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Neil Forester brings MMA back to Ontario with SCC 1

Following a lengthy drought of MMA in Ontario, and gyms full of fighters with no place to display their skills, a gentleman named Neil Forester has arrived with Substance Cage Combat.

Forester (Twitter: @NeilForester) is the owner of Grants MMA n Toronto, Ontario, therefore, it’s evident he has a passion for martial arts.  When the Score Fighting Series existed, Ontario’s only MMA organization until closing in January, Forester would frequent their events and enjoy viewing some of the province’s premier combatants do battle.  However, once SFS was no more, Forester was left with no choice other than to take matters into his own hands and create SCC.

Substance Cage Combat 1 takes place June 29 at the George Bell Arena in Toronto, Ontario.  Planning the promotion’s debut show was a lot more difficult than Forester thought, he said.  Taking on the role of promoter is a hat that Forester is used to wearing, just not in the MMA realm.

“I put on produce about 300 events a year across Canada,” Forester told Jason Kelly on MMA DieHards Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network.  “I do concerts, I do corporate events, so I’ve got an events background.  That’s what I do.  When they sanctioned (MMA) in Ontario a couple years ago I was very interested.  I had a few meetings with some interested sponsors and partners, but because everyone set out the gate to do fights, I just kind of said, you know what?  I’ll just sit back and let the dust settle and see where we’re at in a couple of years.  I didn’t want to say anything publically, which is everyone would put on a card and everyone would lose money and there would be nowhere for anyone to fight, and I’m kind of right.  That’s kind of when I said, there’s a void in the market and let’s try to capitalize on it now.”

Forster waited a couple months to see if anyone was intent on claiming Ontario as their new market and producing an MMA promotion.  After realizing there were no signs of that happening, Forester made the decision to create Substance Cage Combat.

Having UFC welterweight Sean Pierson, who trains at Grants MMA, as a matchmaker was a significant component to structuring SCC 1.  With Pierson’s help, and having combatants from Grants MMA filling out half the card, Forester assumed it would be simple to complete the other portion of the event, but that changed before the matches were finalized.  Injuries, the Ontario Athletic Commission and competitors unable to get licensed caused for multiple opponent changes and scrapped bouts.

Though, Forester had some beneficial people in his circle to rely on when building SCC 1, that didn’t stop him from attempting to garner employees from the debunked Score Fighting Series.

“I had spoken with their matchmaker, Alex Caporicci,” Forester said.  “He was going to originally match make for us, however, financially I just couldn’t afford to pay him what he’s worth and what he deserves.  We’re a small, start-up card, our venue holds a thousand people, were charging $35 and $45, there’s really no money being made, and I had to be very cautious on my budget and not overspend.”

Forester was not only looking to draw talent and staff from SFS, but also looked for direction from the head of operations in the former Ontario-based organization.

“(SFS promoter) Brendan Fyfe and I have always been friends,” Forester said.  “We worked together for years.  I helped him out a lot with the Score Fighting Series, so he’s been very helpful in giving me advice.  I probably speak to him once a week, or once every two weeks, for advice and guidance.”

Along with finding competitors for an MMA event, Forester also required all the essential equipment for fight night.  His initial plan was to borrow a cage from friends in Quebec, but a call from Para Bellum MMA in Oakville, Ontario (30 minutes from Toronto) led to Forester using a hexagon the gym owned that was already approved by the commission.

And when it came time to select a venue to place that hexagon in, Forester was really given a tough task.

“I definitely didn’t want a space that’s too big,” Forester said.  “Our original venue was for 800 people and it was standing room only.  It’s a venue I do a lot of concerts at, however, the commission didn’t feel it was a safe environment for a fight card to do a standing room only fight.  That was a really big, big challenge.  I sourced a lot of locations, a lot of venues; I spent a lot of time.  I can say for two or three months I just kept sourcing different locations trying to find the right venue, the right geographical location.”

Eventually, Forester found the perfect platform to hold the inaugural SCC event.  George Bell Arena seats approximately 1,200 people, but with the cage and other objects needed to hold an MMA event, the venue will host 1,000 spectators for SCC 1.

Nonetheless, the card materialized, the bouts are finalized and SCC 1 is ready to make its splash in the MMA world.  The six-fight card gets underway at 7pm ET and the dry spell of MMA in Ontario will be over.

For this, Mr. Forester, the province thanks you.

