11.24.2008

ICF: Redemption ----- Post-Event Comments


What follows are the post-event comments I got from talking to the promoters Steve Stanton and Jeff Hale; Dan Christison and Steve Banks; current UFC fighter Jake O'Brien; Chris Curtis, the new ICF Welterweight Champ; and Chad Hinton from Cincy MMA and Fitness.

The pic is one of Dan Christison, immediately following his victory. More pics are available on the ICF website - you can find those here.

A1Entertainment handled the pictures/sound/video - you can find them on the web here.

In case you missed my live blog of the event, you can find that here.

Check after the jump for the full post.



As with the last show I attended, everyone was more than willing to talk to me, and it was great hearing what everybody had to say. I realize that this post has a bit of length to it, but since the guys were so willing to talk to me, the least I can do is post as much as I can of everything they had to say. However, if you're wanting to skip to a particular part, I've put the names in bold so they're easy to locate.

Steve Stanton

About the show: “I couldn’t believe how many people (about 1200) showed up. We did a lot of TV ads, [ads] on the radio – just good fights. This is our fifth show, we’re taking off December and we’re going to come back January 24th. I just signed a big deal with Turfway, to put on a show every other month. We’re trying to get down to Bel Terra [casino], and to Louisville, KY [to put on shows]."

About the card: “It was sick. Dan [Christison] is a tough dude, Lambchop is a tough guy, a good guy. People just underestimate Dan, he’s tough – got good standup, good on the ground, he’s been around for years. Dan is great – he brought a lot of people with him and did a lot of promotion for the show through the internet and myspace and things like that."

About the show coming up in January: “We’re actually doing a big biker rally, I’ve got Live 2 Ride involved in it, Tombstone Motorcycles is going to be a sponsor, so is Live 2 Ride – we’ve got Hooters on board, and Miller Lite. Just a big biker rally Saturday during the day, and coming Saturday night we’re actually going to have a Florence, KY cop fighting a biker. We’re going to call it “Pigs vs. Hogs”.

About his own mma experience: “We were affiliated with Militech Fighting Systems, but I bought in with Scott O’Brien and we changed it to Domination MMA. We’re actually getting ready to team with Team Vision. We’re going to have a Team Vision up in Ohio and in Kentucky.”

On plans to get some other big names for the show: “Dan Christison is such a good guy, he’s hooking us up with some other former UFC guys. We’ve got a lot of big stuff coming. We’ve got Roger Bowling [MMA Big Show Welterweight Champion] is going to come and have a fight with us, and Mojo Horne might have a fight with us soon – we’ve got a lot of big things going on.”

On Competing with other local promotions, like the MMA Big Show: “We’re 100% competing against each other. Jason Appleton is a good guy and he runs good shows – he does sick production – nothing bad to say about him or his show at all. We’ve got a lot of the same fighters fighting for us that fight for him. We’re just trying to do our thing and he does his.”

On Promoting a Women’s fight: “Dara, out of Team Vision is great, she’s tough. She’s going to be one of my highlight fighters. We’ll have at least two women’s fights next time, maybe three – this time I didn’t even promote the women’s fight that much, but it got the biggest crowd response of the night. We’ve got ad spots on SpikeTV, and a lot of big promotion stuff coming up."

On signing fighters to exclusive contracts: “We’re getting ready to start doing exclusive contracts with guys, and getting ready to start promoting specific guys, too – I’m excited about everything we have come up."


Jeff Hale

On the show: “I was really happy with the show, I was satisfied with the turnout. I’m pretty much the matchmaker for the promotion and I was very pleased with how the fights turned out. It seemed like the crowd was into it, like we had a lot of good, even match-ups.”

On promoting women’s fights: “I think there might be one other [local] promotion that does women’s fight. We’ve always wanted to have women on, and Dara looked awesome tonight. Greenwell looked great tonight – it was a good fight and we hope that will set us apart, and maybe bring out more women that might be interested in it. They’re grown women that make the choice to fight and they enjoy it.”

On the January 24th show: “Differently, all I’d like to see is more people. More people and keep getting the good fights. You could say you want to change a lot of things, but the fights were really good tonight and I was really happy with them. I wouldn’t change any of the fights we had; the match-ups were great. The only thing I might do is pray more people come in. (PV’s note – Jeff told me that with the layout they use, the venue could probably accommodate about 2700 people). If we could squeeze 1500-2000 people in there every time, you’d never hear me complain."

On the time it takes to do the ICF: “It takes up about all of my free time. If I have any free time, it’s usually talking to a fighter on the phone, talking to my partner Steve. Steve is a crafty talker, to say the least." (PV’s note – I jokingly asked Jeff if he was going to take Monday off after putting on such a good show, and he replied that since they weren’t putting a show on in December, he might take Tuesday off, too, but then it’s back to work.)

On the financial aspect of promoting a show: “It’s been good. I think it’s a misconception – people think ‘Look at all these fans, you guys are ripping in money’, but the problem is, all those pretty lights, those cage, the professional grade fighters, all that costs money. The amateurs don’t get paid, but we do try to help them out with paying their gas so they can get down here for the show, because a lot of the amateurs travel a long way. I’d say on this show we haven’t lost money, but it’ll put us back to even so we can start the new year at zero. We made the decision August 30th of this year – we did four pro fights, and it was a great show, but we had to pay out a lot more money than we brought in. We decided what we’re going to do is a series of all-amateur shows, because that’s where you build up your purse to pay the pro fighters. We’re going to use amateur shows to get more people interested – we’ll still have the same high level of production and great fights, and that way we can build up a surplus, and we can bring in these high level pro fighters and pay them to get them here so the fans can see them. The bottom line is, [if we] take care of the fighters, they take care of the fans.”

