By Dave Madden @DMaddenMMA
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
What do hanging horseshoes, unbroken mirrors, and charms that ward off superstitious beliefs have in common? Absolutely nothing when it comes to Shamrock Fighting Championships (Shamrock FC). Shamrock FC’s CEO, Jesse Finney, checked in with MMA Mayhem Radio and verified his efforts, in conjunction with his team, to build a top-rated MMA organization had nothing to do with luck, and the same work ethic has been manufactured to provide a thrilling card on September 11, 2015 at the River City Casino and Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri for Shamrock FC: Fuel.
— The Lateral Press (@LateralPressPod) September 3, 2015
Finney began on the side of the rainbow void of any gold,
“We’ve been around for seventeen years, and we are putting out a product that, I feel, is first class all the way around.”
As Roman philosopher Seneca (4 BC-65 AD) stated: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” and Finney recognizes the opportune fortune cookie Shamrock FC offers its athletes and fans,
“We’re here to build stars, but, listen, we are here to build stars for the UFC and Bellator. I get that. We are, I feel, a top five organization in the United States of America, and I feel like the people who come to our shows: It’s not just about the show; it’s about an experience they have when they come to the shows. It’s not just about the fights, but the experience…and the after-party afterwards.”
Playing the role of a customer pleasing, casino pit-boss, Finney took notice that you just missed the jackpot after feeding the machine credit after credit; therefore, he sauntered over and comped a trip through the buffet,
“I feel like some people get shortchanged; I really do. They are going to go to a fight and see their buddy fight, and see just a fight. Man, it’s really not about that; it’s about an experience. You can see some of the fights we put on. The fights, in general, are great, and we are going to put on a damn good show on September 11.”
Instead of circumventing any ladders, Finney and Shamrock FC continue to climb them:
“Right now, I get to sit here with you ten days out, and if you said, ‘Jesse, I need tickets,’ I can’t get you tickets. It’s completely sold out, except for some standing room only. I think that says something about our brand. We’ve been doing it so long, and people are very loyal to our brand. Their expectations are high, so they are going to expect a great show; hopefully, we’ll put that on for them.”
Finney’s description of the organization doesn’t read like the fine print on the back of a lottery ticket, and he scratched out Shamrock FC’s very successful model,
“I say this on a pretty consistent basis: Our stars are going to come and go. I can’t provide a career for millions of dollars for these fighters to go out and make their money. I hope in the future we can, but, for right now, I know we can’t do it. So what we try to do is put together a product for the fans that are there because they are going to know that at a Shamrock show: This is what I’ve come to expect, and this is what I’m going to get. I want these guys to move on to the UFC; I want these guys to move on to Bellator. I want these guys to make millions of dollars, and we’ve helped probably forty or fifty of them throughout our seventeen years of business.”
If every fight promoter hangs a rabbit’s foot on the rearview mirror of their vehicle, what makes Finney’s so special,
“If you are going to do it, do it right. If you are going to put one fight-show together; if you are going to put fifty fight-shows together, just do it right. Do it first class. Don’t try to chince and just try to save money here or save money there. I feel like, long-term, if you don’t reinvest in your product, it’s not going to sustain longevity. I feel like you can’t let your ego get in the way of your pocketbook.”
On a proverbial stroll with Finney, those held fast to their speakers, like a stem to a four-leaf clover’s petals, learn some ins and outs of the prerequisite mindset to operating a well-followed promotion. You get the sense that only white cats were crossing your path. The black ones are there, but Finney staved them off, protecting your vantage from any ill-willed perceptions:
“I hear people all the time, ‘Ah, I want to be on TV; I want to be on TV,’ with a lot of these promotions. You’ve seen hundreds of guys throughout the years; they’re going to be the next big thing for that night. You’re going to be the next big thing for the next couple of shows. But then, all of the sudden, you’re going to be broke and hiding from everybody.”
A promoter’s excitement for a card only fuels fans’ interest to click ‘Buy Now’ because rarely do these highly anticipated events fall short. If, by chance, a particularly pumped-up pay-per-view proved to be a pancake, the thud was muffled in comparison to the heavily publicized event on November 2, 2001, UFC 34: High Voltage. Chronicled in “Big” John McCarthy’s autobiography Are You Ready? Let’s Get It On! (2011), the UFC, under the freshly formed Zuffa banner staged their third event, which was also the UFC’s return to pay-per-view since previously owned by SEG (Semaphore Entertainment Group). McCarthy captured the aftermath when the event extended beyond its time limit and entertainment expectations were not met,
Despite their best efforts, Zuffa had repeated the mistake SEG had made at UFC 4 in 1994. Many customers asked for refunds, and the event was considered a financial disaster. The fights weren’t considered particularly interesting either. Of the eight bouts offered, six went to anticlimactic decisions. (p. 301)
Finney’s hype for Shamrock FC’s appearance in St. Louis on September 11 fuels my hope that my online purchase of the event, shamrockfightingchampionships.com/watch-live/, will find me to be the one-millionth customer. Finney stated,
“I’m so excited for this card that I had my wife get a sitter. We are staying the night at the casino because I’m jacked for the card. This is a don’t miss card. Actions speak louder than words; I mean, don’t listen to my words, but I’d say this is just an incredible job putting these fights together. This card is just straight kick ass from the top to the bottom.”