MMA DieHards Radio: Glen Cordoza, Rose Namajunas, Sarah D’Alelio


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Tonight’s episode of MMA DieHards Radio features hosts Jason Kelly (Twitter: @JayMMADieHards) and Joe Rizzo (Twitter: @rearnakedchoke) with New York Times Best Selling author Glen Cordoza (Twitter: @glencordoza), and Invicta FC’s Rose Namajunas (Twitter: @rosenamajunas) and Sarah D’Alelio.

Cordoza is the man behind some of your favorite MMA instructional books and biographies.  Cordoza, who writes for Victory Belt Publishing, has worked with the likes of Anderson Silva, Fedor Emelianenko and most of the superstars in the sport.

Namajunas is competing at Invicta FC 6 against Tecia Torres on July 13 at Ameristar Casino in Kansas City, M0.  The undefeated (2-0) strawweight combatant is coming off one of the most impressive flying-armbar victories in recent memory, which took place at Invicta FC 5 against Kathina Catron.

D’Alelio also puts her skills on display at Invicta 6 when she takes on Lauren Taylor.  D’Alelio is coming off a victory at Invicta FC 4 against Amanda Nunes in January, after suffering a loss to Shayna Baszler at Invicta FC 3 in October 2012.

Sean Pierson: UFC combatant, SCC matchmaker, Kit Kat connoisseur

UFC welterweight and Substance Cage Combat matchmaker Sean Pierson. (photo courtesy of

As a pioneer in Canadian MMA, Sean Pierson deserves a break after a tough-fought win and undertaking the role of matchmaker.

Pierson (Twitter: @seanpierson), a UFC welterweight riding a three-fight win streak, is coming off a majority decision victory over Kenny Robertson at UFC 161 on June 15.  While preparing for the bout, Pierson was also selected to assemble an MMA card for the inaugural Substance Cage Combat event taking place June 29 at the George Bell Arena in Toronto.

Though, Pierson is a longtime martial artist, a professional career in MMA on both sides of the cage was not his initial life trajectory.

“Fighting to me is like a hobby,” Pierson told Jason Kelly on MMA DieHards Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network.  “I just fought for fun.  I never thought I’d be fighting as a career.  I got my university degree; I worked at Dell computers for 10 years.  I was working at Dell when I got the call from the UFC.  I just did this for fun, and then I started seeing some of my friends make money.  I was good friends with (UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre) for 12 years, I was friends with David Loiseau for 12 years, Mark Hominick, (Sam) Stout, I’ve known these guys since they started.  I was doing it before all of them.  I was one of the original Canadians.  So, I was like, ‘Let me try a few more fights.’

“It was the smaller circuit, and I remember Georges saying, ‘Come out (to Montreal), I want to help you train.’  He was really impressed and said, ‘I think you could do well in the UFC.’  That was just one of those motivating spots for me.  I went home, talked to my wife and we put  little game plan together where I was going to take this seriously for the next two or three years to see  what I could do.”

Two fights later, Pierson was in the UFC.

Pierson’s UFC debut resulted in a unanimous decision victory over Matt Riddle, but things went sour quickly.  Though, Pierson was honored to be fighting front of his hometown of Toronto and on the biggest UFC to date at UFC 129, he was unsuccessful in his second Octagon appearance, which was against Jake Ellenberger.  He then lost a decision to Kim Dong-Hyun at UFC 141 in December 2011.

Since suffering defeat to Dong-Hyun, Pierson has tallied up three straight victories.  The years of hard work are paying off for Pierson, but there was a time as an Ontario-based fighter, it was problematic for him to even find a place to compete due to the sport being illegal in the province.

“I could get fights in Montreal, but when TKO folded, they had XMMA,” Pierson said.  “XMMA wasn’t going to bring me in because they didn’t want me to beat their champ.  If they’re a French promotion, and this only makes sense in terms of money, if they have a fighter in Montreal that’s selling tickets, he’s flashy, he’s doing well; why are they going to possibly want to bring in an Ontario boy who’s not going to sell tickets for them, I can’t speak to the crowd in French, I’m not available for TV spots in different situations?  They don’t want me to come in and take that title.  I’m not saying they won’t let that happen, but it’s not always in the best nature of their business.”

Pierson could always understand a promotion’s stance on keeping the outsiders at bay, but now with his experience working for SCC, he fully comprehends the politics of it all.

