In the world of prizefighting, fighters aren’t always treated like prizes. Even under the brightest lights of mixed martial arts, an individual can be left in the shadows if they don’t create a buzz that resonates with the head honchos of a particular promotion.
Northern California is a gold mine of talent. Instead of waiting for one of the region’s diamonds to dazzle MMA’s masses on the main card of a high-profile organization, such as the UFC or Bellator, fans of martial arts, whether mixed or otherwise, can mine their own backyard for prospects.
Nohelin ‘Suave’ Hernandez (6-2), a technical bantamweight out of the Bay Area, hit his followers on Facebook with a combination of cold hard facts in regards to the rising the ranks in a sport as real as it gets. Never far away from the mats at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, the fighting pride of Gilroy and URCC (Universal Reality Combat Championship) Featherweight Champion spent several moments in-between practices to compose a message about the importance of rallying behind the competitors in your area code.
Hernandez’s public service announcement read as following:
“Fight Fan Service Announcement: As a fighter, I want to do my part to educate those that don’t fight but enjoy watching any kind of combat sport (MMA, BJJ, etc.). You guys may see myself or other fighters/competitors announce that we have upcoming fights/matches on our social medias. Partly because we are proud to announce we will be fighting/competing soon and will be doing what we love to do. The other important reason is because we need to sell tickets to our fans, family, friends, or general public that might be interested. Here are a few reasons why that’s important:
- The biggest reason is to get promoters to even consider us on their list of fighters on their cards. If you’re a draw and can sell a decent amount of tickets, your likelihood at a chance of a fight goes up. That means: you’ll be supplied fights regularly to improve your record and get on bigger shows (UFC, Bellator, etc.) and establish yourself.
- [It] puts money in our pockets. Most (not all) regional shows pay shit. We can make up for the lack of [pay] by getting commission on tickets we sell. The more you sell; the more percentage on tickets you get, which means: more money for the fighter, who probably spends half their day training to entertain you.
- [You’d be] supporting local MMA/BJJ. As many of you are familiar with mainstream fighters: Conor McGregor, Floyd Mayweather, or any other fighter on a bigger platform, there are promotional videos, pictures, etc. that are released by a company to hype the fight. Many of you—many—talk about these fights, go watch these fights, purchase these fights and only care to watch the bigger shows with no real knowledge of what’s even really going on. I recommend you go check out a local event before jumping on a bandwagon and start there. Someone will thank you.
Feel free to share this to help inform someone who might not know. On behalf of most fighters: thank you. Hope to see you at local events.”
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Though Luke Thomas' focus with this discussion was to highlight the level of craziness behind-the-scenes in MMA, the message here: "There is a local MMA event in your town…Go to it" is invaluable for all MMA fans. Viewing the sport from a grassroots level is, to say the least, eye-opening. #NorCalMMA #norcalfightmma #supportlocalfighters