Second Tier MMA by Committee?

| May 6, 2011 | 8:00 am | Reply

Zuffa has done its best Pacman impersonation, gobbling up Pride, WFA, IFL, WEC and now Strikeforce, leaving no clear second organization.  I know Mark Pavelich would have you believe MFC is number 2 but the truth is it’s a committee effort to supply the needed fighters to move onto the biggest stages, as well as a home for those on their way down the ladder.

There are a heap of MMA events out there vying for your attention.  Some of them are cultivating fresh young talent up and some are using the Zuffa castoffs to try and shine on a smaller stage.  The only thing that’s certain is there’s a world of MMA beyond the control of Zuffa.  The perception that in order to be a top level MMA fighter, you must be in the UFC is absurd.  Here’s some shows out there trying to make it, and why they are worth a look.

Tachi Palace Fights

A Lemoore, CA landmark, TPF is a great showcase event for the up and coming and those trying to earn sports back on the biggest stage.  They have a show tomorrow night, which is being streamed free at and features a great main event of Ian McCall and the undefeated Dustin Ortiz.  Also on the card are former TUF alum, Efrain Escudero and Gerald Harris, looking to right their ships.  Also Cole Escovedo is fighting against the (7-1) Tommy Vargas.  Give it a look if you haven’t already. They have a great fighter base, rabid fans and usually put on one heck of a show.

BAMMA Fights

BAMMA, which stands for British Association of Mixed Martial Arts is an outstanding promotion from the UK.  They are on the verge of their sixth event this month, and it features some great fights and acquainted names.  Tom “Kong” Watson defends his Middleweight title against Murilo “Ninja” Rua and the card also features Frank Trigg, and was to feature Phil Baroni in a title match but he was forced off the card with an injury.  UFC veteran Ivan Salaverry stepped in to take his place.  Their last event featured the likes of Paul Daley, Ricco Rodriguez and James McSweeny.  They had an attendance over 6,000 for BAMMA 5 and expect another large turnout for their next event.

Titan Fighting Championships

Headquartered out of Kansas City, Missouri, Titan Fights has quietly built itself a solid following and is on the verge of running their 18th event.  They have had a virtual who’s who of former UFC and Pride fighters fight for them.  Most recently they’ve featured, Tim Sylvia, Abe Wagner, Jason High, Drew McFedries, Rich Clementi, Phil Baroni and Bobby Lashley.  This month they have an event that features Jens Pulver.  The event is scheduled to be aired live on HDNet on May 27th.

Shark Fights

Shark Fights is one of the few non-Zuffa promotions to dabble in the PPV market.  Some of the fighters to grace Shark Fights were Matt Horwich, Tara LaRosa, Keith Jardine, Trevor Prangley, Sokoudjou, Houston Alexander, Paul Daley, Joey villasenor, Brock Larson and Paul Bradley among others.  This month they are going to offer up another event, featuring a clash between Joey Villasenor and Chris Cammozi.  It will be the first time the promotion has ventured out of Texas.  The event takes place May 27th, but at this point it is unclear if the event will take place on HDNet due to a conflict with Titan Fighting airing the same evening.

Maximum Fighting Championships

Mark Pavelich has grown his promotion over the years and it is now set to take another step forward.  Never at a loss for talent, their shows have boasted some of the top fighters recently let go by the UFC as well as homegrown talent like Ryan Ford and Ryan Jimmo, the MFC Light Heavyweight Champion.   Their next event takes place on June 10th and will feature Drew Fickett taking on Hermes Franca, and Marcus Davis facing off with striking legend Pete Spratt.  MFC always airs live on HDNet.   They are leading the way of all the second level shows and could position themselves into the clear standing with some further success.


Bellator has made a run at the number two spot this year by having weekly events aired live on MTV2.  They have put together solid tournaments and non-title fights that have been exciting and compelling.  The fact that they run on a national television provider weekly basically has moved them into the number 2 slot.

M1 Global

M1 Global has grown to mainstream notoriety due in large part to their control and management of Fedor Emelianenko.  They also put on events, and of late those events have been wildly entertaining.  They might not currently offer household names, but they do promote exciting fights and some of their fighters have the ability to cross over and have huge careers.  I am especially interested in following the career of Magomed Sultanakhmedov, who has amazing striking and devastating kicks.


XFO has had 38 events and their 39th is right around the corner and is jam packed with action.  Check out some of these fighters on the card; Jeff Curran, Jamie Varner, Felice Herrig, and Jon Murphy will all compete.  I love regional events that sign some big name fighters and blend them with up and coming young talent.   XFO does that extraordinarily well.


The Japanese MMA scene has suffered in the past couple of years, but there’s still undoubtedly a pulse.  Dream makes its comeback this month with Dream 17.  It’s an event to help benefit Japan in the aftereffects of the March Earthquake and Tsunami.  The whole industry in Japan has suffered and Dream is an important step forward.


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Category: BAMMA, Bellator, Dream, Exclusive, M1 Global, Maximum Fighting Championship, MMA, Opinion, Shark Fights, Shine Fight Promotions, Tachi Palace Fights, Titan Fighting Championship

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