“It doesn’t make sense to bring guys in from out of town,” Pierson said.  “There’s guys in B.C. that would love to fight on our card, but we can’t fly them all out here.  We’re a start-up promotion.  We’re not even paying most of the guys a lot of money.  This is basically for experience and exposure; we don’t have deep pocket books yet.  Hopefully this show (we) break even, next show we earn a little bit of money, but we have to build up to start paying fighters the way they deserve to be paid.  But unfortunately we have to start somewhere, and that somewhere is at the bottom.”

Pierson was the overseer of the bouts for SCC 1, but said he can’t deny the abundance of help he received from Alan Hagerman.  Pierson’s access to multiple fighters from different camps is what he brings to SCC matchmaking, and it is an asset he doesn’t mind sharing with the promotion as he is friends with the organization’s president and Grant’s MMA owner, Neil Forester.

One of the biggest issues Pierson found when pairing opponents is pleasing everyone involved.  The opponents and camps have to agree on each other, both combatants must be licensed and prepared to pass a medical examination, and the Ontario Athletic Commission has to agree on the match presented before them.  The OAC looks at potential bouts from a statistical point of view, whereas Pierson constructs matches from a different perspective.

“Let’s say both guys have (three) fights, they’re both 3-0,” Pierson explained.  “If one guy in all three (fights) goes the distance, then he’s got nine rounds under his belt.  And the other guy has tapped his opponent out in 12 seconds in each fight.  They might look at that and say, ‘We don’t like this match up because this guy’s got 45 minutes of Octagon experience, when this other guy doesn’t even have a minute yet.’  Even though they’re both 3-0 and they both look identical with three wins, they have different time amounts in the ring.  It’s just different little variations.”

Now that Pierson is coming off a victory, he isn’t in a dedicated training camp, the SCC 1 card is finalized and ready to be put on display, the UFC combatant can enjoy a ice cream delight, or even a tasty treat that asks you to have a break.

“I like to have a (McDonald’s) McFlurry, or those Dairy Queen Blizzards, the ice cream blends, I like those,” Pierson said.  “I’ve been eating whatever I want all week.  I’m on my diet, but not on it hardcore.  I have to be smart about it and when I want to indulge I can.  I like Kit Kat Crunchys, so I grabbed one of those today just after I got gas.  I was paying for my gas and it was looking at me.”

After a busy few months preparing for events in and outside of the cage most would agree with Kit Kat that Pierson should have a break.

In Their Own Words: The Week’s Noteworthy MMA Quotes

UFC president Dana White.(photo: Hector Castro/

“They’re never going to be as good as us.  This is what we do 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Christmas. Easter. Let Christmas time come. Viacom shuts down from Dec. 3 to after the new year and then all the big holidays in between. Christmas? I’m on the f—ing phone on Christmas. Easter? I’m on the phone. Thanksgiving? I’m on the phone. Bad s–t happens in our business every day, and if something real bad happens, I’m on a f—ing plane on Christmas Day flying to fix it. That’s the difference between us and everybody else.”
- UFC president Dana White told flat out that Bellator will never conquer the UFC.

“I think what just got people going is my confidence.  I’m not going to take that back, because I truly am confident.  There should be no reason that I’m fighting if I wasn’t confident.  I have a lot of respect for Anderson Silva, but I’m confident I can beat him—and I think that’s what gets people all up in arms, because they can’t believe that I would have the disrespect to think that I could beat Anderson Silva.  I earned this opportunity and I’m going to go in there and make the best of it.”
- Chris Weidman told Bleacher Report that his self-belief cannot be denied.

“Weidman’s got good jiu-jitsu and great wrestling, but he needs work with his stand-up. Wrestling is not my best strength and I need to work on my wrestling. You have to be able to combine all the martial arts to be successful.”
- Anderson Silva compared weaknesses and strengths between himself and Weidman via

“I’m happy for Chris that he got what he asked for, but I think he’s going to find out he should have taken a little more time to get there, a little more experience.  It would be a surprise for me if he won.”
- Tim Boetsch told MMA Mania that he’s not too confident Weidman can dethrone A. Silva.

“I really haven’t seen much of Chris Weidman, I know he’s very well rounded and very tough and just a tough dude on his feet and a wrestler as well, so I think he’s capable of putting Anderson on his back and also striking with him. But he hasn’t been tested very well with his chin and Anderson definitely will test it, he’s very accurate with his striking. I would probably have to bet on Anderson if I was going to bet.”
- Former UFC middleweight No. 1 contender Dan Henderson, who lost to A. Silva at UFC 82, told MMA Mania that if he was a gambling man, his money would be on A. Silva.

