The Rocky Mountaineer Station in downtown Vancouver played host to the first ever mixed martial arts show put on by Battlefield Fight League (BFL) on May 15, 2010.
Fast forward almost five years and the promotion has easily become the most prominent in British Columbia.
BFL President Jay Golshani sat down with me to give me an outlook on what 2015 will look like for his organization.
BFL has been around for quite some time and you will hold your 34th show in January. What is the biggest change BFL has seen over the years?
There are many things that have changed over the past 5 years. I would say the biggest change is our attention to the dead networks. Most startup MMA promotions are happy to interact with their existing fan base and usually just happy to work with them. This makes some sense, because this is where they get the most positive response towards their brand. We pay extra attention to networks which have the least response to our marketing and work on seeding those dead networks to educate them about Mixed Martials Arts and BFL. This has opened up many new segments of the market to our brand which has helped the BFL fighters get more recognition in B.C. and slowly reach the mainstream.
Do you ever feel the need to change things up?
We try to be as different as we possibly can from the UFC. There is no point in being #2. Fans can find your competition in any business these days with just one google search. BFL is the top promotion world-wide in terms of developing a fighter from the start and working with them until they reach their ultimate goal. Our amateur fighters are widely considered to be the best amateur fighters on the planet. These are the same athletes that join our pro circuit and keep developing their fighting and self marketing skills within the promotion. This is one of the main reasons fans see a higher quality event each and every time.
After 34 fight events we have reached a point which almost every single fight on the card is a huge fight with a story line. Having an average of 6 fights per fighter under the BFL banner there is a lot of emotion and story lines associated with each athlete and matchup. Fans don’t just show up to watch a MMA fight, they like the story lines and like to have a connection with the fighters. Their camps work with them daily to get prepared to become better fighters. Our job is to work with them, to market themselves better and deliver their message to their fan base, so they can soon get the same recognition here in B.C. as the top Whitecaps, Lions and Canucks players.
Over the past couple of years you have only thrown shows at the River Rock and Hard Rock Casino. Do you have plans of changing that up and doing all ages shows?
We have done shows in 6 different cities and 10 different venues. Based on feedback from our fans, the River Rock and Hard Rock are their preferred locations to watch fights at. We will be doing most of our lower mainland events at those venues for the next 18 months. We are working closely with the Great Canadian Casino to change the age restrictions for our upcoming events.
Do you plan on moving outside of the lower mainland at all? You have done shows in the Okanagan in the past.
We plan to do shows in all the cities we did shows in prior to 2013 (Penticton and Nanaimo.) I would say a likely date for our next show outside the lower mainland would be in late 2015, once the BCAC (BC Athletic Commission) has completely settled in and has enough staffing in all geographic areas of the province so there is less travel/hotel/sanctioning fees to pay for the officials to attend the events.
How many events do you plan on holding in 2015? When will the next one after the January card happen?
We will hold 9 events in 2015 and March will be our next card after BFL34.
*End of interview*
BFL 34 takes place on January 24, 2015 from the River Rock Casino in Richmond.
Feature Image: Nelson Yeo / MMA Sucka