(pictured: Marlon Moraes, left; Brandon Hempleman, right)
In recent times, it seems as if the core of the MMA fans have only had the UFC to look forward to on a consistent basis. However, with the launch of World Series of Fighting’s international string, it seems as if fans will have some more consistency in their future. This also has to be a sigh of relief to prospects and veteran fighters knowing they could potentially have a new home outside the UFC to either wind down their careers, repolish their careers, or just getting started. They’re definitely raising the bar for all promotions not named UFC. Here’s my take on their promotion:
WHAT WSOF IS DOING RIGHT
Prospects and Rising Stars: WSOF is housing a group of promising, rising prospects in their stables.
Justin Gaethje (10-0) will be fighting for the WSOF Inaugural Lightweight Title Jan 18th in Florida.
Nick Newell (11-0) another undefeated lightweight only baring 1 and 1/2 an arm.
Marlon Moraes (12-4-1) a bantamweight on a war path that no one is really anxious about signing a bout agreement with.
Steve Carl (21-3) WSOF’s new Welterweight Champion who’s strength, grappling, pace, and cage intelligence seems to be giving problems to even the most seasoned veterans.
Tyrone Spong (2-0), sure he only has 2 MMA bouts to his credit, but don’t let that overshadow what this light heavyweight has done in the world of kickboxing, boasting a 73-6-1 1NC with 46 knockouts.
Georgi Karakhanyan (23-3-1) A seasoned submission specialist who only in his 2nd bout in the promotion captured the WSOF Inaugural Featherweight title
That’s just to name a few. Not to mention signing Yushin Okami was the best move they could’ve possibly made to expand their Japanese market. Feel free to visit WSOF’s website at http://wsof.com
Employing MMA Veterans: The executives made probably one of the best decisions for their company when they left themselves open to signing MMA veterans, specifically UFC veterans. Sometimes, fighters reach a peak in their career or get too comfortable in their specific skill set, that they have to learn and polish news skills. That can’t always be done in the top level. Example: It isn’t the wisest for B or even C-level strikers, jiu jitsu practioners, wrestlers, grapplers to practice their new techniques on fighters with the same skill set at the A-level. They have to work their way up.
“Is that the only reason why it’s a good idea to bring in long time UFC or MMA veterans?” I’m glad you asked. The answer is, no. Veterans have an infinite amount of knowledge in MMA and can pass that knowledge to willing prospects who need proper guidance for their careers. No one’s perfect. It is possible that a fighter may have some tips here and there that will help a rising star to guide their career in the right direction. Housing long time veterans such as Anthony Johnson, Andrei Arlovski, John Fitch, Josh Burkman, Miguel Torres, and Jon Fitch was a no-brainer strategy for WSOF. The veterans will help the younger keep their careers in an objective perspective.
Going International: Go BIG or go home. Tell me what other promotion has gone international in just 399 days on their 7th show? Anyone? WSOF has already breached the Canadian market, a market that is MMA thirsty. It’s one of the smartest moves any MMA promotion can make. With the sponge of the UFC, Resurrection Fighting Alliance, and that other company also soaking up talent, the market for American fighters is very thin. Not to mention, it’s very expensive to import fighters from other countries. Solution? Expand!! Go to other countries and give other fighters and opportunity to work for you. Give them a chance to get paid with a solid promotion. Touch other broadcasting networks. Build new relationships with other sponsors in foreign territory. In 2014, WSOF intends on hosting events in countries such as Japan, Australia, and the UK. And those are just the one they haven’t informed me about.
Keeping It Classy; No Public Attacks Other Promotions: MMA fans are MMA fans for a reason. Having a war of words with UFC President Dana White has proven that if you try to divide the MMA crowd, they’ll teeter more towards the UFC. Ask Scott Coker, Gary Shaw, and Tom Antencio. Ask….yeah. Nevermind. Don’t ask THAT guy.
Last night, WSOF President Ray Sefo publicly took to twitter to wish Invicta President, Shannon Knapp, “good luck” with their show last night, who also was putting on their 7th installment of Invicta Fighting Championship.
WSOF Matchmaker, Ali Abdelaziz, also bid the promotion and the president a good show as well.
Showing Interest In WMMA: Signing one of the top WMMA strawweights in the world in a 16-4 Jessica Aguilar (AKA “Jag) tells you that they have an interest in WMMA. One of the biggest mistakes THAT other promotion made was not promoting them enough. With the understand that Sefo and Abdelaziz have of the fans and the sport, I’m sure that they’ll push and promote women the right way. The 115lb division is one of the deepest divisions worldwide. Bringing in Jag, a 20 fight veteran, is a good foundation to build on, mentor young fighters, and provide an extension to the promotion.
Network Television/Marketing/Sponsors: WSOF’s debut took place on NBC Sports Network. Again, what other MMA promotion has debuted on a major network for their first show? Someone over at NBC saw the potential of their promotion and put the muscle behind it to help make it work. Recently, WSOF acquired a full scale marketing, advertising and consulting company in Lamark Media Group (http://lamarkmedia.com/). A marketing company who is on the rise and has outstanding relationships with hundreds of networks. The owners of Lamark Media Group are also the same group who owns Swole Sports Nutrition (http://www.swolesports.com/ ) , which you saw on the mat at WSOF 7 last night. Along with a well known sponsor like Boost Mobile and more to come, WSOF is set up for success for 2014.