Shine Fights is looking to bounce back after the major disaster that became of their May 15th event. Several employees left, and new ones have been brought on board. MMA Recap’s Brent Todd caught up with the new COO of Shine Fights, Jason Chambers, to talk about the upcoming September 10 event and what fans can expect with him leading the charge.
How’d you get involved with Shine Fights?
Originally I was brought on to do color commentary for the May 15 event and after it got cancelled literally ten minutes before the first bout of the evening. After I talked to Devin about the promotion and what things I thought could be done to prevent things like this from happening. Weather you say it was Don Kings fault or our fault, there’s responsibility with both sides. I knew that there was a good product and I wanted to help it grow.
What can fans expect now that you are the COO of Shine?
Great fights and great entertainment.
What key changes are you looking to put in place to make Shine successful?
Well I started by talking to fans and fighters to see what it was that they like about an event. We have our events inside a ring instead of a cage. Personally I think the ring forces some better action as you see more knockouts and more submissions inside a ring. It also provides a better view for the live fan. On top of that, the one thing we really wanted to do was bring back the single night tournaments. It hasn’t been done in over ten years and the fans will really enjoy it.
The show on Sept 10 is going to feature an 8 man single elimination tournament which many states don’t allow. Was it tricky to find an athletic commission that would allow the tournament format?
It was very difficult to find a commission that would let us do it the way we wanted to do it. Many states just flat out said no we won’t allow it. Others said we could do it, but it had to be two three minute rounds and certain strikes weren’t allowed. But we stuck to it and we found a commission that is willing to work with us.
Are there any rule modifications that you are making for the tournament format similar to Bellator where they don’t allow elbows to the head during the quarter and semi-final rounds?
I think Bellator had it absolutely correct with not allowing elbows in a tournament format and we have done the same as well. We also will have the fights be two five minute rounds and if a winner can’t be determined after two rounds we will have a third round that is three minutes and scored like the old Pride fights. I think that will force the athletes to come in and bring their best possible game.
Are you at all worried about the backlash from the debacle from the last event and do you think that expectations for this show are going to be set too high in that you have to knock it out of the park or you won’t get another chance?
I think that’s a fair statement and yes there is some backlash to be worried about. I can’t say that we will have to knock it out of the park, but I think the expectation for a good show is definitely there.
Why did you ultimately decide to go with a single night tournament format rather than say have a 2 or 3 show tournament?
We did it because we wanted to bring something unique to the sport. So many shows put on just a bunch of fights inside a cage, basically emulating the UFC. When you do that, you can only be at best the number two promotion. You have to do something else to distinguish yourself. On top of that imagine if you had to see the movie Titanic in three parts. You see the first part, then two months later you see part two and then two more months go by and you see part three. Was it still a good movie, yes. But it wasn’t Titanic.
How important to you was it to let the fans ultimately decide the first round matchups?
We wanted the fans to know what they were getting before they buy it. It also helps the fans become more emotionally involved with the tournament as you are rooting for your one guy to go all the way.
How will the second round matchups be determined?
The winner moves on of course.
Let’s say that Carlo Prater and James Warfield matchup in the first round and Prater wins but gets injured, will Warfield then continue on or are there going to be additional “reserve” bouts?
Yes we have two dark matches that will serve as reserve bouts. The only way a fight won’t happen is if it is for the finals. It isn’t fair to the fighter who fought and won only to get injured to not be allowed his chance in the finals.
If this show is a success, how quickly will we be able to see the next Shine event?
We are already working on and discussing our next event which should take place in November. It will also be a grand prix event. We are planning right now to do four grand prix events, one for 155, 170, 185 and 205. We are thinking of adding a heavyweight, 145 and a women’s but right now just the four weight classes.
What about non-grand prix events, can we expect to see those as well?
Yes outside of the grand prix events that we are planning on having we are looking at holding some standard events as well.
Chicago based announcer Ray Flores will be doing the in-ring announcing, who will be doing the play by play for the event?
We have all of our staff already assembled. Bruce Beck will be doing the play by play and along side him will be Beau Taylor for color commentary. We have Joanne Spracklen who will be our roving reporter and finally Sean Patrick Flanery will be conducting our post-fight interviews.
Are there any final thoughts you would like to share on the event?
Starting Friday fans will be able to start voting for the matchups they want to see. Additionally we are running a contest through Fight Magazine where everyone who picks the winner of the grand prix will be put into a hat and a winner will be drawn. The winner will receive two tickets and airfare to our next grand prix event.