12 January 2011
It’s with no lack of withdrawal shakes that I remind you all that we have not had a live fight promotion staged here in North Texas since North Texas Ultimate Fighting staged their amateur MMA card in Arlington on November 20. By my calculations that is entirely way too long a period to go between live fight promotions. Sure, boxing fans will point out that there have been a couple of amateur boxing tournaments to have taken place here in the last few weeks. Dully noted, and while I love me some amateur boxing the fact remains that the semblance between it and the pro ranks is striking.
Which is why I am such a huge fan of amateur MMA, the semblance between it and the professional counterpart are extremely minimal. In fact, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations (TDLR) oversees amateur MMA here in Texas meaning that promoters looking to put on an amateur MMA show must adhere to the rules and standards of a real pro fight card. If you haven’t attended an amateur MMA card, yet call yourself and MMA fan, then you are doing yourself a gigantic disservice.
The excitement of an amateur MMA card is propelling a number of local promoters to enter the waters of amateur MMA promotion. Reputable organizations such as BACA and NTUF have all entered the local amateur MMA fight promotion scene and both had experienced great success.
This Thursday night, the DFW Metroplex will welcome yet another amateur MMA promoter when Southwest MMA stages their inaugural promotion at the Grapevine Convention Center. While a prevalent problem in any combative sport promotion is a promoter’s inability to overcome the numerous hurdles and headaches that one could not possibly prepare for. Such hurdles have left many a promoter with a shattered dream and an empty bank account. But, where Southwest MMA assures they differ from these sad tales is the fact that they are not exactly new to this promotional thing.
Southwest MMA is essentially a one-man show operated by one AJ Soliz. Soliz is no stranger to the world of MMA promotion having cut his teeth working with the all but defunct Art of War promotion that had an extremely limited run in the Dallas market.
In an interview with Andrew Plante of ESPNDallas Soliz explains his fight credentials thusly:
“I've done other fights with business partners in Art of War. My main role was event production. I also worked on sponsorships and the fight card. We were only four in the group, so everybody had to wear many hats back then.”
Backed with this experience it is no wonder that Soliz seems confident in his ability to throw a successful promotion. Thursday night begins his dream as Soliz brings the first ever MMA event to his hometown of Grapevine, TX. The DFW is a region of the world that seems thirsty for the growth of MMA. Thursday night will give fight fans their first live fight fix of 2011 and Southwest MMA hopes that this is only the first of many successful promotions. Featuring a cadre of talented amateurs, one can only assume that it will be a night not to miss.
Battle at the 'Vine
What: Southwest MMA presents “Battle at the Vine”
When: Thursday, January 13, 2011 7:00 PM
Where: Grapevine Convention Center (1209 S. Main Street, Grapevine, TX)
Tickets: Tickets are modestly priced and can be purchased online at www.swmma.com
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