Thursday, April 26, 2007
There was a time, not too long ago, when, if you wanted to see a local MMA show, you had to wait until Kipp Kollar’s Reality Fighting or Lou Neglia’s Ring of Combat rolled around – or if you were really lucky, you were in the loop on Dan Miragliatta’s BAMA FightNight (an underground show of sorts). There were even some odds and ends events, like the IFC’s only two Garden State ventures, or Brian Cimin’s Sportfighting, or the “Battle on Broadway” in NYC, or the MegaFights in Atlantic City (which featured Ken Shamrock and his Lions Den taking on a bunch of over-matched fighters). But take it from someone who went to them all: for the hungry fan, pickings were slim.
Nowadays, thanks to Generation TUF and an exponential increase in both interest and capital, those promotions that survived through the lean years are now feeding fighters into the UFC, while new organizations have sprouted up to claim their share of the market (and consumer dollars). Here’s a brief look at the current MMA landscape in
• Ring of Combat (ROC) - when the State of
• Reality Fighting (RF) - Kollar’s situation among the MMA promoters is unique in that he also runs the successful NAGA grappling tournaments, and, having mined the New England market with his Mass Destruction events, has recently sought to expand the RF brand to
• Extreme Challenge (EC) - In little more than a year, Ed Hsu (formerly the man behind Combat in the
• Underground Combat League (UCL) - the current climate in
• Others - At this point, it’s unclear if Cimins’ Sportfighting events will return (Cimins has his hands full running the Grapplers Quest tournaments). The World’s Best Fighter show is another big question mark, although it proved once again that the “USA versus international team” concept (done successfully many times by the Mixed Fighting Championship) works and works well. As for the Mixed Fighting Championship (MFC), it was absorbed into BodogFight, and they haven’t officially announced when they’ll return to
What does all this mean? Currently, the market greatly favors the fighter, as the fighter is the ultimate ingredient promoters use to attract fans. Meanwhile, the recipe of a successful MMA event has remained constant: local fighters sell far more tickets than bigger-named non-local ones, and no brand is strong enough to overcome that (except for the UFC, and soon the IFL – but that’s another article). It is a great time to be fan of MMA, a great time to be a fighter, and, once they nail down their business model and carve out their niche in the market, a great time for promoters.