After a ban since 2007, MMA restarted in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia with series of local fight and of course the first ever UFC event in the city in June 2010.
With a huge fan base of MMA in Canada and specially Vancouver, we are seeing the quality MMA shows once again all over the Vancouver lower mainland. But one of the most professionally organized shows in western Canada is promoted by Jay Golshani the founder and president of Battlefield Fight League.
On August 21st Battlefield Fight League hosted its second successful show at River Rock Casino in Richmond. The event sold out in 48 hours. The quality of the production, fighters and media coverage were nothing but impressive.
After the fight night we did an interview with Battlefield Fight League president, Jay Golshani about how it all started and how he deals with challenges of promoting a big show.
1- Jay tell us about how you initially got interested in MMA and how did you get in to MMA promotion business?
I initially got interested in MMA back in 93 watching Royce Gracie beating guys twice his size on PPV. I've followed it since and saw it evolve into one of the biggest sports in the world.
I helped my friend with hardcore championship fighting in Calgary in 2007-2008, they put together great shows. They did some really good things but they also made some huge mistakes, it was great working with hardcore I learned a lot about the business in that time, I saw first hand what kind of stuff works and what kinds things will lead to failure .
2- How does Battlefield differentiates itself from other MMA events?
We believe that all the fighters and the camps involved with us play a huge role in our promotion and as we grow, we want all of them to stay involved and grow with us. We work really hard and work countless hours on every aspect of the business to make sure our athletes and their camps get the maximum benefit and exposure on our shows. Our fighters in return, train and prep super hard to perform their best at our events. Our fighters and us have mutual respect for each other and that's they key factor to our promotions success in the future. As we grow bigger and expand, we are going to do our absolute best to keep our fighters so they can grow with us and benefit from our growth.
3- What were some of the challenges for you in this business considering it is still a new sport fighting to be accepted?
Currently, it’s a little difficult for us being able to only use amateur fighters. It’s hard to get the proper recognition, a larger audience and larger TV deals when you don't have pro fighters. The city of Vancouver is working to come up with the right set of guidelines for promoters to follow to be able to hold pro events here, and once they establish those guidelines, we are going to hold the biggest MMA shows here in Vancouver. We are going to bring in the best guys around to fight top local guys like the old TKO days when you had St.Pierre, Loisou, Hominick and all the top Canadian guys go against the world in Montreal. BC fans are going to see the best fighters from across the world come here and fight against our top guys.
4- What is in the future for MMA in BC and Canada? There are different associations which are still voting to ban the MMA.
There's a lot of talk about doctors trying to ban MMA in BC and across Canada. That's all nonsense and I don't believe they're going to get to far with it. They tried to ban boxing in Britain 35 years ago and they didn't get anywhere with that. Are we going to ban hockey because guys shoot the puck at 100 miles per hour at the goalies head? Common, I think that's a lot more dangerous than MMA. Look at all the high impact hits in football with big strong athletes colliding at full speed. They are all contact sports and MMA is another contact sport.
Years from now people are going to look back and say we can't believe what the fighters and promoters had to put up with in the past. The way MMA is handled is some places is similar to how some things were dealt with in the old days. I always read articles about how some leagues didn't let African American athletes play baseball. There was no proper grounds behind those decisions and their basis were absolutely unfair and unjust. We are going through a similar process with MMA and I don't believe that its fair. Why should all other contact sports be accepted and MMA shows be kept out of the city? I think people need to get the proper education and learn the facts about the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. The facts are out there, there's less serious injury in MMA than there is in a lot of sports including hockey, football or boxing.
For more information about Battlefield Fight League, visit their website at www.battlefieldfl.com
Alireza Fadaie is a Vancouver based martial arts journalist and 2X Canadian national martial arts team member. He teaches Full Contact Karate, Kickboxing and Muay Thai at Richmond Sports Club. To learn more about him visit his website at www.warriorsclub.net