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.
It is another transition period for the independent scene as the spring schedule unfolds. Bellator seem to be following the Rolling Stones’ business model of recycling “stars” from years gone by, the most laughable example so far being “Kimbo Slice” vs. Ken Shamrock actually headlining the June 19th event. Last year’s UK scene is flipped with BAMMA taking the Spike TV UK slot while Cage Warriors are nowhere to be seen. MFC are apparently done but AXS TV are combining RFA and LFC for a cross-promotion actually headlined by flyweight champions from both promotions. Invicta even take a step up with their Las Vegas debut this summer after this weekend’s event. WSOF deserve credit for salvaging what they could of their last event on the NBC Sports Network but CBS Sports Network are still floundering with Fight Time airing two weeks after events and no word from Titan FC. It seems the only stability in the independent scene is with the webcast promotions as CFFC and TPF march on while ROC gear up for their next event. Sure has been a strange spring so far.
Here is a list of confirmed MMA events on TV and the internet for the next six weeks:
April 24th Invicta FC 12 (UFC Fight Pass)
April 24th One Championship 26 (website PPV)
April 25th BAMMA 20 (Spike TV UK)
April 25th UFC 186 (PPV)
May 7th TPF 23 (Sherdog.com webstream)
May 8th AXS TV Fights (AXS TV)
May 9th CFFC 48 (GoFightLive)
May 10th UFC Fight Night – Hunt vs. Miocic (UFC Fight Pass)
May 15th Bellator 137 (Spike)
May 16th UFC Fight Night – Edgar vs. Faber (UFC Fight Pass)
May 23rd UFC 187 (PPV)
May 30th UFC Fight Night – Condit vs. Alves (UFC Fight Pass)
AXS TV Fights – Finally! On May 8th AXS TV Fights marks the first time two promotions broadcast on the cable TV station put forth fighters to see who is best. The main event sees LFC flyweight champion Damacio Page take on RFA champion Alexandre Pantoja while the RFA bantamweight belt and LFC lightweight strap are also on the line.
British Association of Mixed Martial Arts (BAMMA) – CWFC may be on hiatus if not outright done but BAMMA carry the British banner forward with another event April 25th, the third of the year so far. This weekend will be BAMMA’s debut on Spike TV UK, England’s version of Spike TV, with a main event of Brett McDermott vs. Marcin Lazarz for the vacant light heavyweight title.
Bellator MMA (Bellator) – “Kimbo Slice” vs. Ken Shamrock? Really? This is the new, improved Bellator?!? Thankfully there is one real show between now and that circus on June 19th as Bellator 127 takes place May 15th with Brandon Halsey vs. Kendall Grove headlining.
Classic Entertainment and Sports MMA (CES MMA) – AXS TV’s most recent addition held an event March 13th with Olympic judoka and Bellator vet Rick Hawn defeating Derek Loffer (see archives). No information is available on the next event.
Fight Time – CBS Sports Network finally got around to airing Fight Time 24, an event that took place April 3rd but wasn’t broadcast until April 16th. On that show D.J. Linderman defeated Jeff Monson for the heavyweight belt, no further word is available on the next event.
Legacy Fighting Championship (LFC) – April 3rd saw Ricardo Lucas Ramos defeat Justin Rader to remain undefeated. Next up on May 8th is the cross-promotion with RFA (see AXS TV Fights) then LFC return June 26th
M-1 Challenge – Russia’s biggest promotion have a busy schedule for 2015 which kicked off February 21st. The next event sees Vyacheslav Vasilevsky take on Ramazan Emeev on April 10th in Russia.
Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) – On May 10th Francisco France defeated Gabriel Checo for the vacant middleweight title while Justin Lawrence made a successful first defense of the featherweight belt. Up next is the much-anticipated cross-promotion with LFC (see AXS TV Fights), no RFA event is announced yet.
Titan FC (TFC) – In the archives is a report on TFC 33 where four new champions were crowned. The new champions are Chase Gormley at heavyweight, Pat Healy at lightweight, Brett Johns at bantamweight, and Kurt Holobaugh at featherweight. At this time there is no word on the next live event.
World Series of Fighting (WSOF) – The April 10th show was rescuing a card devastated by fights being called off for various reasons (see archives) with middleweight champion David Branch advancing in the light heavyweight tournament as the finalized main event. “The NBC” show is now off until June 5th when another Canadian card transpires, Smealinho Rama vs. Blagoi Ivanov now being the main event.
Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) – Its official now that Jonavin Webb defended the welterweight belt March 7th and Lyman Good won the interim title in February the two clash in a rematch of their November 2014 “no contest”. This battle of the ages takes place May 9th at CFFC 48.
Cage Warriors Fighting Championship (CWFC) – Europe’s biggest and busiest still promotion have not held an event since November and have none scheduled. This is stunning considering the schedule of the last two years. No further information is available but the future looks dim.
Invicta FC – February 27th saw Cristaine Justino defeat Charmaine Tweet in defense of the Invicta FC featherweight belt (see archives). Now the all-women’s promotion has two events scheduled, April 24th with Katja Kankaanpaa vs. Livia Renata Souza followed by July 10th with Justino returning to face an unconfirmed opponent.
ONE Championship – No longer known as “One FC” Asia’s largest promotion has a busy 2015 so far with events coming up April 24th, May 2nd, May 22nd, May 30th, and June 12th. In the most recent show March 13th Adriano Moraes made a successful first defense of the flyweight belt when he defeated Asuka Mikami by unanimous decision (see archives). On April 4th former Bellator champion Ben Askren fights Louis Santos who is also a Bellator vet.
Ring of Combat (ROC) – Four months off for ROC is a long time but the last event was January 23rd (see archives) while the next one is June 5th. At ROC 51 Julio Arce returns to face Michael Imperato in defense of the bantamweight belt.
Tachi Palace Fights (TPF) – TPF’s February 5th event was where “Jacarezinho” defeated Rolando Velasco in the main event, now TPF are off until TPF 23 May 7th with Max Griffin defending the welterweight title against Chidi Njokuani.
Global Proving Ground (GPG) – Normally the regional shows without significant distribution don’t make the cut for this overview however GPG is where Sean Santella fights next. Eleven of Santella’s last twelve fights have been for belts while his last two fights were his only two losses at bantamweight so far. This fight could be the turnaround or it could be the point Santella is written off, one thing that is for sure is this fight should not be missed.