You don’t want to miss Shamrock FC: Fuel; it’ll be magically delicious!
— Shamrock FC (@Shamrock_FC) September 5, 2015
UFC Announces Liverpool Event, Darren Till Main Event
Scousers are drowning in celebration this evening. Earlier today, UFC officials announced the addition of a Liverpool show to their 2018 event calendar. Liverpool’s, Echo Arena, plays host for the event, which takes place on May 27th.
Liverpool’s own, Darren Till made the announcement this afternoon with Dan Hardy at the UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov, ceremonial weigh-in. When asked by Hardy what it means to have the UFC in Liverpool, he had this to day, “Words can’t describe it. It doesn’t do it justice, words. So, it’s coming and I’m going to be the first Scousers to ever have done it. In 200 years they’re going to remember my name in combat sports in Liverpool. I’m gonna take someones chin off in Liverpool, that’s what’s happening”.
He was also quoted in an release from the promotion saying, “I can’t believe UFC is finally coming to Liverpool and I’m going to be headlining Echo Arena. My name is going to be remembered in 200 years time for being part of this historical event and I can’t even describe how much that means to me”. Till will headline the card, his opponent is yet to be announced.
In the official release, it quotes David Shaw, Senior Vice President International and Content, claiming, “The stars really aligned for the Octagon to touch down in Liverpool. We have seen such phenomenal demand from fans in the region for a live event. Pair that with having such a rising, local star in Darren Till it made absolute sense to bring our first live event to this historical combat sports city in 2018”.
UFC Liverpool lands on a date speculated for a different venue, in a different country. Reports swirled last month, specifically one from MMAFighting.com, which claimed the May 27th date belonged to the UFCs return to Dublin. A return to Dublin doesn’t seem to fall completely out of the realm of possibility. For now, it remains to be seen.
The UFC also announced two bouts, both in the Middleweight division, booked for the event. Elias Therodorou takes on Trevor Smith, and Daniel Kelly goes up against England’s Tom Breese.
Marco Reyes Flagged for Potential Anti-Doping Policy Violation
Earlier today, UFC officials announced that Lightweight, Marco Reyes was flagged for a potential UFC Anti-Doping Policy violation. The potential violation hails from a sample collected on March 8th, 2018, in an out-of-competition test.
Reyes made his way into the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, season 2. Competing in the lightweight bracket, Reyes defeated Christhian Soto by 2nd rd. TKO of a preliminary round bout. He then went onto to face Horacio Gutiérrez, in the semifinals of the tournament. Gutiérrez defeated Reyes in the opening round by TKO.
Following his elimination from the tournament, the Mexican fighter met Cezar Arzamendia on the series finale, The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 2 Finale. Reyes impressively defeated Arzamendia, whom was the first overall pick for Team Gastelum, by 1st round KO.
From there, Reyes defeated Dong Hung Kim (rd. 1, KO), and Jason Novelli (Split Decision) respectively, before falling to rising contender James Vick. Most recently, the Lightweight fighter dispatched Matt Frevola in the opening round, ruining the Long Islanders promotional debut. His bout against Frevola took place at UFC Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi, on January 14th of this year.
The UFC statement on the matter reads as follows:
The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Marco Reyes of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on March 8, 2018.
USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Reyes. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.
Dillon Danis to make Pro debut against Kyle Walker at Bellator 198
Mixed Martial Arts officially adopted another incredibly talented jiu-jitsu practioner today. Bellator officials announced today the long-awaited debut of Dillon Danis, whom the promotion had signed in the year previous. After zero amateur and countless jiu-jitsu matches, Danis makes his debut at Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, against Kyle Walker.
Kyle Walker enters the match up also making his Bellator debut. Walker recently made a resurgence in 2016 after taking off, almost exactly, 3 years. Since returning to the professional scene his record is 0-3, losing each fight by stoppage (2 Sub, 1 KO).
Walker looks to snap his streak yet, his opponent could provide a major challenge. In terms of advantages for Walker, he has a massive and obvious one. His experience. Walkers opponent fights for the first time in the sport of MMA. While Danis competed in many top-level jiu-jitsu tournaments and matches, comparing the competition would stop and end upon examining the rule sets. It is quite obvious, the difference. Danis will have a bit of adversity to overcome, in that respect.
In spite of this, Danis’ team, he trains out of the highly regarded SBG Ireland. Even before his MMA training, he trained under Marcelo Garcia. He earned his black belt in April of 2015, following an incredible 2014. In that year, Danis became UAEJJF World Champion, winning gold in the 82 kg (181 lb.) Brown belt category.
The prospect of what that could look like inside the cage is exciting. He may have developed some striking techniques but, the lack of time dedicated to that training in undeniable. Experience and time is required to develop skills of any kind.
Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, takes place on Saturday, April 28th from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Bellator 198 features the third of four preliminary bouts in the promotions Heavyweight Grand Prix, Fedor Emelianenko takes on Frank Mir. It serves as the nights main event. Other bouts on the card feature; Emmanuel Sanchez against Sam Sicilia, Neiman Gracie faces Javier Torres, Rafael Lavato Jr. vs. John Salter, and more.
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