Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Running a great MMA show

I’ve been at more fight shows than anyone I know. From MMA shows to Boxing fight nights and everything in between. I’ve attended fight shows in the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong & Thailand.

I’ve also been lucky enough to attend these events in a variety of roles. First off as a spectator, then as a corner-man, then a fighter, then back to being a corner-man and now as a coach. I've been lucky enough to have seen all types of events. Some very good & others very bad.

If you are planning on promoting a fight show here is a list of things I think could help…


  • Pay Fighters – Fight fans come along to watch the fighters; they don't come to watch ring announcers, card girls, interviewers or anything else. I’ve seen lots of shows where the promoters didn’t have a budget to pay fighters yet they could afford to pay for a ring announcer. After the show people will remember the really good evenly matched and action packed fights. They won’t remember if the ring announcer did a good job.


BUT, only pay the fighters if they deserve to be paid which leads on to point number 2…..


  • Research Potential fighters - I’ve heard of promoters putting fighters on their show based solely on a fictional fight record & Facebook fan page. On the other hand I know of one promoter who personally travels to Mongolia and other far flung destinations to watch potential fighters train & prepare for fights before he puts them on his show. If you want your fight show to stand out from the rest you might have to go the extra mile. This doesn’t mean you have to start jet-setting around but maybe ask fighters to at least send you either a DVD or links to watch their fights online.


  • Good Matchmaking – This follows on from proper research of fighters. If you go to a fight show and every fight ends in the first round by KO or submission, it means that one of two things has happened. Either you’ve been lucky enough to watch all the future world champions OR the promoter/gym owner has matched up all his own boys against the residents of the old people’s home down the road.


  • Don’t rely on fighters selling tickets – if a fighter is any good he will be in the gym every night training for 2 – 3 hours, when he’s not doing this he’ll be at home. If  the fighter you are putting on your show has 200 friends that he can sell tickets to it probably means he’s out talking about being a fighter more often than he’s actually in the gym training.


  • Look after the fighters – treat them like professionals so they will be keen to come back and fight on your show, they will also tell their team mates and training partners so you will have a source of future good quality fighters.

  • Proper Refereeing and Judging – Make sure judges & referees have a full understanding of the rules and scoring system of the sport. This will help to avoid confusing & embarrassing incidents later on. One promoter I know actually makes all the referees and officials study previous fights and tests them on rules & scoring. On the other hand I’ve been judging on an MMA show where one of the other judges actually told me that he doesn’t really know anything about MMA (he was a former kick boxer)

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