5.04.2009

FightTicker.com Exclusive: XFC 8 Post-Event Interview With Announcer Christopher James


One of the two XFC staff members I got the chance to speak to was XFC host/hype man/announcer Christopher James. At the first XFC show I attended in Tennessee, James was working the crowd making sure everyone was hyped up before the fights. At this second event, James took on a big role as an announcer, making his national television debut on the live HDNet broadcast. I caught up with James after the event to talk to him about his role with the XFC and even got the inside scoop on the entertaining story about how John Prisco discovered James.

(From Left to Right - Kenny Rice, Christopher James, Ron Kruck)

The full interview, with comments from XFC President John Prisco, is after the jump.

FightTicker: What did you think about the show tonight?

Christopher James: It was unbelievable. The fight card was sick, from top to bottom. The undercard had great fights and then the live side – unbelievable. I haven’t seen a fight card like this from any organization and I’m not saying that just because I’m with the XFC and I work here. I walked the crowd, listened to everybody – you tell me, have you seen a fight card this stacked?

FT: It was stacked for sure. Great fights all around. You were in good company tonight with the other broadcasters, Kenny Rice, Ron Kruck, Guy Mezger – how did you enjoy the announcing side of things?

James: This was my first live TV broadcast and I’m going to tell you honestly, I threw up this morning. I did. I was nervous, I was scared. I was a little emotional, my Dad died a few years ago, I lost him to cancer, and the woman I loved with all my heart, I lost her to cancer last year before we did the show in KY. I honored them tonight, I felt like they were here with me. I was all shaky and crazy but here I am. I work with a great group of people. I don’t know how I got here today, but here I am, I want to make the most of it.

FT: So you’re ready for a full-time career for the XFC?

James: If they’re going to have me, I’ll stick around for as long as they want me. But if they choose to go somewhere else, this is how I look at it – if I never get a chance to do it again, then you know what, I’ve had an excellent ride and an opportunity that some people will never get. I got to live a dream today because of John Prisco. I did a show for them in November of 2007. I wasn’t [yet] working officially for the XFC in that capacity. I work in a night club and I was announcing their bikini contest outside the plaza at the St. Pete Times Forum. As luck would have it, I got to step inside the cage in front of over 13,000 people – the largest crowd ever in the southeast for an MMA show – I got to go in there for three minutes and in that three minutes, I lit the crowd up. Not to be cocky, but I did. Like you said, I’m a hype guy. About a month later John [Prisco] came over to my club and sat outside and listened to me on a speaker and the rest is history. He sat outside, had a couple cocktails I think – maybe that’s why he liked me [laughs]. John sat outside for about an hour and listened to me and said he felt a good vibe from me and wanted to make me part of the team. I stepped in March of 2008 and did a few things and in the middle of the show he decided to make a change and that I was the guy he wanted. We’ve gone through some other ring announcers and hosts and now he lays it on my shoulders. It’s the coolest thing that he puts all that responsibility and respect on me and let’s me run the show. It’s a big deal, TV tonight, all across the country. He says to me, “You’re the man, make it happen.”

(At this point in the interview, XFC President John Prisco came over to offer a few comments on James.)

James [to John Prisco]: I was telling him about how when you decided to hire me you were sitting out in the parking lot listening to me, why don’t you tell him your spin on that?

John Prisco: I heard a lot about Chris and I wanted to check him out – he’s [working] in a strip joint, I knew my wife wouldn’t go for that so I went out in the parking lot. I was very lucky, there’s a speaker on the outside of the building, so you hear him on the outside. [Laughs] So I decided it was safe out there, I went and picked up a six-pack and listened to him. After ten minutes – next day I called him and he was hired and I’m very glad, he’s dynamite.

James: Like I said, he lets me go in here and do this, puts a lot of faith and responsibility in me. He’s a hard guy sometimes, he gets on you if you don’t do it right, but he makes me a better guy. He teaches me valuable lessons on doing the right and being a man, basically, so it’s all the honor and respect to this guy [Prisco], without him being here…

Prisco: It’s all our team. You know, the reason why we got to this place is we have an incredible bunch of people who are very passionate about our product and we’re not stopping until we’re successful and I think tonight we made a big step in that direction. We always knew we were good, we always knew we had a good product and now the country knows so we’re real excited about it. Thank you for all your support. Without all guys do online and all you talk about us, we wouldn’t get this support so thank you very much.

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James did a great job with his national television announcing debut. His background as a host and a hype man definitely served him well - some guys are great announcers but can't read the crowd. James was able to tune up the crowd at the right times and made sure the fighters got the response they deserved.

-PreView

(Originally posted on FightTicker.com)

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