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With the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, promoting fights in the United States this past year became a herculean task for many organizations. However, several promotions were able to move forward successfully. Notable among them was the Legacy Fighting Alliance. Despite not having the structure of the Ultimate Fighting Championship or Bellator MMA, the LFA still produced 13 events in 2020. CEO Ed Soares admits the financial costs were hefty at times, but he feels the effort put forth lifted the promotion’s brand up with the elites of the industry.
“Obviously, [COVID testing is] a huge added expense and there are so many other things that were expensive. For instance—people don’t even take into consideration with the COVID protocol at the time—we were giving everybody their own individual room. Most of the time people share rooms. So when you think about double the rooms, some people had to travel early, [or] they could only have one [corner-person], there were so many different things that financially; the costs were crazy,” Soares told Sherdog. “And you have to take into consideration we’re not making any of the ticket revenue money. So it was less revenue coming in, with [new] expenses. With our sponsors, our partners and our television distribution, we were able to figure out a way to do it. And I’ve got to tell you, I am very proud of what the LFA did as a company this past year. I couldn’t be prouder, and I’m excited about 2021. It’s going to be a huge year for us, and I felt that last year we really got our traction. We really separated ourselves from the rest of the pack. I do feel that in the United States, it’s the UFC, Bellator and LFA. Those are the top-three events. Nobody [else] is doing events.”
In his exclusive chat with Sherdog, Soares went in-depth on promoting fights during a global pandemic and how last year will change the LFA’s business strategies going forward. He also explained why he feels the organization is firmly entrenched as being mixed martial arts’ version of NCAA sports. In addition, he gave his thoughts on long-time friend and client Anderson Silva parting ways with the UFC and his reaction over other major organizations deciding to pass on his services.