By Dave Madden @DMaddenMMA
If an MMA promotion makes little sound, is it doing its job in the dense forest of mixed martial arts? A newly formed organization, Conquer Fighting Championships (Conquer FC), aims to prevail for their fighters in MMA’s regional circuit where other smaller shows miss the mark: safety, exposure, and a fair piece of the pie; all without relinquishing an ounce of entertainment value. Tyson Griffin, the Head of Operations at Conquer FC, struggled to submit his excitement when discussing Conquer FC’s inaugural event on November 21, 2015: Conquer FC 1.
Assembling for triumph in Northern California’s MMA scene, it was important to the head honchos at Conquer FC to not throw stones in any glass arenas the cage may occupy; therefore, they opted to stage their first set of bouts at the Craneway Pavillion in Richmond, California. The way Griffin described the venue for Conquer FC 1, one may cock an eyebrow toward the glass ceiling, wondering where more attention will be garnered: the scenery inside or outside the cage,
“It’s going to be at the Craneway Pavillion. It’s got glass windows and glass walls. On a clear night, you can see the San Francisco skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge. If everything is lit up, it’s going to be an amazing experience.”
Outside of a picturesque landscape, the fights, in any promotion, set the ambiance. Conquer FC wants all their stakeholders, fans and fighters alike, to share in the same dream that President and Matchmaker, Trever Johnson, has for the organization when everyone’s head hits the pillow. Griffin fantasized Conquer FC’s vision aloud,
“At the end of the day, we are concerned about quality. We’re looking to put on something that is fan-friendly and fighter-friendly. There are those smaller shows that don’t provide what we want for our fighters. So, with our experience, our network, and with enough small shares, we were like, ‘Shit, instead of trying to figure out which show is right and dealing with all the bullshit, we can figure out how to do it a little better.’ You know, a little more consistency and responsibility. I’d rather have our fighters fight at Conquer FC.”
Griffin has been there and done that in the fight game, working his way from the regional level at Gladiator Challenge to the apron every mixed martial artist hopes to cook up a hard-hitting career: the UFC. What issues are scrutinized under a heat lamp at Conquer FC’s Headquarters?
A top priority is fighter safety:
“Conquer FC is going to be governed by the California State Athletic Commission. You know, people that do shows on these Indian Reservations are avoiding the Commission and the laws, and they [Athletic Commissions] are going to be looking, California’s State Athletic Commission specifically, to push fighters out of competing in events that are not sanctioned. I’m not for fighters competing in non-sanctioned events. I want my fighters to be safe, and I want the commission to be involved. We’re not doing anything shady.”
Griffin also noted how important it is for the fighters who compete at Conquer FC to cash in more handsomely, either with taller stacks of currency or cashing in on hometown support:
“Fighters can make some good money, giving them a little bit more percentage of tickets and other ways. Some people have to travel to Indiana to fight, and then their friends and family don’t get to watch them fight. We’re trying to get as many local fighters as possible, give them avenues to promote themselves, and build names around the event.”
Reflecting on his fighting career, Griffin, as do all with higher expectations for the sport of MMA, wishes to see the sport’s prehistoric practices vanquished. He noted the sequence of events before logging his initial win as a professional,
“In my first fight at Gladiator Challenge, they didn’t have who I was supposed to fight, so they pulled someone out of the crowd.”
In order to succeed in a new era of MMA, Griffin and Conquer FC are turning up the volume to a fighter’s presence, yielding the personality behind a young prospect’s promise:
“Basically, we are giving local fighters an avenue to build their brand, build their name, and promote themselves. In the other small shows, they don’t get a chance to be promoted.”
Aware of their small show appeal, Conquer FC chose to not subdue every aspect that the smaller venue offers its fans. The goal is to link fans and fighters tighter than the cage’s fencing. At Conquer FC 1, fans will feast on the stars of tomorrow after a chance to participate in an autograph signing with today’s superstars of MMA: UFC light heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier; Bellator MMA lightweight, Josh Thomson; and former UFC standout, Tyson Griffin.
MMA promotions like Shamrock Fighting Championships have been forging their place in MMA’s market as a necessary stepping stone professional fighters must hurdle for the past seventeen years, and Conquer FC 1 on November 21, 2015 takes their first strides to a similar notoriety.
For more information about Conquer FC, check out:
*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results
Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.
Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.
Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)
Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)
Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)
Bellator 185- How to Watch, Times and Fight Card
Bellator is once again heading to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville Connecticut, and this time they are bringing with them one of the most anticipated former UFC fighter turned Bellator stars’ debut. Gegard Mousasi will be making his first appearance in the Bellator cage against a former Bellator champion in Alexander Shlemenko. Although this event has lost some of its star power over the last several weeks, it is still stacked and you can bet that the main event will bring some fireworks.
Earlier in the month, it was announced that King Mo had suffered an injury that had forced him out of his co-main event fight with former middleweight champion Liam McGeary. Bellator worked quickly to secure a replacement opponent for McGeary in Bubba McDaniels. Unfortunately for McDaniels and the fans alike, McGeary had later suffered an injury of his own and the fight was removed from the card.
