India is recognized as a major market throughout the world, so the appearance of an MMA promotion based out of the Asian sub-continent has created a bit of a buzz in the MMA community. Now there is word that a series of UFC veterans including Paul Kelly, Trevor Prangley and Todd Duffee have signed with the organization. Reportedly, none of the new signees will fight at the debut event, scheduled for Mumbai, India on March 11th. That card is headlined by the so called Superfight between England’s James Thompson and American Bob Sapp. The rest on the card counts on newcomers from India, and some veterans from the American scene that haven’t been heard from in years. Joey Guel will take on Xavier Foupa Pokam, despite not having fought in nearly 5 years, and Superheavyweight Jimmy Ambriz is signed to compete despite going 2-9 in his last 11 fights.
I was not sold on the legs of ONE FC, the Singapore based promotion that has two shows on the schedule in the coming months, and I am even less sold on this Indian based group. They are making the same mistakes that have been made over and over by what is literally an archipelago of lost promotions.
I looked it up, plane tickets from California to India are about $1500 each. It might be worth it to buy a ticket, just to watch Jimmy Ambriz’ stuffed into a coach seat. You can also be assured that Bob Sapp and James Thompson are getting first class treatment on a very long flight. Then there is hotel and feeding these guys. Thompson, Ambriz and Sapp could eat the entire country of India into a famine.
This may sound like nit picking, but just for those three fighters, just the incidental expenses of travel leave you with a bill that is over $10,000 easily. Not to mention their salaries or purses for the ‘fight’. That is the point, when was the last time that Sapp or Thompson even performed at a level where they deserved to be paid?
Signing the UFC vets is a step up in talent, but none of the signees are what could be termed big draws. And they will have incidentals too, and salaries.
The promotion should be putting it’s all into developing raw and local talent. If they are serious about MMA, they will realize they are years away from being sustainable. If the books are smart, they will wait a few events for them to even take action on this league.