to get great fighters and put together great fights. Their matchmaking is phenomenal for the level of show it is,” says Lindland. “These guys are all quality athletes that they’ve got and I don’t really see anybody else that’s a grassroots kind of promotion putting together these kind of cards. I’m actually a little surprised that at the quality of each one of these fighters on this card.”

As co-owner of Team Quest (along with for PRIDE Middleweight Champion Dan Henderson), Lindand began working with Shine Fights when his fighter, Ryan Healy was added to the Shine 2: American Top Team vs. The World card. As one half of the Healy fighting brother duo along with Pat Healy (20-13-0), Ryan Healy is coming off three recent losses looking for redemption.

“Ryan is a very tough guy and he’s a great fighter. He took a couple fights on short notice at 170lbs and he’s coming off a couple losses just because he wasn’t able to peak and prepare, he took fights on two days notice kind of thing; up a weight class. He’s not a welterweight he’s a lightweight fighter and I think this is an opportunity where he’s had ample time to prepare for the fight and its in his weight class.”

With three straight losses, all via unanimous decision, Healy shows he has what it takes to go the distance in a fight. The last loss against now WEC fighter, Jameel Massouh in October 2008 was Healy’s last appearance in the cage. After a 9-month layoff the bout against Luiz Firmino marks Healy’s return. Lindland explains the lengthy layoff.

“There was an injury where he hurt his knee and then basically his fights fell apart. Promoters were getting ready to do shows and they didn’t sell enough tickets and so they cancelled events and we just had some bad luck with promotions.”

COMPETITION LIVES

Luiz Firmino (12-4-0) is a submission specialist with 6 of his 12 wins coming by the sweet art. With another 5 wins, mostly coming by unanimous decision, and 1 TKO, Firmino is the real deal. As with Healy, Firmino’s last professional appearance in MMA also resulted in a loss back in May 2008 at a DREAM event in Japan. With an even longer layoff after a loss than Healy, Firmino is also in a state of redemption. A sure fire way to insure a blockbuster battle? Or is this a day of reckoning for one of these two fighters? Lindland advocates Healy and says that one merely needs to look at his conditioning and heart to see why.

“He works a full-time job and comes in, never misses a team practice and then he give some extra workouts after that. Right now where he’s at with his career he’s not making a ton of money with these fights so you got to make some sacrifices,” says Lindland. If he’s willing to do that, whatever it takes to get in the gym, whether its working nights or working the weekends he’s more concerned about getting to the gym no matter what. You’ve got to respect a guy like that.”

Looking back, Lindland also points to strengths recognized and weaknesses realized through Healy’s past.

“He was a national NCAA champion in boxing so obviously his hands are great. He’s working out with quality wrestlers day in and day out. I think maybe that was one of his weaknesses the wrestling aspect, taking the guys down; he doesn’t want to really take those guys down. But the biggest problem he had was getting taken down and I think he solved a lot of those problems just being with us at Team Quest. The guys got incredible work ethic.”

Going further, Lindland spoke about his team’s outlook and himself alluding to a very bright future.

“Well of course we’ve got some of the bigger names. You see Dan Henderson he was on The Ultimate Fighter as a coach and he’s got a big fight coming up at UFC 100. We’ve got other guys like Chael Sonnen and Ed Herman that are fighting in the UFC as well but we’ve also got a lot of up and coming talent. As far as me I can’t really discuss that right at the moment because nothings signed but you’ll certainly see me back in the cage soon. I will be competing on the stage as I should be, fighting some of the top guys in the world.”

