All the fans know the UFC and all the press report on that promotion but where do their fighters come from? What else is going on now? Perhaps most importantly what shows should fans watch to see tomorrow’s stars develop? The Declaration of Independents is a monthly snapshot of what is going on in the non-UFC or “independent” scene.
The Olympics are going on and winter is still raging giving MMA fans a bit of a break in non-UFC action for another week or two. At the end of the month however March Madness starts early with Bellator kicking off season 10 and WSOF getting ready for two events making it difficult who will be considered the second-best promotion by the end of May. Meanwhile AXS TV events are mixed with TFC and LFC building with bigger cards while MFC and XFC (in the US anyway, see below) are still hibernating. As far as changes since 2013 both AXS TV's XFC and NBCSN's WSOF have split off international franchises which may or may not have an impact on the main cards, so far similar to the way KOTC franchised several years ago with likely the same minimal impact on the promotion's titles.
Here is a list of confirmed MMA events on TV and the internet for the next six weeks:
February 21st LFC 28 (AXS TV)
February 21st WSOF (NBCSN)
February 22nd UFC 170 (PPV)
February 22nbd CFFC (webcast PPV)
February 28th TFC 27 (AXS TV)
February 28th Bellator 110 (Spike)
March 1st UFC Fight Night 37 (UFC Fight Pass)
March 1st CWFC 65 (MMA Junkie)
March 7th Bellator 111 (Spike)
March 8th UFC Fight Night 38 (UFC Fight Pass)
March 14th Bellator 112 (Spike)
March 14th One FC 14 (webcast PPV)
March 15th LFC 29 (AXS TV)
March 15th UFC 171 (PPV)
March 21st Bellator 113 (Spike)
March 23rd UFC Fight Night 39 (Fox Sports 1)
March 28th Bellator 114 (Spike)
March 29th WSOF 9 (NBCSN)
Bellator Fighting Championships (BFC) – Ten dates have been announced for Bellator's season 10 but surprisingly no details on the previously announced middleweight tournament. The season kicks off February 28th and runs through May 9th with title fights at all but lightweight. Bantamweight makes up for the lack of lightweight title bouts with Eduardo Dantas facing Anthony Leone March 7th then the winner faces Joe Warren May 2nd. Articles on each tournament are in the archives. Meanwhile the big bomb Bellator dropped is the possible signing of UFC vet and former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez, “possible” being used since the UFC still has matching rights to the offer.
British Association of Mixed Martial Arts (BAMMA) – Paul Daley defeated Romario Manoel Da Silva December 14th, no word is currently available on the next event.
Championship Fighting Alliance (CFA) – What appeared last year to be Florida's biggest promotion have been silent since their October 12th event where Josh Sampo defeated Sam Thao. At this time there is no word on a next event.
Legacy Fighting Championship (LFC) – Texas' biggest promotion kicked off 2014 on January 31st and already have another event scheduled for February 21st, the second of 12 events for this year. Headlining LFC 28 will be Bubba Bush vs. Rakim Cleveland while surprisingly Bellator vet Cosmo Alexander makes the main card against Anselmo Luna. LFC 29 which takes place March 15th is also interesting with UFC vets Paul Buentello and Jonathan Brookins fighting Myron Dennis and Cody Fuller respectively.
Maximum Fighting Championship (MFC) – Canada's most significant promotion started the year with Anthony Hamilton successfully defending the heavyweight title for the first time. Now fans have to wait until May 9th for MFC 40 where Anthony Birchak defends the bantamweight title against Kevin Croom. Middleweight champion Sam Alvey is also rumored to be on the card but with no confirmed opponent and no confirmation of if it will be a title defense.
Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) – At RFA 12 in January Brian Ortega and Pedro Munhoz remained undefeated defeating Keoni Koch and Billy Daniels respectively. When the AXS TV-broadcast promotion returns March 7th Dakota Cochrane takes on Efrain Escudero in the main event.
Titan FC (TFC) – It is still difficult to know what to make of TFC as the company was sold to RFA in 2012 then returned under new ownership for events in June and August of 2013 then again went silent until this month's show February 28th. The card looks promising with Mike Ricci vs. fellow UFC vet Jorge Gurgel in the main event, Matt Riddle making his first appearance in his pro career outside the Octagon in the co-main event against fellow UFC vet Michael Kuiper.
World Series of Fighting (WSOF) – Expansion has also meant confusion for the promotion quickly catching up with Bellator as WSOF split into separate events in Canada and the US. At this time there is no word on if WSOF Canada fighters will get an inside track on world title fights or if such fights would take place on Canadian events, all that is known right now is WSOF Canada hold an event February 21st followed by the official WSOF 9 March 29th. Canada is headlined by former MFC champion and Bellator vet Ryan Ford taking on Joel Powell, WSOF 9 sees Steve Carl defend the welterweight title against Rousimar Palhares.
Xtreme Fighting Championships (XFC) – The good news is Florida's most consistent promotion has expanded into Brazil with their first such event having taken place February 8th and two more scheduled in March. On the other hand no word is available on when the next US show will take place, the only news being the open tryouts on January 25th. At this point it appears XFC will split like WSOF, no word is available on how the two will overlap. AXS TV have been broadcasting XFC's US shows while the first Brazilian event was broadcast on ESPN, no word is available on the future events but the March Brazilian shows are expected to be on ESPN. At this time there is no word on the fight cards for the March shows leaving doubt if they will actually transpire.
Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) – the Mid-Atlantic's most efficient show follow up the February 8th event with another February 22nd in King of Prussia (outside Philadelphia). Headlining this show will be Joe Stripling vs. Azunna Anyanwu.
Cage Warriors Fighting Championship (CWFC) – As of this writing the CWFC 64 event hasn't taken place with James Pennington vs. Cory Tait in the main event February 15th. Up next CWFC return to Dublin March 1st with John Maguire vs. Saul Rogers in the main event, Jack Mason vs. Ben Alloway co-headlining.
Invicta MMA – Invicta have an uphill battle recently now that the UFC sanctions both women's bantamweight and strawweight divisions while other independents like WSOF and XFC are building strawweights of their own. At this point no word is available on the next event however the all-women’s promotion has been busy signing 14 women including TUF/UFC vets Roxanne Modafferi and Peggy Morgan.
ONE FC – Former Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren signing to One FC put the top Asian event on the mainstream's radar but at this time no confirmation is available on when his debut will take place. Meanwhile One FC's March card is headlined by Brock Larson vs. Nobutatsu Suzuki.
Ring of Combat (ROC) – New Jersey's legendary but now secondary promotion started out 2014 with five title fights January 24th but those titles are likely to be vacated by the next event May 16th. So far the only confirmed fight for that card is Chris Wade vs. Frankie Perez, assuming of course Wade doesn't vacate the lightweight title he just won in January.
Tachi Palace Fights (TPF) – To start off the year Joe Soto won the bantamweight title and Poppies Martinez added the featherweight title to his lightweight title February 6th. At this time there is no word on the next TPF event.