On October 17, in Lordsburg, New Mexico, Xtreme Courage Fighting Championships will be rocking the desert. Lordsburg may be a small rural town, but on this night XCFC owner Shane Dunagan looks to light up the desert sky with an event that needs only one name; Havoc.
The XCFC has been in the MMA business four years now, it is without a doubt that they know how to put on a show.
I had a chance to talk with XCFC owner Master Dunagan recently. Master Dunagan's quest for purity and honesty in this sport is nothing short of dignified and honorable.
That dignity and honor stem from an extensive background in the world of martial arts. A 5th Dan in Tae Kwon Do, Master Dunagan began his quest in martial arts some time ago.
"Ive been doing Tae Kwon Do since '85. I started martial arts in '80. I've been doing several martial arts, a little bit of everything from Wing Chun to Shotokan, to Muay Thai, the list goes on."
The core of martial arts is extremely apparent when talking to Master Dunagan about his ambitions for his promotion in the sport of MMA. His promotion the XCFC is not only making a name for itself with fight fans, but also with the fighters themselves.
For an amateur fighter trying to make a name in this sport, it can be difficult at times to gain exposure but also protect ones self in the process. This is a business that has been marred with shady practices that loom behind the scenes.
On the big stage it may be less apparent but at the regional level, sometimes the fighter becomes a victim. Promoters will at times offer what they can not deliver or worst yet lie to get a fighter in the cage. The result of that is an unfair playing field which leads to impure events.
Everything from an opponents prior experience can be misrepresented all the way to something as simple as whether or not an opponent made weight. These are crucial areas of focus for an amateur trying to find his way in this sport and protect his future. Master Dunagan is taking extra steps to ensure that does not happen to those who fight under his banner.
"What i try to do with the XCFC is I try to put up a level playing field. I really check the guys out, talk to them, and communicate with them. I do my own match making and I just try to keep fair play. So our guys come in all weighing the same, their experience is always really close. We want to be honest with everybody and keep it fair.
"The fighters really have a lot of respect for me for that. I guess that's just not the norm for events that are going on elsewhere, they just don't get treated very good in that sense."
Shane is very proud of the recognition his events get from fight fans and fighters alike. He has a great turnout with fight fans from Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, and fighters from all over the country as well.
"We get a lot of compliments on our fights. I've had people tell me that my fights are better than UFC fights. I think we have a really good deal. It's kind of crazy, you show up at an outside venue, North Park in Lordsburg NM, it doesn't look like much of a venue but once we get everything set up we turn it into a pretty good show. We usually pull about 1,200 spectators to a small rural area."
Shane also talks about expanding his reach. "We are looking at traveling a little bit more in the New Mexico area. We are talking about Deming, possibly Las Cruces, I've looked into the Albuquerque area." This will allow him to bring his unique brand of MMA to a more broad audience in the southwest.
For now, on October 17 local fans can look forward to some explosive amateur match ups and a class act promotion backing them up in the XCFC. If I took one thing away from my conversation with Master Dunagan, it was this; treat the fighters right, put on exciting show with exciting rules, and the rest will come. This is a sound way to do business and earn the respect of both fighter and fight fans.
It truly was a pleasure speaking to someone who really puts the integrity of martial arts back into MMA. It seems so much today, fight fans suffer the business side of things. They must endure marketing, or strategic planning. What ever happened to honor and integrity fight fans? It is alive and well at the XCFC, and will be on display at their upcoming event Havoc.
In closing Master Dunagan had one final comment to make. "I think we've probably got the best event in NM. I'm not trying to brag, but I really do believe that. You know, it's overall about production, and fights, and the quality of fighters we put out."
What more is there really? Put on a good show by taking care of the roots of your aspirations, the fighters and the fans. The rest will take care of itself.