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Exclusive Interview with the Tuff-N-Uff’s Jeff Meyer

Tuff n Uff poster Exclusive Interview with the Tuff N Uffs Jeff Meyer

Las Vegas, Nevada is known as Sin City, for all the hijinks that people get into when they visit. It is also known as the Fight Capital, for all the big Boxing and MMA events that take place here yearly. However, it is also home to one of the best amateur MMA organizations in the country as well.

We had a chance to talk to Tuff-N-Uff’s Jeff Meyer and get a little background information about the promotion and how it all came to be the company that it is today.

First off, I’d like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to me. Could you start by telling our readers a little bit about who you are?

My pleasure and thanks for the interest in Tuff-N-Uff.  My name is Jeff Meyer and my brother Barry started Tuff-N-Uff Productions in 1994, after seeing the first UFC and realizing that was his calling in life.  We grew up as martial artists from a young age so fighting has always been a part of our family (both between Barry and I and in formal competitions against other people).  When most Americans were exposed to the first UFC, like we were in 1993, MMA wasn’t legal in where we grew up in Chicago so we promoted a kickboxing event at our high school gym and can track our name on a poster way back to then.

What exactly is Tuff-N-Uff? What did you do before you got involved with the company?

Tuff-N-Uff is an amateur fight league based in Las Vegas. We like to think of our promotion as a breeding ground for the top up-and-coming fighters in the country. We produce a TV show called “The Future Stars of MMA” and hold fight events monthly that showcase the fighters that we think will be stars in our sport soon.  We also run an after school program called “Unity through MMA” which was voted “Most Innovative After School Program of 2010” by the Boys and Girls clubs of LV.

Barry and I used to be commodities traders, stock brokers and hedge fund salesmen and we left a sick office with an insane view of the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, California to pursue our passion of promoting fights here in Vegas.

Over the years, Tuff-N-Uff has advanced in many ways, just as any good company should. Can you remember back to your first show and describe what it was like then?

Haha, thanks for the compliment and I can remember it like it was yesterday.  We had some of the best kick boxers in Chicago come to our high school gym where we put a ring and some chairs and tables around it.  There was bleacher seating and we had a DJ who brought a couple small speakers and we had a special guest appearance by Keith Hackney (UFC fighter they call the Giant Killer). It was gritty and kinda grimy feeling of pure satisfaction because most of the fighters were our friends and it’s always fun to cheer on your friend’s fights.  Oh and the fact that Dean Hargasheimer, who put us in detention for fighting many times, was probably less than pleased that we were holding FIGHTS in his sacred facility was awesome too!

What are some of the biggest changes that have been made within the company, production wise?

We’ve recently decided to switch to a cage from a ring because the fans overwhelmingly voted in a Facebook poll to switch.  We also have been filming in high-definition video and editing a TV show so we’ve increased the quality of the live events by making sure the TV show is awesome content too.  We always have some cool lasers but last month we brought these super high-tech new ones that can do all kinds of crazy designs and spelled out the names of each fighter as they walked into the cage.  Oh and we like things LOUD so we brought in what I guess they call a line array speaker set up that they usually use for concerts.

Few weeks ago we saw former Tuff-N-Uff competitor Ryan Couture in his second pro fight with Strikeforce. Who are some other former Tuff-N-Uff competitors that are now fighting in the big leagues?

Yeah, that was really cool to see Ryan win again and we wish him continued success!  A lot of guys have gone on from Tuff-N-Uff to professional fighting leagues but a few that stand out are Jon Fitch, Aaron Riley, Sam Morgan and Ryan Couture.

Coming up next month is the Final of the tournament you set up to crown the first ever Tuff-N-Uff Women’s 145lb Champion. How significant is that to the promotion?

It’s very significant because we’re big supporters of Women’s MMA and we believe that the tournament format that we use is the most fair way to really tell who is the best fighter because the true champions are crowned after they advance through the brackets.  The girls that own Tuff-N-Uff title belts are the tuffest girls in the land, I can guarantee you that!

Being one of the premiere amateur organizations, do you feel that having tournaments will attract more talent?

Thanks again for the compliment and yes, we believe that tournaments will attract more talent because fighters want to fight and we want to provide them as much opportunity as we can.  We’ve thought about having a 3 day tournament, where the winners will progress each day and then the winners would be crowned on the 3rdday.  This way, we could almost open it up to anyone who wants to fight and set up a couple of cages and let there be fights all weekend. It kinda reminds me of the Roman emperor that had something like 6 months of fights in the coliseum every day straight.  Ok google search reveals: In A.D. 107, the Roman Emperor Trajan entertained the people of Rome with an extravaganza (a munus in the Colosseum) lasting 123 days, to celebrate his Dacian conquest and victory over King Decebalus. During these 123 days, 11,000 animals died and 5000 pairs of gladiators fought, according to Dio Cassius 68.15.1.

That would be pretty cool nowadays, wouldn’t it?

Can you describe the process that a fighter must go through in order to be able to participate in your promotion?

Sure, we get about 5-10 new people registering on our website that want to fight every day so we are lucky that we have so much talent to choose from. When we find a fighter we’d like to consider having on a fight card, we will contact their trainer to verify that they are indeed training and serious about fighting.  Then we try to let them know an opponent as soon as we know who they’ll be fighting.  We always try to get fighters from reputable gyms so that we feel safe putting them in the cage but we’re also understanding of fighters that can’t afford gym memberships continually and try to watch some of their training sessions, usually in garages just to make sure they’re serious.

What do you think you’d be doing right now if you had never gotten involved with Tuff-N-Uff?

I love technology and have a long history in finance so I’d probably be doing some kind of trading or investing on NASDAQ or EUREX.

My final question for you is: if you could send a message to all the MMA “haters” out there, what would you tell them?

Please have an open mind and do a little research because MMA is way safer than most contact sports including boxing. The Martial Arts code is honor, respect and discipline so if you dig around a little, you’ll find that MMA is full of the guys/girls who weren’t the quarterback of their high school football team or star baseball player or whatever.  A lot of us kids were into martial arts and this is what we love to do.

Thank you for your time, feel free to take a moment to thank all the people who have helped you get here.

Thank you very much to my brother, Barry Meyer, for allowing me to be along for the ride.  We’re very fortunate to have the community in Vegas behind us and thank the gyms and fighters the most for their support! 

You can watch the next Tuff-N-Uff event live at next Saturday, March 12th.

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Tags: Exclusive, Interview, Jeff Meyer, MMA, Tuff N Uff

Category: Exclusive, Interview, MMA, Tuff N Uff

About the Author ()

Aspiring chef turned MMA writer after financial issues prevented me from pursuing my first dream. Ever since I started watching MMA, I've read up about it and talk about it all the time and with the encouragement of family and friends I finally decided to actively pursue a career in writing about it.

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