“I think that Weidman, to an extent, is is a better version of Chael Sonnen. I think he’ll be smarter. I think he’ll put more time into his jiu-jitsu. I think he’s a better wrestler, better striker. I think overall, he’s a better version of Chael Sonnen. The one thing I think Chael Sonnen has on him is that he’s very fast. I don’t think Weidman can match his speed. Chael was closing that gap so fast you can tell that Silva wasn’t used to it. That’s why he was getting taken down all the time. On paper, Weidman might be a better wrestler than Chael, but I don’t think he’ll be as fast as Chael.”
- Robert Drysdale told mmafightcorner that Weidman is an enhanced Chael Sonnen, the combatant who took A. Silva to the brink of defeat.

“The world’s highest level of mixed martial arts fighter the world has ever seen is exists right now.  It exists and is embodied in one man, and that man is Anderson Silva.”
- Though, he’s not counting Weidman out, Joe Rogan admitted on UFC Ultimate Insider that A. Silva is the premier MMA fighter on the globe.

“I like Nick and Nate Diaz, Gilbert Melendez, that whole group. They remind me a lot of my family. They don’t take BS from anybody. They are there to fight, they are there to win. They don’t walk away from a fight.”
- Royce Gracie compared his family to the Diaz brothers and the Cesar Gracie camp to the prestige Gracie family with Fighter Only.

“This is a huge, pivotal fight for the welterweight division.  It can set the tone for the division going into the end of the year. It’s a huge fight and there is no bigger place than on Fox. Then you factor in that I don’t like him, and that should make it fun to watch. I just don’t like him and it’s something I’m definitely looking forward to.”
- When it comes to Rory MacDonald, Jake Ellenberger told Bleacher Report he really doesn’t like that guy.

“Forrest deserves it. He beat me, and he beat some other really good guys. He was a world champion. He had some great fights. I think he deserves it.

“As far as Stephan, I have nothing against the guy, but you’ve got to be a world champion, I think, to be in the Hall of Fame.”
- Tito Ortiz talked to about Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar’s induction to the UFC Hall of Fame.

“The maid knocks on my door and keeps on knocking, and I [thought], ‘I’d better not get up too fast.’ So I got up and walked toward the door, and by the time I got my hand on the door, I blacked out. Next thing I remember, I was shaking on the floor, having seizures.”
- Jacob Volkmann admitted to Sherdog that he had severe medical issues prior to his WSOF 3 bout against Lyle Beerbohm.

“Yeah, if fifteen minutes is the limit, let us fight for fifteen minutes. In a championship fight, I guess we can have a break in there. Let the guys reset. I don’t know if you would go fifteen and ten. Or ten and ten or ten and five, five-five. The less breaks the better and more natural it is. More so than the rounds intervening we need the referees to just stop. Too much intervention. We have these referees that say get busy and do something, now some legitimately know what they are talking about and they see stalling. Other ones, I think they get bored themselves and they don’t see the nuance in the grappling game. I mean, I’ve fought in plenty small shows where I’ve been pressuring someone and been near passing when the ref tells me to ‘get busy.’ I’m choking the guy with my forearm and I’m about to advance my position. Did you not see that? It’s frustrating to not see the natural course of things play out. We all know that grappler vs. striker, there’s a strategy there. And grapplers are often punished or not given enough time to really implement their full game plan.”
- Brian Ebersole explained his complaints about MMA regulations to Middle Easy

“Spastic movements are made on account of a lack of technical aspects, so some fighters try to make up for this lacking technical aspect with some sort of frantic, spastic movement. And they’re awarding points for more of that stuff. They spazz out, all over the f@$%ing place. And, all of a sudden, at the end of the fight, you realize … Hector Lombard lost [to Tim Boetsch]? What the f@$% is that? He landed all the clean shots and stood his ground. That dude had to bounce around and move around all over the place. Frantically!”
- Nick Diaz expressed his concerns with MMA scoring via Bloody Elbow.

“With Ryan competing and not allowing me to continue to progress and work with my son in his fight career, it’s ridiculous and that bothers me. It bothers me that he could affect my son’s livelihood. My son has earned his spot. Ryan has done the work, he has the passion for the sport and he’s doing all of the right things. So for him to be hindered and hampered by Dana and Dana’s feelings towards me, it isn’t fair and that bothers me.”
- Randy Couture told mmafighting that he does not agree with White’s decision to ban him from cornering at UFC events.

