The northeast has always been a hotbed for MMA but what has transpired over the past couple of months has got one promotion in deep waters. From cancelled events, to failed sponsorship deals, to fighter pay issues and to even bounced Athletic Commission checks one local promotion needs a life vest, fast.
Thankfully, it looks like a savior, who is a big name athlete, has stepped up to throw the necessary life vest into the northeast MMA waters. Oddly enough, by way of MMA manager and co-owner of the Combat Sports Agency, Brian Gillespie.
The promotion that I am talking about is the American Fighting Organization (AFO) out of Providence, Rhode Island. With over 30 plus events in the past six-years, the AFO is the longest active promotion in the Northeast. AFO was also the the first organization in the northeast to have a local TV deal and at one time was the go-to promotion if you wanted to get into the UFC or other major organizations.
Sadly, over the course of the past 12 months, the AFO has destroyed several big sponsorship deals, including one that I personally brokered with my former company MMA Victor (Fantasy MMA). They have also cancelled numerous events and even took a half-of-year off to cool down the heat from upset fighters, sponsors and even the commission.
The last straw for AFO came last month at its annual Summer Brawl event where numerous fighters have reported that they were not paid and the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission checks bounced. Safe to say, the AFO in its current state is not only drowning, but needs a life vest, now.
Thankfully, this is where Brian Gillespie contacted me. I had the luxury of speaking with Gillespie briefly this morning about this deal and how a big athlete wants to right the wrongs of the past in AFO and gets these fighters, as well as others, taken care of.
“This person was planning on starting his own promotion anyway,” Gillespie said. “He heard about the problems knew he could fix it and simply asked if I could step in and broker the deal. First and foremost, he is going to take care of these guys who are stuck in limbo, and make sure that everyone owed money gets paid. What happens after that is not for me to say, but it is about to get interesting again.”.
Now, when I dug for a name Gillespie wouldn’t allow me to use the other persons name, but he did tell me the “who” and fans of combat sports as well as local fighters should get ready.
Safe to say, the northeast is going to have a revitalization and it is going to be something that MMA fans, fighters and fellow promoters will not want to miss. Also, for anyone owed money from that Summer Brawl 6 show should contact Brian Gillespie directly.
I will have more on this as the story evolves, so stay tuned for more only here on TheMMAReport.com