A Moment With Al Fuentes, President of the World Fighting Federation

Todd Jackson@tjaxmmaSenior Analyst IJune 17, 2010

Momentum can be a powerful and equally intriguing thing.  It can become the fuel for success and when it comes to mixed martial arts, momentum has been built that simply cannot be stopped at the highest levels of the sport. 


That same momentum can be found at the regional level as the sport continues to grow. For organizations like the World Fighting Federation, their own momentum seems to be charging full steam ahead.


Many fight fans can not make a WEC or UFC event, but they still want to take in quality MMA in a live setting.  Many athletes may want to compete but obviously are not connected or prepared enough to compete for such elite promotions. 


Promotions like the WFF provide the platform for those fans and fighters to come together. 


Any fighter will tell you, not all promotions are created equal. Some are of a high quality, many others are not. The WFF has proved to be one of the best experiences for a fight fan. 


Known as "The Fighters League", the WFF is pulling talent from across the nation. Their reputation amongst fighters and the camps they represent is impeccable.


Words like class act, family, and friends are used when fighters describe their experience with the owners of the organization; Al Fuentes and Thom Ortiz.


When dealing with these men, it is easy to see how they established the reputation they have within MMA circles across the desert.


That reputation was built on a foundation of a desire to do things right.  Al Fuentes talked to hurtsbad.com about how he and Ortiz felt they should approach their goal of creating a quality MMA brand.


"We really looked at how we could really do things with the best intentions for everybody involved. We are talking about the community that is going to buy the tickets, and that is why we decided to give 10 percent back to the community from every fight." 


"The fighters who help us really create a great show, we have done a lot of great things to help connects sponsors with our fighters.  We help the fighters learn how to develop as a fighter.  Not only skill wise, but also as a business." 


"We have helped the volunteers as best we can and they have given a lot of their time very generously.  We try to do everything we can to thank them.  Even the Cage Girls, they have their own website at cage-girls.com." 


As an example of their aspirations to support their primary asset, their fighters, Fuentes mentioned hopes of offering a stake in the company and even an internal health care system somewhere down the road. 


These are issues that some promoters would never breach. However, Thom and Al have made it a priority to eventually make those commitments a reality.


Fuentes took a moment to further discuss the charitable efforts of the WFF.  "With everything that has been going on we felt it was important to help.  We first just donated a lot of tickets to get the military people out there.


"Then the second go round, we decided to donate money to the National Guard Relief Fund which helps a lot of different troops."


Al and Thom were honored by the troops and were given a very nice lithograph of an AH-64 Apache as a token of their appreciation.    


Fuentes went on to talk about his partner Thom's Ortiz's expertise. The former ASU wrestling coach has turned his focus to mixed martial arts.  As the WFF match maker, his expertise is invaluable when recognizing talent and match ups. 


"Thom spends a lot of time in a lot of different gyms.  He really pays attention and watches who is doing what.  Then also he lends his services." 


Fuentes went on to say, "He is probably the best wrestling-to-MMA coach in the country.  Now that's a big statement but I've seen what he can do, I've seen who he has done it to and I know who he has trained with.  He just has this ability to really translate wrestling to MMA."


Speaking to Thom on any given day, it is never a surprise to hear about him working with Cain Velasquez, Ben Askren, or Ryan Bader. What Fuentes says is no exaggeration whatsoever.


With Thom and Al's approach many fighters will have a strong foundation built with the leadership and sincere guidance they will receive from two guys who have the tools to make them the best fighters they can be.  


Fuentes discussed the efforts they take to build up the fighter.  "We try to promote them, we get them on the radio, we get them on TV.  We get as many of them on the poster as we can.  We try to give them exposure on our website."  He went on to say, "We are trying to help them create a brand, and create an image, then teach them how to take advantage of that."


These notes are just the tip of the iceberg.  All of these efforts and intentions are brought together for one goal: putting on a quality event.  They are doing quite well, and their next event is upon fight fans of The Old Pueblo. 


The buzz in Tucson, and across all of Arizona to be honest, is building as the staff and the athletes of the WFF prepare for "Guerreros De Tucson" scheduled for June 19.  This event will be held at the gorgeous Anselmo Valencia Amphitheater of the Casino Del Sol.  


The outdoor venue brings an intimate feel and open air tone that will really frame the cage and the fights quite nicely.  With the cage to be centrally located in the crowd for the first time, fight fans in the desert will get a fresh look at an already classy event.


Speaking with Al Fuentes it is obvious he and Thom are not settling for good enough.  They are looking to improve the event in any way possible.  They have set their own bar high as the shows thus far have already been electric. 


There is no way to describe just how thrilling the crowd and the show have been in their first two events.    


Guerreros De Tucson boasts 11 fights total with more than one local fan favorite.  Guys like Eddie Arizmendi Jr., Nate Vorel, and Nick Piedmont may not ring a bell for you today.  But someday, with the talent they already carry and the help of the WFF, you will know those names.


They are just a few well-known local fighters looking to help the WFF by showcasing some very promising potential and talent for fight fans looking on. 


It is hard to imagine improving on what has taken place thus far, but it is compelling to think the improvements are in place, the fighters are set to go, and now its just a matter of time before they shock Tucson one more time.


This original article and entire audio interview are located at hurtsbad.com