This left a spot open in the co-main event slot, which would be filled by a welterweight matchup between Brennan Ward and David Rickels. Just four days out from the fight, Bellator announced that Ward had also become injured and the fight has been removed from the card as well. The main card has been shuffled around and the welterweight bout between Neiman Gracie and Zak Bucia will now serve as the co-main event.
Main Card- Spike TV (US/Canada) Spike UK (UK)- 9 pm EDT, 6 pm PDT, 2 pm UK
- Middleweight Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9, 1 NC)
- Welterweight Feature Bout: Neiman Gracie (6-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8)
- Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Heather Hardy (1-0) vs. Kristina Williams (Debut)
- Lightweight Feature Bout: Ryan Quinn (13-7) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0)
- Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Ana Julaton (2-2) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0)
Preliminary Card- Live Stream (MMA Latest New)- 7 pm EDT, 4 pm PDT, 12 pm UK
- 195 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Alec Hooben (5-3)
- Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Costello van Steenis (8-1) vs. Steve Skrzat (8-9)
- Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius de Jesus (5-1) vs. Joaquin Buckley (7-1)
- Lightweight Preliminary Bout: John Beneduce (2-1) vs. Dean Hancock (2-1)
- Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Timothy Wheeler (1-4) vs. Pete Rogers (2-4)
- 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Don Shainis (3-1) vs. Matthew Denning (5-6)
- 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Sforza (6-0) vs. Vovka Clay (3-2)
- Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Carrier (Pro Debut) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (Pro Debut)
- Flyweight Preliminary Bout: John Lopez (6-4) vs. Billy Giovanella (9-5)
EXCLUSIVE: Jack Shore talks Cage Warriors 87 Opponent Change, Pressure and Being Ready for A Big Opportunity
Jack Shore, a promising up and coming Welsh Featherweight who will be fighting on his fourth main Cage Warriors card in only his sixth professional fight. Despite his opponent, Federico Mini, dropping out days prior to the event, Shore isn’t concerned ahead of the opponent change. “Just another fight, I’m ready for anything come fight night and I’m looking forward to the challenge”. Cage Warriors have confirmed that Shore will now be fighting Italian, Mattia Galbiati.
Shore last fought at the Newport Centre, Wales at Cage Warriors 83, defeating his opponent Konmon Deh convincingly with a first-round submission. The crowd was electric for both his entrance and when his opponent tapped due to armbar, “I have a massive following and they like to make themselves heard on fight night, it’s getting bigger and bigger every time!”
Whilst using his extensive grappling to win the fight, the Tillery Combat MMA Academy fighter was very aggressive with his strikes on the ground, “I believe my grappling style is very different to what people are used to seeing and that’s why it’s entertaining to watch. I’m always looking to advance and put the pressure on, but I also try to use punches and elbows to set up my transitions.”
Being undefeated throughout his amateur career (including winning the IMMAF European Championships), to then continue being undefeated throughout his early professional career, Shore has a mature mindset for such a young fighter to how the sport works, “Obviously no one wants to lose but you have to be aware that it’s a possibility because anything can happen in this sport. But by being aware it allows me to train and prepare correctly to do everything I can (do) to prevent that from happening.”
Whilst growing up, Shore states that he wasn’t the most confident of people, “As a kid growing up I was never the world’s most confident person.” Cage Warriors being on BT Sport within the UK, being the biggest European MMA promotion, and having the following Shore has, he feels no pressure of fighting, “But as far as MMA is concerned I don’t feel any pressure at all. There’s obviously the fight day nerves but anyone will tell you I deal with them very well and am more than comfortable in that environment.”
With the current revolution of MMA in Wales occurring, former Cage Warriors fighters Brett Johns, Jack Marshman and John Philips all in the UFC, Josh Reed who has just come off a title shot with Cage Warriors Bantamweight champion Nathaniel Wood, Lewis Long being the best Welterweight in the UK. It brings a realistic opportunity of making the UFC, “Definitely. Since the first bunch of Welsh guys have been signed to the UFC it’s shown for guys like me, Lewis Long and Josh Reed that what we are pushing for is no doubt achievable. I believe that if we keep doing what we are doing then that dream won’t be too far away.”
Whilst having such a successful start to his professional career, and with the attention, this young Welshman is bringing, Shore is in no rush for the Cage Warriors belt, but is prepared if the opportunity arises. “I’m just taking one fight at a time. I’m aware that I’m still young in terms of my pro career so I will continue to fight whoever Cage Warriors put in front of me. Should a big opportunity like that present itself I’ll make sure I’m ready.”
Shore seems to be mature for someone of the age of just 22, the future seems bright for the young Welshman. Jack Shore fights on the up and coming Cage Warriors 87 card Saturday, 14th October at the Newport Centre, Newport, Wales. The event will be free-to-air on UK sports channels FreeSports, as well as be on UFC FightPass and via the red button on BT Sport.
Check the main card out for Cage Warriors 87 below:
Lewis Long vs Roberto Soldic (Welterweight)
Craig White vs Matt Inman (Welterweight)
Jack Shore vs Mattia Galbiati (Featherweight)
Aiden Lee vs Ludovit Klein (Featherweight)
Aaron Khalid vs Ross Houston (Welterweight)
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