Friday, August 30, 2013 BONE MMA showcases their inaugural event at the JFK Coliseum in Manchester, NH. BONE MMA is the creation of Ryan Fennelly and Eric Tseronis. Mass-mma.com had the chance to speak with Ryan about the upcoming event and from what we heard from him we are excited and hopeful for their venture. Unfortunately, though, Ryan has already learned the ugliness of some of the politics in the local MMA scene. Those politics have contributed to his fight card dropping from 11 fights to a total of 7. More on that later……..
With AFO in the tank and previous promotions like GFL and Triumph disappearing from the ranks of MMA promotions, you have to wonder why anybody would want to throw their hat into the ring. Promoting is a tough business AND many forget that when they jump in. They think their passion can carry them through, but when the bill collectors are knocking, passion does nothing for you. After speaking with promoter Ryan Fennelly I found not only a passionate fan and student (BJJ), but a solid business guy with a decent business sense.
First, why a new promotion? Well, Picture this. You’re at an AFO show hanging out backstage with buddies from your fight team who are getting ready to fight. They are scheduled to fight first and third. The guy who’s fighting second on the card, from another camp, is sitting close to you, hands wrapped, signed off and he’s waiting for his shot. It’s his first fight and he’s jittery as hell. You have a conversation with him. You can tell he’s nervous, but ready to get in the ring and he’s looking forward to show what he can do. Then the handler walks up to your camp and tells your fighter (#3), “Let’s go, you’re next”. Fighter #2 and his trainers say, no we’re next. The reply is “sorry, you’re fight is canceled”. That happens right? But then a commission member says, “You didn’t know? I knew 6 hours ago?” This story, although sad is true. Ryan was the guy that was hanging with his buddies from Team Burgess. Someone knew 6 hours in advance and yet no one was notified? Ryan is a professional business owner and understands this is not how things should be run. His thoughts ran from “What a shitty, unfair thing to do to a fighter, “that’s about as disorganized you can get” to “I can do a better job”. This situation would be the catalyst for the promotion that he and Eric Tseronis would call BONE MMA.
As of our last conversation with Ryan, the card currently has 7 fights, down from 11 (don’t worry the dirt is coming), consisting of 3 professional and 4 amateur. When asked about his top two picks for the night, he said they should all be good, but, he was looking forward to the 170lb ammy fight between JT Harold (Team Pitbull) and Paul Gaffney (Team Link Hooksett). He thinks this could be one of the most exciting bouts of the night. Both fighters may finally be matched up with someone of equal skill and strength. JT Harold at 3-0 is ranked #4 on our most recent amateur ranking list. Gafney at 2-0 is ranked at #11. Harold is Gafney’s toughest opponent to date and a win over Harold could move him up a few slots. If anybody remembers the “Slam heard round the world” that Gaffney put on Tollison Lewis at NHFL back in February, I have to agree with Ryan. This is going to be an exciting fight. I’m hoping for a brawl.
The Shop’s RJ Letendre exits his amateur career ranked at #1 on our polls and makes his pro-debut. He was originally scheduled to face Clinton Plotner, but it seems Clinton forget he was supposed to train for the fight. Instead RJ will face Keenan Raymond. Keenan at 1-0 is coming off a fresh 2nd round submission win at CES. I don’t think anybody can call this fight and this is going to be one to watch.
The main event of the evening is between Taylor Trahn 3-0 from Team Link and Phil Parrish 1-0 from CNYMMA. Ryan mentioned that Phil may only show one professional MMA fight, however he has a significant amount of boxing matches under his belt. Two out of the three fights for Trahn have gone to a decision. Parrish’s first fight ended in a TKO :34 into the first round. I’d say Trahn is not going to want to keep this one standing.
All in all it looks like Ryan, pulling double duty as promoter and matchmaker, has done a decent job putting some fan friendly fights together.
NOW HERE’S THE DIRT: The rumors are that Matt Peterson of NEF, who I now officially dub the Darth Vader of the local MMA scene (insert imperial march music here) has been playing dirty pool by allegedly telling fighters that if they fight for any other promotion they will not fight for NEF. We’ve heard this from multiple sources and it seems sort of silly to me. This isn’t the UFC. In my opinion, this has caused BONE MMA to lose some of their original intended fighters. I guess Matt feels the 37 bouts he has scheduled for next month’s NEF X is not enough and he needs as many as he can get. Hey Matt, any clarification on this would be great appreciated.
On a more positive note, for anyone that wants to hang out after the fights, have some fun and maybe greet the fighters, there will be an after party at the Social 24 in Manchester, NH. True to their form of wanting to take care of their people, BONE MMA is also putting up the fighters at the hotel at absolutely no cost to them. WHAT? I think this is a first. It’s really cool, but I would like to offer a word of caution to Ryan and Eric. Remember the IFL? They wanted to take care of the fighters too. Their hearts were in the right place, but they blew through 40 million dollars faster than a striped-ass jaybird. Watch your expenses my friends. Best of luck on this promotion.