Substance Cage Combat 1.0 will feature several of the province’s top stars, including Adrian Wooley, Randy Turner, Alex Ricci, and Elias Theodorou, who will help end the nearly seven-month drought Ontario MMA fans have gone through since the final Score Fighting Series card in November.
According to SCC president Neil Forester, a longtime Toronto concert and event promoter and co-owner of Grant’s MMA Gym, the promotion’s primary focus is to help fighters in Ontario and Canada by providing them with another stage to perform on.
“I recognized a major void in Ontario of opportunities for our local pool of talented fighters to fight at home. Score Fighting Series was the last legitimate local organization helping to promote and develop Ontario MMA fighters, and I just felt like the sport needed someone to come in and fill that void,” Forester explained Tuesday. “This isn’t about making money for our group; it’s about helping to further develop the sport in Ontario and providing a stage for our local fighters to gain fight experience and get more exposure.”
Forester says he called in favors with his friends in the Ontario MMA and event promotion game and they all responded to the request with great enthusiasm. The support group he assembled is as strong as any promotion in Canada and reads like a who’s who of Ontario MMA players, including former boxing promoter and Wild Wing founder Rick Smicklas who will help co-promote SCC events, UFC welterweight and SCC matchmaker Sean Pierson, K-1 talent scout and SCC fighter liaison/event coordinator Alin Halmagean, Fight Network analysts Robin Black and John Ramdeen and veteran MMA journalist and PR rep Mike Russell. He also brought in Fight Network as his broadcast partner. The channel will broadcast the event in its entirety later in June.
“In addition to owning my own MMA gym with Ryan Grant, in my other core business I produce hundreds of events a year across Canada. For this endeavor I brought together a group of friends and business associates that I met through both businesses who share the same love and passion for the sport I do and who also have top-notch experience and expertise in their selected fields. This is by far not a one-man show. I have a team of people who all excel at their specific areas. We have a great MMA publicist, a great duo of matchmakers who are well versed and experienced in the sport, I have sponsorship co-coordinators, risk assessment managers, on-site coordinators, a world class production company handling the production, an artistic director for all of the design and marketing right down to the street team,” says Forester. “There is a team of 10-plus people who are helping put this thing together to help build something for the sport and they all have pretty much volunteered their time and skills to make this series a reality.”
If the inaugural event goes as expected, Forester says the group plans to run up to two more events in the Greater Toronto Area this year. In the meantime, his focus is on bringing Ontario MMA back with a bang on June 29.
“As we all know Ontario and specifically the GTA has long been referred to as the ‘Mecca’ of MMA. Although the sport is fairly young in this province, we have many world-class athletes who have been training here for years,” Forester points out. “This card will feature some of the sport’s top stars, who all just happen to be local standouts like Adrian Wooley and Alex Ricci, undefeated up and coming stars like Todd Stoute, Abdullah Teymouri and some really great new faces to the sport like Ahmed Akkar and many others. This card is going to feature some great local fighters with world-class abilities and I think fans are going to love what we have in store for them June 29.”
Tickets for SCC 1.0 go on sale at 9:00 am Friday, May 3 at www.ticketbreak.com
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