Shine Fight Promotions Hits Miami, Florida on August 1, 2009

June 29, 2009

HINE FIGHT PROMOTIONS LOSES DAVID BRANCH; REPLACES WITH MIAMI NATIVE HERBERT “WHISPERS THE GORILLA” GOODMAN VS FABIANO CAPOANI

Roan Carneiro vs. Jorge Patino

Ryan Healy vs. Luiz Buscape

Flavio Alvaro vs. Jean Silva

Carlo Prater vs. Milton Vieira

Junior Assuncao vs. Jadyson Costa

Anthony Morrison vs. Micah Miller

Venessa Porto vs. Ediene Gomes

Live From The James L. Knight Center in Miami, Florida on August 1, 2009

MIAMI, FL (USA) – Shine Fight Promotions (Shine Fights) announces a change in the line-up for Shine 2: American Top Team vs. The World. Replacing Bellator veteran, David Branch versus Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace, Fabiano Capoani is now Miami, Florida native, Herbert “Whispers the Gorilla” Goodman. With the remaining bouts including UFC/PRIDE, Jungle Fight (Brazil) & WEC vets: Micah Miller, Junior Assuncao, Carlo Prater, Ryan Healy, Luiz Buscape, Venessa Porto, Anthony Morrison, Ediene Gomes and the main event, Jorge Patino and Roan Carneiro, Shine 2 will be one this the most stacked cards of world-class athletes to ever hit Florida.

Adding to an already stacked card is Herbert “Whispers the Gorilla” Goodman, who trains out of the world-renown gym, The H.I.T. Squad (Hughes Intensive Training) owned by former UFC Welterweight champion, Matt Hughes. This Homestead, Florida native made his first foray into professional athletics when he played the running back position for the Green Bay Packers from 1999-2003. His next stop was the Indianapolis Colts for the entire 2004 and finally his career ended with the Cincinnati Bengals at the end of 2005. Once the football dream was over another opportunity unexpectedly appeared.

“Actually after ’05 I got cut by the Bengals and I went to Southwest Senior high where I taught for two years and then I went and watched one of my friends fight and I said, ‘man I could of whooped both of you guys,’ he was like yeah whatever (laughs). I told him when they stopped his fight that I knew when the next one is at so I figured if I trained for two weeks, you know, I knocked my dude out in 27 seconds and after that I pretty much became hooked.”

Starting his professional mixed martial arts career in 2007, Goodman won his first two fights without seeing the second round by submission and TKO, respectively. After a few losses he went on a four fight win streak before a controversial decision win followed by a recent string of losses. Now ready to get back in the winner’s circle, Goodman is ready to step in the Shine cage against Fabiano Capoani, a member of Florida’s renowned gym, The American Top Team.

“I give credit to Shine for inviting me into the organization. Fabiano is a jiu-jitsu guy, I’ve seen one film on him when he fought Hector Lombard (May 2008) but I don’t know much about him. I don’t run from anybody I’ll fight anybody; just give me enough time to get in shape and I’ll fight anybody. I’m just looking for the opportunities and I’m sure I’ll come out victorious. “

With his entire family, friends and supporters guaranteed to be in attendance the night of August 1st 2009 when his official homecoming occurs at The James L. Knight Center in downtown Miami, Florida. The man known as Whispers is ecstatic for the possibilities.

“I’m excited that my family and my friends get a chance to watch me. My whole family: my mom, my aunties, my sisters, my grandparents, everybody. It’s like 25 minutes from where I stay and I already told my friends and family that I’m coming down there and everybody is pretty much excited spreading the word that I’m coming home to fight. I always get a chance to tell people about the fights, whether I win or lose, but now they get the opportunity to see first-hand.”

About Shine Fight Promotions, LLC

Shine Fight Promotions, LLC is a U.S. based enterprise that seeks to raise the awareness of the art, discipline, respect, passion, and talent that is mixed martial arts (MMA) to the global marketplace. Founded by MMA Fighter/Thai Boxer, Dorian Price along with his brother, Devin Price, Shine is committed to the growth and development of MMA creating a positive experience for both fighters and fans. Shine works diligently to put on fights that fighter’s want and that fans want to watch by arranging the most competitive and interesting matches. Shine Fight Promotions seeks to grow through innovation, high production values, dramatic and engaging fights, and the promotion of authentic MMA.

