What regional promotions in New England garner the most respect for their titles?
MMA in New England was for long a hotbed for some of the top talent in the country. Ten years ago, about 3 promotions existed throughout New England. Reality Fighting, Combat Zone, and Full Force “Untamed” were of the most popular. Reality Fighting held events all over New England but primarily stuck to Massachusetts as did the later two promotions.
Reality Fighting gave birth to UFC fighter Joe Lauzon who continues to keep New England and Massachusetts on the map worldwide. Also beginning their careers with Reality Fighting was former world lightweight Champion and P4P best fighter in the world Frankie Edgar. The list goes on. Mike Massenzio, Jim Miller, Dante Rivera, Ryan Hall, Dan Miller, Mike Easton. Several of the aformentioned fighters held titles for Reality and went on to very lucrative MMA careers.
Full Force “Untamed” was a promotion built by the True family and New England Hall of famer Mike Littlefield as well as future Hall of fame inductee, Michael Varner. Untamed is where Jon “Bones” Jones made his debut with a stellar belly to belly 5 point greco throw to earn his first ever MMA victory at the Mansfield Holiday inn convention center in Mansfield, Ma. The likes of Nate Kittredge, Lance Everson, Rich Moskowitz, Jay Jack, Marc Stevens, Dale Hart, Spencer Page all cut their teeth at Full Force and many defended titles over the years that vaulted them to the next level.
Combat Zone, Just a glimmer of what it once was and now passed over several times to new management was once arguably the strongest running promotion in New England’s MMA history. Formerly owned by Bruce Marshall, a blackbelt Karate instructor and former National champion competitor himself built Combat Zone into the most popular show in town. Based in Revere, Ma. Combat Zone made The Club “Lido” its home for over a decade. Blossoming many future MMA hall of famers not to just New England but the entire World. Kenny Florian, Jorge Rivera, Joe Lauzon, Mike Brown, John Howard, Nuri Shakir, Andrew Calandrelli, Sean Gannon, and Drew Fickett called the Lido and CZ home.
This is the era of MMA I grew up in and competed in. Not just ten years ago i strapped gloves on for the first time and competed amongst the names above. Above, is a brief history of where New England MMA came from. What made us what we are today. The champions names listed above are what made New England the hot bed for MMA to the entire country at that time. Promotions had 5 titles and only 5 titles. of those five you had a true champion. Few promotions exist to make less room for a watered down community of MMA. Champions from New England could leave to a bigger show and never come back because they won. Fighters above, once they left for the bigger stage, few ever came back.
Today is a very different outlook on MMA here regionally. Today, with the induction of amateur MMA we have champions that have yet to have a year of training under their belts. Amateur champions fighting for championships just to vacate them and move on to pro. Amateur champions fighting for belts in multiple weight classes with losing records. What does this say for MMA in New England? Are we proud? A recent commentor to the site opened my eyes to the ridiculousness of what is going on locally with the title situation and what we today now call a champion. Does winning a championship belt make you a champion? Is winning an amateur belt against opponents with losing records something to be proud about? Who locally now earns their belts and is less likely to have it because of the amount of tickets they sell. What promotions champions are true champions?