“I would like people to remember that I was a fighter who put all my heart in my fights. Every one, even my last one. I always pushed through, always went forward. That’s what I want people to remember. I helped this sport and did my share in this sport. I gave my blood in those octagons, those rings. They all have a little piece of my blood, my sweat inside.”
- Renato “Babalu” Sobral, who is recently retired, talked to about how he would like to be remember. 

MMA DieHards Radio: Alex Ricci, Robin Black, Neil Forester, Sean Pierson, Malcolm Gordon


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Good things grow in Ontario!

MMA DieHards Radio’s hosts Jason Kelly (Twitter: @JayMMADieHards) and Mike Stets (Twitter: @DarceSideRadio) focus on the inaugural Substance Cage Combat (Twitter: @SubstanceCombat) event at the George Bell Arena on June 29 in Toronto.

Joining the show will be Alex Ricci (Twitter: @alexriccimma), Robin Black (Twitter:@robinblackmma), Neil Forester (Twitter: @neilforester), Sean Pierson (Twitter: @seanpierson) and Malcolm Gordon (Twitter: @MALCOLM_X_MMA).

Ricci is a lightweight mixed martial artist with a record of 6-1.  A mainstay in the debunked Score Fighting Series, Ricci takes on Luis Felix at SCC 1.

Black, a former commentator for SFS, will join the show to talk about his role with SCC.  Black is also a professional fighter, rock star, host of the Fight Network’s “5 Rounds” and staple in today’s Canadian MMA scene.

Forester is the founder of Substance Cage Combat.  He will give us all the ins and outs of starting an MMA promotion.

Pierson is a UFC welterweight and matchmaker for SCC.  He’s coming off a victory over Kenny Robertson at UFC 161, while riding a three-fight win streak, and still managed to assemble this great card in Ontario.

Gordon, a bantamweight training out of Adrenaline Training Center, fights Ahmed Akkar at SCC 1.  We’ll see how his training has been going before he enters his second pro MMA bout.

Tickets for SCC 1 can be purchased here.

In Their Own Words: The Week’s Noteworthy MMA Quotes

UFC president Dana White.(photo: Hector Castro/

“All the pros, when you talk to all the fighters – every fighter out there that I’ve talked too that we’ve interviewed thinks Weidman is going to beat him [Silva]. Georges St. Pierre thinks he’s going to win so much that he didn’t even want to plan to fight Anderson.”
- UFC president Dana White talked at the UFC 161 pre-fight media scrum about UFC fighters picking Chris Weidman to defat Anderson Silva.

“Anybody can go out there and put on a fight. Chris Weidman is undefeated, he’s a tough guy and a fight is a fight, anything can happen. I believe in Anderson Silva. Anderson Silva is the best fighter on the planet. I think Anderson Silva is a bad fight for any fighter in any weight class. I’m not saying Anderson Silva is invincible.

Anderson Silva can be beat just like anyone else can get beat. But I think if Anderson Silva goes in there well trained and focused, I don’t think there’s a fighter on the planet that can beat him.”
- Ed Soares, manager of A. Silva, was on The MMA Hour and gave his thoughts about the champ facing Weidman.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. He’s got a hell of a chin, and can knock people out, and he ain’t going to be winning any (expletive) spelling bees any time soon. Okay? Not the smartest man you will ever meet.”
- White commented on Roy Nelson in the UFC161 post-fight media scrum.

“Having a lot of black friends, they would say that would be more of an Uncle Tom move.

“That’s what my friends were saying,” said Nelson. “And I was just like ‘wow!’ Hey it is what it is. You gotta do what you can do for the boss.”
- Nelson spoke to about Daniel Cormier tweeting that he wanted to beat “Big Country” for the UFC president.

“You know, I think it would be hard for Fitch to not underestimate me. I just don’t think there is a way that Jon Fitch can understand how much I have improved as a martial artist just by watching me. So I think he probably didn’t intentionally underestimate me, but, I’m sure that he thought, you know, that he was going to come in and win because he was healthy and training real well.”
- Josh Burkman, who choked Jon Fitch unconscious at WSOF 3, talked to MMA Mania about his bout with the former UFC welterweight No. 1 contender.