On having Dan Christison in the main event: “Getting Dan was a “ [we] lucked into” situation. I honestly can’t remember how we ended up meeting him, but he came out to our September 20th show to ref for us and see if he might be interested in fighting for us. Great guy, he’s got a great wife, and we all seemed to mesh pretty good. They’ve got all these connections, they put the name out there, I think they brought almost 70 people on their own. That is a talent pool we’d like to draw from. Dan is an amazing fighter, and he’s got great connections. Dan puts on a great show, he knows other guys that put on a great show, it’s a great friendship to have."


Dan Christison

About the fight: “He went for a head kick – I saw his body weight shifting and thought he was going for a kick – I made the assumption – and sure enough, he went for the head kick…once it went to the ground, I was trying to transition to the side-guard or full mount, but he did a really good job of locking me down. He left his arm hanging out and I saw his head turn toward my right elbow and I thought his face was going to stay there, and I came back with an elbow and I think I might’ve gotten him on the ear. That was unintentional, I was sorry, I told him I was sorry and we just kind of continued on from there….he went for the underhook and I was able to transition to the shoulder lock."

About fighting for multiple promotions: “It’s gone well for me! I think it’s an awesome thing - there’s only so much an individual fighter can do for the community, and as a fighter fighting at smaller shows, we don’t necessarily make as much money as we do at the larger shows, so as far as monetarily, we can’t push all kinds of money to different charities and things in the community, but what we can do is give our time, hopefully somehow, some way that can inspire others to do the same, and if everybody in the martial arts community does that, we’ll move mountains."

About fighting in the local shows versus the bigger promotions like the UFC: “I like pretty much doing everything. No matter where you go, the UFC gets its guys from somewhere. They’re coming from the shows like these, and they’re the very same guys that I’m fighting now, lending my experience and name to the event, and to the [fighter’s] experience. The guy I fought tonight, Steve, is going to take this experience and work the crap out of his ground game, move ahead and hopefully grow from it. As a martial artist, my first and foremost concern – yes, I’d love to do well, but I want to also inspire. At The Sandbox, that’s my school, that’s one of our mottoes – We Seek To Inspire."


Steve Banks

About the loss to Christison: “Hey, you know, it happens – I’m more disappointed that I slipped. I’m not really concerned that I got submitted – everybody gets submitted. I’m more concerned I slipped. Every fighter falls, it doesn’t matter who you are. Tonight I got caught in a submission. So be it, it happens."

About the match in general: “I think I had him standing up – it was fun, I enjoyed the punching, elbows, knees, kicks. I’ve actually been working on my ground game a lot – I had surgery on my left shoulder about a year-and-a-half ago, and it just so happens that’s the side he got. I did feel my shoulder come out. It happens. I’m happy to fight a guy my size, that was enjoyable."

About the future: “I’m going to try and fight as soon as I can. I don’t feel I was seriously injured in this fight. My shoulder popped, but it went back, it feels fine, not sore. I want to fight as soon as possible. I’d absolutely love to have a rematch [with Christison]."

About being a pro fighter: “I just enjoy doing it. I actually work at Home Depot, and this to me is just pure fun. I don’t look at it any other way. I’d love to go to the top, but it’s just going to take time. Every win takes you a step forward, every loss takes you three steps back."


I also got the chance to talk briefly to “Irish” Jake O’Brien – he told me his next fight is going to be at UFC 94 (Penn vs. St. Pierre II) on January 31st, and that he was initially scheduled to face Christian Wellisch, but the UFC notified him it could be someone else, and that it hasn't been finalized.

In case anyone doesn’t know, O’Brien had almost a 14-month layoff between the Herring and Arlovski fights. He had to have neck surgery – he had both a herniated disc and a pinched nerve. However, O’Brien assured me that he’s running at 100% and he’s ready to get back in the cage after back-to-back losses to Andrei Arlovski and Cain Velasquez. He also let me know that he’s got three more fights left on his current UFC contract.

I asked O’Brien what it was like to have his first televised UFC fight (third overall) be against Heath Herring, in his UFC debut. O’Brien told me that it was definitely a step up in competition for him,

I also spoke toChad Hinton, the MMA Big Show Lightweight Champ and co-owner of Cincy MMA & Fitness.

About the Fights: “I thought it was an exciting night – these guys put on a hell of show, the match pairings were great, a lot of good competition, one of the better cards I’ve seen in a while.”

On his teammate Marcus Finch’s tough decision loss: “We go back to business Monday as usual. My guys haven’t lost a whole lot. We’re a fairly new team. I was just talking to the guys tonight – we were actually, as a team, 29-1, coming into the fight. To lose two fights in one nights is a little humbling, but we feel it’s going to help us grow, help us get better. In order to get better sometimes, you have to lose. If anything, it’ll make Marcus a better fighter for sure.”

Chris Curtis, the newly crowned ICF Welterweight Champ had this to say: “I just came here on two fights back to back, so I was already in pretty good shape. He [Justin Hunt] had a pretty heavy right hand, so I worked a lot on that, just countering the right hand. He’s a tough kid, but this is what you put the hours in at the gym for, this is what we do everything for.”


FYI, two of FightTicker.com's newest site members fought on this card. Chris Curtis, TheActionMan513, and George Oiler, nofee. Drop them a line and say congratulations - they both deserve it.

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So there you have it. Being at the show, it wasn't hard to see that Steve and Jeff had put in a ton of time getting this show together, and it clearly paid off for the fans. The fights were exciting, the the crowd seemed to really get into everything. I'll definitely be back on January 24th to see what they've lined up for us then.

-PreView

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