About Shine 2: American Top Team vs. The World

As the second event of Shine Fight Promotions, American Top Team vs. The World is appropriately named for the multitude of talent from Florida’s largest mixed martial arts gym. Shine Fight Promotions matchmakers, Ron Foster and Dorian Price, both fighters themselves, are committed to scouring the globe to pit only the best fighters against one another. The Shine 2 card has been filled with fighters from the best training camps and MMA gyms from across the world including: Randy Couture’s Xtreme Couture MMA (Las Vegas), Matt Hughes’ H.I.T. Squad (Granite City IL), American Top Team (Coconut Creek FL), Renzo Gracie Academy (New York, NY), Hybrid Academy (Virginia Beach VA), The MMA Institute (Richmond VA), Buckeye MMA (Columbus OH), Strong Style MMA (Cleveland OH) and The 808 Fight Factory (Honolulu HI).

WCF 7 Play by Play and Results

June 28, 2009

World Championship Fighting 7

Aleppo Shriners Auditorium in Wilmington, Massachusetts

Notables in attendance are UFC vets Jorge Rivera, John Howard, and Sean Gannon. Kevin James from the King of Queens was also there, mobbed most of the time by fans looking for a photo.

Dan O’Keefe (MMAT Center) vs. Saul Almieda (Rivera MMA/Dragon Lair)

145 Lbs.

Round 1- Both come out hot exchanging hard punches. Saul lands a high body kick and pulls guard with a guillotine attempt. He transfer onto his knees, where O’Keefe leaves his head exposed. Almeida then attempts a modified Peruvian neck tie, by using his legs and arms to go for the choke, After struggling for a while, O’Keefe finally taps.

Saul Almeida def. Dan O’Keefe by submission 1:16 Round 1

John Walsh vs. Marcos Escalante (BMAC)

170 Lbs.

Round 1- Marcos shoots in but gets caught with a hard knee to the chin. After wrestling on the ground they end back up on their feet. Walsh pulls guard and goes for a guillotine, but loses it quickly. The referee pauses the fight due to a cut on Walsh’s face, in the middle of his forehead. After a minute, they restart in the middle of the ring with Walsh on his back. He goes for a triangle choke, and locks it in. Marcos keeps his posture high, not allowing the air to completely be cut off. Walsh keeps the move in for awhile, but never getting it cinched in. Eventually, Escalante breaks the hold and stands up.Walsh lands a solid right hook, but is immediately taken down. Marcos throws several hard knees to the body in side control, and opens up the cut a little more as the round ends.

Round 2- Standing in the center of the ring, Marcos gets an easy single leg takedown and goes into guard. John looks to pull another triangle, but Marcos counters to side control. He then moves to mount easily. Josh tries to battle it off, but then gives up his back and is flattened out. Marcos then goes for the rear naked choke, and the fight is over.

Marcos Escalante def. John Walsh by submission 1:24 Round 2

Steve Beck vs. Noah Wiseman (BJJ Revolution)

155 Lbs.

Round 1- They immediately go to the clinch, Noah lands a series of strong knees and punches. The battle moves into the corner, still going for position. Continuing to clinch, they move to the center of the ring, where Noah takes it to the ground. Wiseman quickly goes to take Beck’s back and looks for a rear naked choke. At first, the choke is on the chin, and isn’t tight. Noah then readjusts it, and Beck is forced to tapout.

Noah Wiseman def. Steve Beck by submission 1:50 Round 1

Nelson Gaipo (Rivera MMA/Dragon Lair) vs. Ryan White (SSSF)

Round 1- They meet in the center and clinch. Both fighters exchange knees to the body. Gaipo gets in a rhythm and lands a few in a row, eventually dropped White. Ryan White lays on his stomach, and takes several hard punches by Gaipo and the referee stops it.

Nelson Gaipo def. Ryan White by TKO 1:31 Round 1

Jeff Silva (Premier Fight Team) vs. Zack Burhans (Bombsquad)

135 Lbs.

Round 1- Zack lands a left kick to the body to start the fight. Next, the two feel each other out for a while until Burhans hits an accidental groin kick to Silva. After a quick break, Silva charges in but gets nowhere. Standing up, Jeff kicks in but is caught, and Burhans lands a shot that drops him. Zack hovers over him while Silva looks for a leg lock. Burhans lands a strong right to the head and goes to half guard. Silva pulls into full guad, but Zack lands a few more shots as the round ends.