“You’re a (expletive) idiot to think that a rear naked-choke is the exact same as that front choke. And literally, when he goes limp, and he’s out, then he rolls him (expletive)  over, let’s his head (expletive)  flop to the thing, then stands up over him – he’s literally like this standing over him before Mazzagatti (expletive)  gets in the picture.”

“The Nevada State Athletic Commission is going to keep this guy around until he seriously hurts somebody. That guy is dangerous. He’s dangerous.”
- White talked in the UFC161 post-fight media scrum about Burkman’s submission of Fitch, and the officiating of Steve Mazzagatti.

“With all due respect to T.J. Grant, Milwaukee is my town, and the fight with Ben is the fight everyone has wanted for years.”
- Anthony Pettis explained to why he wants a UFC lightweight title shot against Benson Henderson ahead of T.J. Grant.

“Yeah, that definitely happened. I beat Lyoto already. Ultimately, it was Dana’s decision to match me up with Gustafsson and not Machida, but I did mention to Dana that I had already defeated Lyoto, and the UFC 140 pay-per-view numbers were pretty terrible. If you have a perfectly healthy, young contender who is on a rampage, why not keep new opponents, new excitement for the fans?”
- Jon Jones talked to about his next opponent, Alexander Gustafsson.

“Have you known Chael to tell the truth all the time? Or ever, for that matter? No, it’s absolutely not true, there is no truth to that whatsoever. It’s one thing for him to say what he says, but when it involves me in a little lie, I guess that’s when I have a problem with it. But I didn’t put a lot of stock into it because I think Chael’s proven that not everything that comes out of his mouth is the truth. Usually he texts me when he’s going to say something. I had no warning on that one.”
- Dan Henderson, in an interview with, denounced Chael Sonnen’s claim that the two mixed martial artists set Jones up before UFC 151.

“I think Lebron is a dork, I don’t understand this whole thing. You have to understand, it frustrates me to hear that these guys are world champions. Look he won one world championships and was in the Olympic Games. It’s so aggravating to hear somebody win an NBA title and be called a world champion when it’s only done in America. If you’re not a global event where everybody can participate, you didn’t win a world title, you won a national title.”
- Sonnen was a guest on the Jim Rome Show and compared world champ versus national.

“I always wanted to call a B.J. Penn fight.  There was a mystique with B.J. for a long time, then like everybody else, the game catches up to you. There was a time with B.J. Penn that he really had this mystique.  Going up in weight classes, fighting Lyoto Machida, Renzo Gracie, it was insane what he was doing.  This guy is interesting.  Throughout history I’ve always been attracted to the interesting story, rather than a guy who just wins fights and is not interesting.  I always liked the people behind the fighter, meaning their personality.  I’ve come across so many interesting characters and I think (B.J.) would have been one of them.”
- Stephen Quadros admitted to MMA DieHards that there is one fighter he wishes he could commentate for.

MMA Cypher Radio: Alex Gasson, 100 Bulletz


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MMA DieHards Radio’s hosts Jason Kelly (Twitter: @JayMMADieHards) and Corey Charron (Twitter: @charronkotd) welcome Alex Gasson (Twitter: @Pecker17) and KOTD’s 100 Bulletz (Twitter: @100Bulletz).

Gasson is the owner of Peckerd Promotions and a combat sport organizer in Ontario, Canada.  His most recent event, which took place Saturday, was the FILA World Championships.  We’ll see how the event turned out and what’s next for the Adrenaline Training Center manager.

100 Bulletz (Twitter: @100Bulletz) competed in a King of the Dot rap battle, which had rules stating the competitors could only use lines consisting of MMA content.  He is also known as the “MMA Analyst.”  His knowledge of the sport is unmatched by most fans.

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UFC 161 results

Outside the Cage With: Stephen Quadros-Part 3: Dues paid

Every Tuesday, will post a feature focused on various people that impact MMA from outside the cage.  The list will consist of trainers, broadcasters, referees, judges, photographers, nutritionists, promoters, matchmakers, ring announcers, ring girls and more. 

To kick off the feature is running a three-part special on Stephen Quadros, with this being the third instalment. Parts one and two can be found here.

Now that his dues are paid, Stephen Quadros looks to bring forth something new with his next project, while he reflects on his career and watches who is next in line.

With the Glory World Series gig, a significant force in the sport of kickboxing, Quadros (Twitter: @StephenQuadros) is sure to be present in their broadcast booth for years to come.  However, as Quadros has proved in his muti-occupation past, one job isn’t enough for “The Fight Professor.”

