Sunday, March 10, 2013

Interview: Fighter's Source CEO Anthony Medina

On March 23rd a new amateur MMA promoter debuts in New York with the first amateur MMA tournament to be held here. Fighter's Source will hold their debut event at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.  This event crept up on us New Yorkers without much warning, so NYMMANOW Blog reached out was able to score this interview with Fighter's Source CEO, Anthony Medina.

NYMMANOW: First off, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions for NYMMANOW. To start, as Fighter’s Source is a new entity to most, please give us a brief rundown of the organization’s history and aspirations.

Medina: Fighters Source, LLC is a Florida based company that was started March 2012. There are four owners in our company: Anthony Medina, CEO; Adam Meyers, CFO; Kevin Medina, CDO; and Brandon Medina, COO. We originally started our company to put together a USA amateur team to fight a Swedish team in Boras, Sweden. When the announcement was made in Sweden we were immediately contacted by a promoter from England and Denmark to join the competition. When we invited them to compete, at that point we decided to call the event "Fighters Source World Championships" the first international amateur MMA team event representing four nations.

Fighters Source is dedicated to helping amateur MMA fighters accomplish their dreams of athletic achievement. It promotes amateur MMA as a sport requiring high-level performance in a range of martial arts from striking to kicking to grappling and judo. Fighters Source’s founders know the obstacles young men and women face in trying to establish themselves as fighters. We have created an organization that provides young fighters with the experience, resources, discipline and opportunity to successfully compete against other top international amateur teams.

NYMMANOW: I had an opportunity to train with one of your fighters a few weeks ago that resides in Florida (Yvon Aqenor who has gone on to turn pro). He had nothing but great things to say about being part of Team USA and fighting overseas with you guys. Can you tell us a bit about what Fighter’s Source is trying to build internationally and what organizations you may be working with abroad?

Medina: Fighters Source aspires to be the “Golden Gloves” of MMA. We are able to do this by partnering with the USA MMA KI Federation for our domestic events. And because the USA MMA KI Federation is a member of the International MMA Federation (IMMAF), this will allow us to promote international events.

NYMMANOW: Fighter’s Source uses USA MMA KI Federation as its sanctioning body, which I believe is part of Kick International. Can you explain why you chose to work with Kick as opposed to the myriad of sanctioning bodies out there?

Medina: The USA MMA KI Federation is a part of KICK International We choose them because of the credibility and history of the origination being a 501 (c3) non-for-profit in good standing. The leadership president Frank Babcock and the 42 representatives of states and regions embody the "Who’s Who’s" of MMA industry.

NYMMANOW: Kick International does have a history of sanctioning some events in New York (Lou Neglia’s events) prior to the crackdown on amateur MMA in New York. Since last year’s statement by the Attorney General that amateur MMA in NY is in fact legal and unregulated by the state athletic commission, events have popped up all over the state overseen by various third party sanctioning bodies. Do you foresee any problems or concerns by throwing your hat into the mix here where amateur MMA is currently unregulated by the state?

Medina: As stated in your question Fighters Source events in NY will be regulated by the USA MMA KI Federation, which is also a sanctioning body for more than 25 states including the state of Nevada. We are confident in our relationship with our sanctioning body, USA MMA KI Federation.

NYMMANOW: A big area of concern in NY regarding amateur MMA is the issue of medical oversight (or lack of it) by the various sanctioning bodies & promoters operating here. Can you explain what medical requirements will be imposed on fighters in your organization (blood tests, physicals, eye exams, for example) and what safeguards will be taken at the event to monitor for fighter safety (ringside Doctor, paramedic, available ambulance, etc)?

Medina: Fighters Source will follow all rules and guidelines set forth by the USA MMA KI Federation. Fighters Source events will always have a fight doctor and EMS at the event. Fighters Source will always have proper event and bout insurance coverage for all of our events. Fighters will need to get blood work done and have a quick physical examination from our fight doctor before they enter the cage.

NYMMANOW: Similarly, because the state athletic commission currently has no regulatory role here, some believe NY has the potential to become a repository for fighters who can’t fight elsewhere due to medical or other suspensions. Will you clear all your fighters with the Association of Boxing Commissions national database to rule out the possibility of fighters suspended by other state and tribal commissions fighting in NY?

Medina: Fighters source, as a member of USA MMA KI Federation will ensure that medical suspensions are recorded and enforced by the federation. USAMMAF has an internal database just for amateur MMA fighter stats and reports, similar to the one operated by Association of Boxing Commission.

NYMMANOW: Amateur fighters in NY have a very difficult time researching opponents, as many promoters do not report event results to the proper databases. Does Fighter’s Source report the results of their events to the Association of Boxing Commissions database?

Medina: USAMMAF keeps a database with a current record and stats similar to the way Association of Boxing Commission keeps theirs. As members we have access to this database, we report the results into this database and will provide the information to promoters and fighters accordingly.

We will report all outcomes of each bout to the USA MMA KI Federation. The USA MMA KI Federation maintains its own database of members athletes, which is available for review by the athletes, promoters and sanctioning committees, so they can view all the fighters stats, results and suspensions. Fighters Source, through the USA MMA KI Federation, will have open discussions with ABC regarding these issues and ways to better our communications between committees. Fighters Source will always use all information provided to us by all commissions to match fighters accordingly.

NYMMANOW: Moving back to the March 23rd Kings of New York tournament format. Fighters in your events must first apply during an open try-out. Can you explain why you have used this model as opposed to more tradition match making?

Medina: Fighters Source uses tryouts to gather information about the amateur fighters and to also explain the rules and guidelines of our tournament. Since many of these fighters have no prior records and therefore this could be their first fight, we have a cardio and skills assessment at the tryout to better match them.

NYMMANOW: I notice in your amateur MMA rules that you utilize a knockdown rule. To many, this is contrary to the flavor of MMA and interrupts the flow of a bout. In fact, knockdown rules were once part of the ABC approved amateur MMA rules (first launched in NJ in 2006), but have since been removed. Can you explain why you still enforce this rule?

Medina: Fighters Source has used the knockdown rule in the past Florida events. At the NY event we will adhere to our sanctioning body USAMMAF rules and NOT use the knockdown rule.

NYMMANOW: Your Kings of New York tournament on March 23rd seemed to come out of nowhere. How long have you been working on this event and what are your future plans in New York? What comes next for the fighters who win this event?

Medina: On our December 13, 2012 show at Opium Seminal Hard Rock Casino & Hotel a press conference was held for the USA MMA KI Federation announcing national tournament starting with the Fighters Source Florida second season Prelims. At this press conference, which was chaired by Frank Babcok, Renzo Gracie, Beto Nunes and myself, we decided to commence the tournaments in New York and New Jersey area.

Fighters Source plans to have 4 to 5 shows in the New York area until we have champions in all weight class for men and women. Winners from NY-NJ events will represent the North East Region of United States and then move on through the regional events and then subsequently compete on national event. The amount of events will be determined based on how many fighters are entering the USA MMA KI Federation national tournament.

Once a national team of champions is selected, this team will represent the United States in an international competition at the Fighters Source Korea Open and fighters Source UK open.

NYMMANOW: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions! Is there anything else you would like to share with the NYMMANOW readers?

Medina: I would like to invite all readers to come and enjoy this professionally produced event, showcasing the best amateur MMA fighters from NY and NJ area. Come see who could be the world amateur champion and the next UFC star. Tickets available at Ticketmaster 

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