Round 2- Both take the center, with Silva missing with a head kick. He follows it up with a lunging haymaker that misses as well. Burhans gets a takedown and Silva looks fatigues, but has his right arm trapped. Zack breaks guard and lands a couple shots to the top of the head, then stands up. Silva goes for another leg lock, and then pulls Burhans back into guard. The referee stands them up with little time remaining in the fight. Burhans secures another takedown after Silva misses on a home run punch.

Zack Burhans def. Jeff Silva by Unan. Decision (20-18, 20-18, 20-18)

Aaron Petrucelli (Mass BJJ) vs. Aniss Alhajjajy (BTT)

155 Lbs.

Round 1- They touch gloves to start and move around the center of the ring. Aniss hits a left inside leg kick, and they begin to clinch against the ropes. Petrucelli goes for a flying triangle but misses. Aaron stands back up and lands a knee to the body while working the clinch. Alhajjajy returns the favor with a knee to the head. Aaron looks for a takedown, both fighters scramble on the ground until they get back to their feet separated. Aniss hits a kick combo to the leg and body. Back inside the clinch, Aniss knees him to the body. Now on the ground with Alhajjajy on top, he gets reversed by Petrucelli and is now on his back. Aaron stands and misses a punch as the horn sounds.

Round 2- The two exchange kicks. Aniss goes for a flying kick a la Jose Aldo but misses. Now back in the clinch with no damage being made. They break, with Alhajjajy goes for a left head kick that is blocked by Aaron. Petrucelli can’t get a trip takedown, as the ropes keep his opponent upright. Once again in the clinch, they trade punches and knees. Petrucelli now has a cut above his right eye. Aniss takes the fight down, and Petrucelli’s attempt to get up to stumped. The fight ends with Petrucelli on his knees, and Alhajjajy holding position on top.

Aniss Alhajjajy def. Aason Petrucelli by Maj. Decision (20-19, 20-19, 19-19)

Nick Evangelous (Fenix Fight Club) vs. Matt McKusker (Champions)

155 Lbs.

Round 1- Evangelous misses a hard right hand to start while McKusker gets his jab to work. Nick gets a takedown next to the ropes in open guard. Matt works a keylock but loses it. Evangelous postures up and starts throwing bombs in the corner. Nick then moves to half guard with his posture up. He then starts throwing continuous left hooks, and the fight is stopped.

Nick Evangelous def. Matt McKusker by TKO Round 1

Featured Bouts

Travis Bartlett (Irish) vs. Guillermo Echuaca (Zulu)

205 Lbs.

Round 1- Echuaca waits for Bartlett in the ring doing a split on the canvas. The crowd is heavily behind Bartlett, from Team Irish. They begin in the center with Bartlett throwing hard shots from odd angles. Echuaca keeps the center of the ring, and throws a kick that lands in Bartlett’s groin. After a short break, they touch gloves, with Travis connecting on a overhead left to the chin. Echuaca throws a kick to the body, but it is caught, and thrown down. In a throwing exchange, Guillermo accidentally lands a finger in the eye of Bartlett, and the fight is paused for Travis to recover. The referee allows him five minutes to recover, as he attempts to get his vision back. Looking up at the lights, the crowd becomes restless and boos the lack of action. The referee reassures Echuaca that it was accidental, but to stay clean. He then brings the doctor to check the right eye, and action begins. Bartlett begins with a left kick to the body, then the leg. Both exchange punches, but Bartlett stays in the pocket. He continues to throw, and drops Guillermo with a left hook. He jumps immediately and finishes the fight.

Travis Bartlett def. Guillermo Echuaca by TKO 2:28 Round 1.

Tom Moreau (Valor) vs. Don Carlo-Clauss (Bombsquad)

170 Lbs.

Round 1- Moreau takes the center of the ring, but Carlo-Clauss lands the first jab of the fight. After a quick exchange with both fighters getting hit, they clinch in Moreau’s corner. Don knees Tom in the thigh several times, but neither fighter is advancing position. Moreau lands a few innocent punches to Carlo-Clauss’ back. Despite being in the corner, Moreau is landing more offense with Don maintains his position. Moving out of the corner, Carlo-Clauss grabs a hold of Moreau’s leg. Tom attempts a standing guillotine, but his opponent falls through the ropes. Now standing, both throw wildly from the pocket, but not much landing on either end. With 10 seconds left, Carlo-Clauss shoots for a takedown and gets it as the round expires.