There’s the avenue of television for Quadros.  He has ample knowledge and connections to get him a slot on AXS TV, or any other station devoted to broadcasting martial arts.  Though, Quadros is not completely opposed to the idea of hosting an MMA television show, he wouldn’t mind venturing outside the box and letting his creative side shine.

With so many run-of-the-mill MMA television shows on now, Quadros envisions producing one with a twist.

“I want to go in sideways directions,” Quadros explained.  “I want to do something, I don’t want to say entirely made up, but like Stephen Colbert.  Stephen Colbert created a character.  Stephen Colbert, John Stewart, sometimes they get too far into the never never land of, ‘I’m just joking, this really isn’t me, I’m putting on a character.’  I want to bridge the gap between MMA talk shows and those kind of entertainment shows.  There’s plenty of room to do that and I’m the guy to make that happen.  And maybe Bas (Rutten) too.”

The show would be a fitting transition into the next chapter of Quadros’ career.  A career that has had so many unique opportunities, such as meeting legendary martial artists and commentating on their bouts, to teaching famous actors and hanging out with DMX off-set while filming “Cradle to the Grave” in Toronto.

Throughout all the tremendous experiences Quadros has endured, there is one that he will most likely never get to be a part of.

“I always wanted to call a B.J. Penn fight,” Quadros admitted.  “There was a mystique with B.J. for a long time, then like everybody else, the game catches up to you. There was a time with B.J. Penn that he really had this mystique.  Going up in weight classes, fighting Lyoto Machida, Renzo Gracie, it was insane what he was doing.  This guy is interesting.  Throughout history I’ve always been attracted to the interesting story, rather than a guy who just wins fights and is not interesting.  I always liked the people behind the fighter, meaning their personality.  I’ve come across so many interesting characters and I think (Penn) would have been one of them.”

It’s not just fighters; Quadros also admires his colleagues in MMA.

Quadros has worked with numerous standouts in the MMA aspect of journalism, such as Josh Gross, Bas Rutten, Mauro Ranallo, just to name a few.  He’s seen the best of the best over the years, but hasn’t had the opportunity to work with the color commentator he says has the strongest work ethic around.

“Sometimes I wonder how Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg travel so much and do all those shows,” Quadros said.  “Those guys, those guys are both warriors.  That is a break-back itinerary, and that’s got to be a grind on you, doing all those shows.

“I tell you, Joe Rogan, he deserves all the success he’s got because that guy works hard.  I’m serious, he works hard.  He’s got the UFC thing, the comedy thing, his podcast, plus he’s a black belt under Jean Jacques Machado and Eddie Bravo.  I mean, gosh, I thought I was busy?  No, no, no.  No one can argue with his work ethic, seriously.”

The work ethic Quadros speaks of is evidence that his theory based on past experiences stands true:  Becoming a successful MMA journalist does not happen overnight.  It’s an occupation that requires a passionate person, willing to put their time in, as opposed to an attention thirsty person with a lust for fame and money.

Quadros’ drive to have continued success comes from an inner desire to cover combat sports.  He got in the game for the right reasons, but that is not something he sees often with today’s group of peers covering the sport.

“These “MMA journalists,” I mean, I get it.” Quadros said.  “Everybody has a blog, but they get into the game now because they want to be famous.  They think they’re going to become rich by being a journalist; no you’re not.  You will not become rich being a journalist.  I can turn you to successful people that write for magazines like “Time” or “Rolling Stone,” and trust me, they aren’t making Donald Trump money.  Some people do it for another reason.  When I first became a journalist I worked for five years making zero dollars.  A lot of people don’t have that kind of commitment.  People see Ariel Helwani, they see Joe Rogan, they see Stephen Quadros, they see whoever it is on TV being a broadcaster and they go, ‘Oh yeah, I know what an armar is, I know what a gogoplata is, I know what this and that is; I should be a commentator.  I’m going to be a writer and make bank.’

“They don’t realize everyone pays dues.  I paid dues, Rogan paid dues, Bas paid his dues, everybody pays their dues.  It’s not like we just walked in one day with no time in the game and said, ‘We want X amount of dollars.’  It takes time.  You got to get at the back of the line, wait your turn and do a lot of hard work.”

Darren Elkins vs. Hatsu Hioki scheduled for UFC on FOX Sports 1 2

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