Round 2- In between rounds, Moreau stands up but shakes his hand out. Carlo-Clauss sits, and appears to be winded. Don lands a left leg kick, but Tom maintains the center of the ring. Carlo-Clauss is now bleeding from his nose, and takes another punch to the chin. Moreau charges in, but Carlo-Clauss grabs him and looks for a takedown. Moreau lands on his back with full guard. Don tries to advance position, but takes a few punches and bleeds more. He stands up, jumps back into full guard, but not making much headway. Moreau flips the script and is on top. He goes for a submission, but loses it quickly and ends up on his back. Carlo-Clauss stands up and kicks Moreau to the body as the round ends.

Tom Moreau def. Don Carlo-Clauss by Maj. Decision (19-19, 20-18, 20-18)

Greg Rebello (Sit Yod Tong) vs. Jerry Spiegel

190 Lbs.

Round 1- Rebello gets a huge pop by walking out to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”. Spiegel takes the center, and they exchange hard leg kicks. Rebello keeps moving around the ropes, but neither fighter is enforcing their will. Spiegel throws a head kick that misses, Rebello grabs under hooks and takes the fight into a neutral corner. Greg lands a stiff knee to the ribs of Spiegel. Rebello eventually gets a takedown, but Jerry is still sitting up. The fighters talk to each other as they fight for position. Rebello hits a few right hands and he ends up in Spiegel’s closed guard. Still in the same corner, Jerry does a nice job controlling the movement of Rebello, who still throws punches to the body. Spiegel pops up to his knees, and they battle for position as the round ends.

Round 2- Spiegel once again takes the center of the ring, but both fighters come out swinging hard. Rebello charges in for a takedown in Spiegel’s corner, but can’t fully get him down. Now in side control, Jerry has a hold of Greg’s head, but there is no danger. Rebello sits through in side position now, and rains down several hard right hands. They Spiegel regains full guard, but Rebello continues his assault from above. Jerry looks to reverse the position, but gives up half guard now with Rebello still landing the same shots. Moving to side control again, Spiegel looks to get out by moving to his knees, but Rebello has a hold of his head. Keeping a firm grip, Rebello sends him back down into half guard. Speigel stands up as the round ends.

Greg Rebello def. Jerry Spiegel by Unan. Decision (20-18, 20-18, 20-18)

Scott Rehm (Pro Elite/Florian MMA) vs. Elias Rivera (Dog Pound)

185 Lbs.

Round 1- Rehm gets a loud cheer for being local. They stand in the center and dance, waiting to make the first move. Rivera throws a leg kick, then backs away. Rehm returns the favor, but Elias catches the leg and connects on an over the top right. Rehm backs away, and throws a right, but Rivera counters with a series of shots. The fight moves to the ground, with Rivera going for a heel hook. Scott makes his way out, as the two scramble along the ground, with Rehm hitting a hammerfist to Rivera’s chin. As they scramble, Rivera grabs ahold of Rehm’s leg and goes for a reverse heel hook. Rehm can’t get out this one, and taps out.

Elias Rivera def. Scott Rehm by submission 2:43 Round 1

John Benoit (Renzo Gracie NH) vs. Damien Trites (Wai-Kru)

155 Lbs.

Round 1- Both local fighters receive warm reactions. They touch gloves, and move around the ring until Trites lands a strong leg to the left knee of Benoit. Trites charges in with a barrage of punches that miss, but cause John to fall out through the ropes. Back standing in the center of the ring, Benoit’s leg kick is caught, and Damien knocks him down with a right cross. Trites then follows it up with another kick to the left knee. Benoit reciprocates with the same offense. Benoit is on the defense, but lands a nice counter punch that briefly rocks Trites. Damien has blood showing from under her nose, as Benoit begins to take control. Benoit lands an overhead right, followed up by a kick to the leg. John stays in the center. Damien looks for a takedown, but John goes for a guillotine, but falls through the ropes again. Restarting in the center, Benoit stops a takedown attempt from Tries, and ends the round with one of his own.

Round 2- Benoit begins the action with another strong leg kick. Trites charges in, but gets in no damage. John is connected successfully on many leg kicks, which are starting to take effect on Damien’s mobility. Benoit now uses his jab, but Trites shoots in for a takedown to no avail. Trities loads up for a superman punch but misses over John’s head, Damien goes for a takedown, but John stops it. Still grappling, Trites slams Benoit down hard. Trites is on top, but Benoit is the one dictating action as he attempts a keylock. Trites punches John in the body, and breaks the hold, ending up in half guard. John counters to his knees, and eventually ends up in Damien’s guard

Very action packed fight, the most exciting thus far.

John Benoit def. Damien Trites by Maj Decision (20-18, 20-18, 19-19)

Rodrigo Almeida (BMAC) vs. Calvin Kattar (Premier Fight Team)

155 Lbs.

Round 1- Receiving one of the louder pops of the evening, Kattar walked out to Hulk Hogan’s “I am a real American.” Almeida takes the center, and take roughly 30 seconds to feel each other out. Rodrigo shoots in for a takedown, but Kattar does a nice job sprawling out as they continue to clinch near the ropes. Eventually, Kattar takes Almeida down ending up in mount. Kattar isn’t landing much offense, and is holding onto his position. Almeida gets the fight back up, and immediately goes for another unsuccessful takedown. Clinched in the corner, Rodrigo lands a knee to the body. Kattar grabs his opponent’s head, and jumps into a tight guillotine. Now on the ground with the choke in, there’s no where for Almeida to go, and the fight is over.
Calvin Kattar def. Rodrigo Almeida by submission 2:16 Round 1


Dan Keefe (Brickhouse) vs. Woody Weatherby (Renzo Gracie NH)

185 Lbs.

Round 1- Meeting in the center, Keefe connects on a few stiff jabs and a leg kick to start. Now clinching in the corner, Weatherby is up against the ropes preventing a trip takedown. The fighters move from one of the ring to another, until Keefe trips Woody down and lands in side control. Keefe is landing a few right elbows to the forehead of his opponent. Weatherby gets to his feet quickly and they stand toe to toe. Weatherby throws out a jab, and they clinch. Woody connects on back to back knees to the ribs of Keefe. Still in the clinch, Keefe has his opponent against the ropes once again. Weatherby looks towards a hip toss, but the two separate. Keefe counters with a solid jab, but Weatherby follows it with a combination that shakes The Ghost. At the end of the round, Weatherby charges in with a kick, and punch that lands just after the horn.

Round 2- In between rounds, the doctor is advised to a cut over the left eye of Keefe. Starting the round, Keefe gets a takedown, ending up in half guard. Keefe isn’t punching, but looking to advance his position, but ends up in Weatherby’s rubber guard. Controlling Keefe’s movements, neither fight is getting in any shots. In the corner, Keefe finally breaks out and begins to rain down some shots. The referee has they stand up again. Both fighters are more aggressive, landing punches. Keefe jumps into a takedown, landing in Weatherby’s guard in the corner. Moving to half guard, Keefe hits his opponent with a strong right and left before Woody closes up guard. Weatherby attempts a triangle choke in the center of the ring, but Keefe postures up to break the hold. The round ends with Keefe in side control, landing knees and then jumping up.

Round 3- There was a majority draw after the first two rounds. Woody misses a right jab, and receives an inside leg kick from Keefe. Keefe throws another kick to the legs, and then both exchange some punches. Keefe ducks under one, and secures a takedown ending up in guard. Keefe is locked up, but throwing elbows from his position. Keefe postures up landing a few hammer fists. In the closing seconds, Weatherby goes for an arm bar but the horn sounds before any damage is made.

Dan Keefe def. Woody Weatherby by Unan. Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

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